How To Make Funny Coronavirus Content
You probably saw that title and thought "Where does this guy get off? Jokes about coronavirus are in poor taste!" Let me tell you, you're absolutely right. I totally agree. Here's the thing though - in a way you can make funny content about coronavirus without it being offensive. All you have to do is make sure that instead of joking about coronavirus itself, you're joking about other issues linked to it. And never mention coronavirus.
Confused? Let me explain it this way. There is so much power in language that if your content literally says the word 'coronavirus' you run the risk of breaking that entertaining little spell you've been weaving and putting dark thoughts in your audience's head. So in my opinion - don't say the 'c' word, or like, any of the 'c' words, but go ahead and make fun of stuff around the fringes of it. Here in Australia right now, that fringe is actually just a piece of toilet paper hanging off the roll ready to be torn off and put to good use.
You see, long after coronavirus has finished off our civilisation, the Australian people will still be finishing off their toilet breaks in comfort. This is due to loo paper being stripped from the shelves of every supermarket in the country by panic stricken shoppers. Doomsday prepping is soooo 2019, we're all about poo prepping now. From Brisbane to Broome, you cannot buy a bog roll for love or money. So in a few months time as we crouch in our dark homes, sweat dripping from our face masks onto the shotgun we're clutching in order to protect ourselves from the murderous gangs roaming the streets, at least we can look forward to giving our butts a touch of luxury every time we visit the bathroom. The whole toilet paper hoarding thing is bizarre. It's ridiculous. But most of all, it's funny. This is the fringe angle I took when making the following topical sweeper and competition promo.
The whole toilet paper hoarding scenario is pretty funny and in my opinion is far enough removed from the troubling thought of coronavirus to not cause offence. Also, once again, neither of those two produced pieces mentions the actual word 'coronavirus'.
Ok, toilet paper. Got it Ben. But what other fringe angles are there for coronavirus I hear you ask? Well frankly, not a lot right now, but keep open to funny angles if and when they present themselves. Maybe there's something in those masks? Off the top of my head you could do something like this -
'Keep listening to Zap FM, and keep a mask handy. Using The Mask to protect yourself is easy. Simply put on the Mask and everyone else will leave the room. Yep, that old Jim Carrey movie really sucks.' Take note once again that I haven't mentioned coronavirus.
Be aware though, if you plan on doing topical content involving coronavirus, you are still flirting with danger. Even when you're just doing gear around the edges of it you run the risk of coming off as 'uncaring' and putting a downer on your audience's mood. It's a tough one because for those of us who create content it's our whole lives, and we do need to be across everything that pops up on our audience's radar. However, always remember that from their point of view our output is just light entertainment - nothing more than a pleasant distraction from the hardships and anxieties in their daily grind. It's a temporary escape, a goddamn audio smoke break. So it kinda makes sense that in the process of providing people with some much needed escapism, you shouldn't remind them too much of the very stuff they're trying to forget.
Of course you could always can the killer virus jokes and reflect the other stuff going on in you're audience's head. I mean if everyone else is doing content on Coronavirus why not stand out by doing something completely different? Those few seconds you just took up with a joke about how you don't drink Corona so you'll be fine could just as easily have been a gag about an upcoming season of sport - something which people are actually looking forward to. For example, the national rugby league is about to kick off for 2020. My home town of Brisbane is a HUGE rugby league town, so I figured that some topical sweeps reflecting that fact ought to brighten up the mood a bit and get the audience hyped about the upcoming season. Have a listen...
What I'd like for you to take away from this article is that yes, funny content about coronavirus can be done if you're careful and very circumspect about it. That means not naming the virus and preferably making fun of the fringe stories around it rather than the killer bug itself. Otherwise you might need a cure for the common cold shoulder that the audience gives you.
For more in depth look at the writing processes used in creating these promos and sweepers check out my other blog articles or grab my eBook available on this site.