Hey y’all! How’s everyone doing with this pandemic? I personally have been struggling a bit lately. I miss my friends, I miss my social life, but I’m trying to focus on the blessings I have instead. I still have my job, I have a house, air conditioning (super important in Florida), and I still have faith and hope that we’ll come through this even stronger. But on those days when it’s a little harder to get through, I also have laughter. They say laughter is the best medicine, and even studies have shown laughing can help release stress by activating and releasing your stress response, soothing tension, and can even help your immune system in the long run. That’s pretty impressive, which is why I decided I just had to chat with the creator of some of the funniest videos I’ve seen in this pandemic.
Don’t get me wrong, Ben Brainard is more than just a comedian. He is very active in his community and certainly speaks his mind when it comes to what he feels is right and wrong, and sticking up for others, which is amazing to see. He also makes these hilarious videos that you may have seen going around Facebook, Twitter, and more where he adapts the roles of various states. Of course, being a native Floridian, he has Florida down pat, while also making a very handsome DC, hilariously entertaining Louisiana, and a very grumpy New York. Those are not the only states he brings to life, and while these videos started as checking in on the states and how they are handling the pandemic, he has grown them into going over all the news. While they are light-hearted, they also do tackle some serious issues, which is a wonderful way to take the news in, especially in this dumpster fire of a year.
When asked about his inspiration behind the videos, he shared, “I did a video every single day for 2 full weeks before I stumbled across the first round table video. Nothing in particular inspired it, it just came about in the middle of a long stream of content creation.”
To me, that’s impressive, as while I am a huge fan of these videos, they are by no means anything I could have come up with on my own. Now, if he ever needs a female collaborator, I’d be happy to step into the role.
Now, since this guy came out of nowhere to being someone whose videos I watch weekly, I of course, had to know where he came from, and it turns out that is stand-up! While he was on tour for stand-up comedy before the pandemic, he has now turned to the videos, but his heart is still in stand-up. For those interested, he has a few socially distanced shows coming up that I’m sure will be a great laugh. I asked him about how his shows differ from the videos, and he had this to say about it.
“The videos and my standup have almost nothing in common. In the videos I play 50 different characters, but on stage I am just me. I talk about myself and my life. Jobs, relationships, family, things like that. The only overlap is just when I talk about things I’ve learned while researching for the videos.”
So while you may be a fan of Florida and the other states, I’m sure you’ll still enjoy his stand-up routines just as much!
When asked about his transition into comedy, he shared that it happened really just out of serendipity.
“Standup was always something I wanted to try. I moved to Orlando with the full intention of transitioning into active duty military, but while I was waiting for the paper work to go through, I just happened to notice a sign for an open mic night and checked it out. By the time the paper work went through, I had already fallen in love.”
To me, it seems like this was meant to be, as his fans seem to love his videos and he certainly is making a comedic mark during this pandemic.
Now, as for his videos, as the world reopens after this pandemic and life slowly returns to normal, or as normal as we can be while still dealing with this virus, I asked him about what his plans for the videos are in the future.
“I’ve already transitioned the videos from strictly talking about covid to talking about all current events and I have a couple ideas I’m working on to even further remove the characters and their personalities from real life so they will become timeless, in a sense.”
I can’t say I would be unhappy having the videos transition and go into more of the day-to-day news, as the later ones have been more focused on. To me, it’s a great way to learn some headlines from around the world that I may have missed, while not being bombarded with the doom and gloom that can come from the regular news. Keep in mind though, I still think everyone should keep up with the real news. But if you need a comedic break, I highly recommend his videos, which can be found on a variety of social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Just search his name, hit that follow button, and enjoy!
For my final question, I asked him what he suggests for adding some laughter into our lives. He recommended Youtube, HBO, Netflix, and Spotify and even shared a list of some of his favorite comedians.
“The people I find myself listening to over and over are John Mulaney, Mike Birbiglia, Nate Bargatze, Beth Stelling, Daniel Sloss and James Acaster.”
I can’t say I’ve listened or watched all of their videos, but I definitely will add some in. If you’re a little more southern and prefer some older comedy, Jeff Foxworthy and Bill Engvall from Blue Collar TV are two of my favorites from when I was younger.
I also greatly enjoy Whose Line is It Anyway. I’ve been a huge fan of improv for several years now, and I remember seeing that show when I was a kid. For those who don’t know, yes it is still filming, and they have new episodes and guest stars still to this day!
So, go get some laughter in your life. Laughter makes us happier, it can make us healthier, and quite frankly, adults don’t do it enough. Think back to being a little kid and laughing at practically everything. Adults over 40 laugh on average 4 times a day. 4 times a day. I’m not 40, heck I’m not even 30 yet, but I can tell you, on an average work day, that’s probably not too far off. Of course, that depends on what great stories my coworkers have to share this time. But the point is, laugh more. Watch some shows on Netflix that make you laugh, watch old Friends re-runs, because duh, Friends, and make it a point to up your “laugh quota.” You’ll find yourself much happier when you do.