Toronto actors, writers and comedians Christian Smith and Natalie Metcalfe have been doing comedy together for the past five years.
Having been in a relationship for the last three years, Smith and Metcalfe found themselves spending even more time alone together when the pandemic hit, and the resulting content came fast and furious.
“We’re all living in a sad time right now in this world so, I think satire is key,” said Metcalfe.
With Toronto theatres and film and TV production sets closed, Smith and Metcalfe, like so many other actors, found themselves out of work. But that didn’t mean they couldn’t write and produce their own content.
The pair started up a YouTube channel, “Christian & Nat,” featuring more than a dozen pandemic-themed sketches.
“The one that has the most views is the peeing in the park,” said Metcalfe. This video opens with a woman walking across a field of grass, struggling to hold her bladder as she observes a group of male friends drinking beer and urinating freely.
“It’s so annoying when we’re all sitting in the park, we’re all social distancing in the park and I’m holding my bladder,” said Metcalfe. “And I’m going three or four times,” adds Smith.
Another sketch called “Drive By Birthday ” pokes fun at the anxiety over planning and executing socially distant, birthday parades.
As the pair continue to produce and write more pandemic-themed content, they told Global News the film/tv industry is slowly starting to pick up but it’s a very different experience.
“Zoom auditions, Zoom callbacks, a lot of voice-over stuff is really picking up,” said Smith.
Some more good news: a return to the stage and a paycheque came for Metcalfe several weeks ago when comedy club The Second City reopened its doors to a reduced number (50) of mask-wearing patrons.
“The protocols there are so good. We have all of us in different dressing rooms. The audience members — each table is eight feet apart,” said Metcalfe.
But as the couple expressed cautious optimism over the baby steps toward a return to more acting work, they know if COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the result will likely mean performing opportunities get taken away again.
“We just need people to do their part so that we can continue to work. We need it,” said Metcalfe.