Dan Hall has been “wicked unemployed” since March, and yeah, that kind of sucks. But he’s not going to lie about the fact that he’s enjoyed the copious amounts of downtime he’s encountered as a result of it.
Joining what he considers to be a “renaissance” of his fellow comedians creating content while comedy clubs are shut down, the Quincy native has been hard at play with weekly sketch videos that, while short in duration, pack a comedic punch as he riffs on topics of the day, as well as random ideas that span from time travel to a “daily routine” during the days of COVID-19.
By no means does Hall see the pandemic as a “good thing,” but he is grateful for the chance to take a break from stand-up and explore other creative avenues. That includes solo sketches or working with fellow comics and friends Logan O’Brien and Jonathan Tillson as part of their sketch comedy group, The Boyfriends, while working to keep his comedy muscle properly flexed for when the time does come to return to the stage — which hasn’t exactly been easy.
“I feel like my creativity had a good rise at the beginning of March, but somewhere in the middle, it kind of dipped because there was that feeling of ‘I guess this is still going on,’ but then it started getting nice out, and that kind of rejuvenated everyone a little bit, myself included,” Hall tells Vanyaland. “I don’t play video games. The only thing I do right now are these little videos I make. That’s what my girlfriend and I argue about, in terms of how I spend my time. Instead of playing Call of Duty, I’m outside, as a 27-year old man, editing a video where I’m time-traveling.”
With the pandemic raging on, Hall is in no rush to get back into the basement of a restaurant for an open mic, where 30 people are all sitting on top of each other, but that’s not to say he doesn’t miss performing for audiences. The yearning for laughs is still prominent for Hall and his contemporaries, which is really only one of the many reasons why he turned to pumping out a steady stream of digital content after being forced off the stage.
“Stand-up is just so immediate, because once you’re on stage, you’re getting the feedback whether you’re good or bad,” says Hall. “I think that’s why everyone, obviously myself included, flocked to something in creativity, and needing validation. I feel like that’s a good way of describing really any comedian in the pandemic. We need to put out something that warrants a reaction, good or bad, because some of us know bombing more than laughing. I think that really did fuel us a bit.”
In the age of Zoom shows, likes and laugh emojis have become the new laugh, at least for the time being, and while the approach to digital content differs from that of a stand-up show in front a live audience, Hall’s creative drive has certainly powered off the amount of love he’s received from his sketches. Now, although the “angriest truck driver” character that has brought Hall a good amount of recognition isn’t on the road for the foreseeable future, he’s really just happy that his other characters have continued to bring joy and laughter to people, and help them through the day.
“I’m not trying to change your mind on anything, or do any of that type of comedy,” says Hall. “I just want to make you giggle a little bit while you’re at work or whatever you’re doing.”