Directed by: Samuel Andrew Fenton
Written by: Lewis Costello
Starring: Lewis Costello
“2020 was the worst year of our life.” - This statement has now attained a universal truth. When the coronavirus was officially declared as a pandemic, all the countries went under a strict lockdown. Many people became familiar with the word “quarantine” and added it to their dictionaries. The situation has not yet normalized. Masks are still indispensable. Sad faces reside beneath our veils, and even at such distressing times, the stand-up comedians have made sure that despair wipes out of our lips.
Some comedians started doing shows on Zoom calls. Then there’s Lewis Costello, who performed his material to a crowd of empty seats in a theatre. For those of you who don’t know, Costello is a stand-up comedian, writer, and actor from Blackburn, Lancashire. He had first performed stand-up at the age of fifteen. Since then, he has never turned his back on it. In his six-minute stand-up titled Isolated, Costello expresses his thoughts to an empty crowd (and indirectly to us) to get some things off from his chest.
He comments on the fickleness of the public, the inanity of the media, and the negligence towards the pandemic. He recounts an incident on a train where the don’t-sit-here seat covers are taken less and less seriously by the week. Well, I am not surprised by this reaction. Humans tend to fear the unknown. When the virus first originated, we didn’t know much about it. Like the shark in Jaws, its menace was amplified to the extreme. Once we understood its mystery, the fear dissipated automatically.
Costello performs with conviviality. His views never turn into a rant. I saw his other stand-up Gina, and after comparing it with Isolated, I can definitely conclude that his delivery had improved in the latter. Gina is funny too, but there, Costello functions like an excited kid who is eager to land his joke. This gives rise to chuckles in his voice that undercut the impact of his joke. I once saw an interview of a comedian who said that their biggest drug lies in the laughter of the audience. Those sounds act as motivators.
In Isolated, maybe the lack of audience eased Costello of the pressure to hear the laughter, allowing him to focus more on the clarity of his delivery than the constant need of making someone cackle among the spectators. Whatever be the reason, I liked him and enjoyed his jokes more in Isolated. The jokes are not laugh-out-loud funny but witty, a quality I deeply appreciate and respect in a material. Nowadays, there are very few comedians who try to be innovative. Most of them try dishing out lazy humor for the sake of amusement. Fortunately, Costello has a fine taste, and I am glad to have come across such a talent. To paraphrase a quote from the video for all the aspiring stand-up comedians out there: In a world where you can be anything, try to be more like Costello.