Despite Canceled Concerts, Live Recorded Shows, Entertainers Are Spreading Joy From Their Homes

Aaron Rohrer, Reporter

With the COVID-19 pandemic halting most operations in the entertainment industry, some entertainers are finding creative ways to keep providing for their fans.

California Lutheran University alumnus and sports radio personality Jake Gould, has been utilizing social media to connect with people, spread laughter and pass time during the pandemic. 

Gould said seeing DJs, and musicians sharing their talents on Instagram Live inspired his own impromptu show Friday, April 10.  “[It] inspired me to start mixing music for friends of mine that are bored enough to be… watching me goof off on my laptop… with a stupid light show in the background,” Gould said.

Musical performances such as these can be frequently found on Instagram Live, Facebook and YouTube, all with the aim to keep people connected to live music and entertained until venues re-open.

Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli performed live from the Duomo in Milan, Italy on Easter Sunday, April 12. The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has launched a Museum at Home series including prerecorded live performances, interviews with award-winning artists and educational materials available for free to the general public. 

Billboard has compiled a list of livestreams and virtual concerts available during the pandemic which is regularly updated. 

Gould added that digital platforms were becoming increasingly popular entertainment venues pre-COVID-19. “Since starting a sports radio show on campus for iCLU Radio, I’ve graduated from the university and moved on to using my Instagram Live as a platform for viewers to engage with my at-home podcast in real-time,” Gould said. 

The transition to online, however, has been a greater challenge for those used to an interactive studio audience.

In a recent at home episode of Late Night with Stephen Colbert, fellow talk show host Conan O’Brien appeared as a guest and ended up taking Colbert’s role as host of the show. The two reflected on how they are handling quarantine orders and the transition of their shows to online mediums such as YouTube. 

“I miss the laughter. I miss the joy that I bring others,” O’Brien said. 

O’Brien said that he misses the studio atmosphere and live audience, and that creating a show from home simply does not hold the same level of satisfaction. Colbert said he felt the same way. 

Jimmy Fallon, comedian, and host of his own late night show, has even employed his own daughters to aid in his home production of The Tonight Show. The live studio audience show ceased production on March 13, but Fallon was eager to continue online. 

Fallon has been in contact with the producers and writers of the show to put together mini episodes from home each week as he feels the show must go on. Fallon said he is attempting to provide a sense of normalcy, in a video interview on March 19 for NBC’s Today show.

In addition to network television, streaming platforms are continuing to offer new content for subscribers. Disney supplied Pixar’s Onward direct to its platform, Disney+, less than one month following its theatrical debut. Disney has also released Frozen II for subscribers far ahead of anticipated at-home viewing. Sling TV has unlocked premium channels to all users in light of the pandemic, and Netflix has introduced a plethora of new originals.

While many Americans are yearning for a return to the various forms of entertainment that we have come to know and love, the provision of vast amounts of online content serves as a temporary replacement until the COVID-19 pandemic settles.