The COVID Council of Comedians Convenes!

Turn to the comedians! That’s how I get through good times and bad. Let’s say it’s pouring torrential rain in the midst of a global pandemic. Several weeks ago your hair went Cruella de Vil and your spouse is stomping around the house because of … well, whatever the latest quaranscream irritation is. And you’re exhausted from sanitizing an entire bag of navel oranges. (Was it even necessary? Who knows!) Then the big things. The economy. Health.  All the concerns. But All is not Lost!

I asked some of my favorite people – comedians from Chicago! – the following question:

“When these times are getting you down, how do you pick up your spirit?”



jan-slavin-with-micWhen these times get me down, I reach for the Skinny Pop.  I’ve gone through bags and bags and bags of it since the lockdown. Skinny Pop is very light and airy, and sparsely salted, and you never truly get the crunch and the salt factor you’re after, which makes you eat more, like an addict looking for the perfect high. It really puts you into a great zone, especially while binge watching Ozark. It falls into your bra and underpants, and onto the couch and floor. Vacuuming it up keeps me pretty busy. I often find it on  the bathroom floor when I pull down my pajama pants to go the bathroom.  It’s a great little hobby, though it can be expensive which is why I always get several at a time as it is cheaper that way.

skinny-popI recommend mixing the Cheddar and Original, but that’s just how I roll. You can use a spoon to eat the small pieces on the bottom of the bag if you want to be neater and not have it fly out of your hands and drop out of your mouth all over the place.  I’ve never done it that way, but it has crossed my mind.

For clean-up, a hand vac works as well as a Hoover. I have both but I always forget to charge the hand vac so I gotta bring out the big guns most of the time. I actually can measure time by how much I eat in a day. A half a bag is about 22 minutes. I can get through a whole bag in about an hour and a half. You have to allow some extra time for the bloating factor, which tends to slow you down. Once I’ve finished a bag in one sitting, I hate myself a lot so I move on to chocolate. Anyway, one thing I can state with certainty: Skinny Pop does not make you skinny.

More about Jan here. Jan was also kind enough to speak with me here.


One of the mottos that I try to live my life by is, “take the good with the bad.” Yes, it’s trite, and no, I did not read it in a fortune cookie. Looking back on my childhood, I realize that I was raised this way because my father was eternally optimistic, while my mom was more pessimistic. It was never more apparent than growing up in Chicago and watching the Bulls during the ‘90s with my mom saying they were bound to lose, and my dad saying they would win at the buzzer.

To me, taking the good with the bad means that when life is not so great, don’t run from it, rather lean in to it. Embrace it and respect it.

When I was a kid, I cried very easily. I was always self-conscious about crying because boys weren’t supposed to cry. As an adult, I realized that sadness is just another emotion. It is no stronger or worse than happiness.

We are currently facing many challenges as individuals and collectively. Certainly, there is much to be sad about. But there is also much to be happy about. As an actor in LA, the changes have been swift and drastic. However, I continue to be creative. Work on staying connected to others and my craft. And yes. I cry a lot.

More about Ray here. Ray was also kind enough to speak with me here.


denise-medina-1 How do I pick up my spirit?

I limit my time watching or reading the news. I get updates every couple of days and try to scroll past all the “social media experts” otherwise it could be overwhelming.

I have a few picture boxes filled with loose photos so I sorted them (I want to put them on DVDs) and turned on music from those days and had fun going down memory lane. It was on my “to do” list and now I have the time so….and it feels good when you knock something off your list.

I walk my dogs (they love it) and we get some exercise, fresh air and a change of scenery. Sometimes I’m feeling too lazy to get started but it feels good once I’m doing it so I have to stop thinking and just put my shoes on. The dogs take the cue and help nudge me out the door. They’re relentless!

I’ve cleaned out just about every closet and storage area in the house! More on the “to do” list done. It’s also my form of meditation. Not only do I clear out my house, I clear out my mind.

I checked in on and had chats with a few friends on the phone and through FaceTime

I also took an online stand-up workshop with Dave Schwensen, wrote some jokes, read some books, watched all 6 seasons of Grace and Frankie which I LOVE and can’t wait for season 7, learned how to use Zoom and am co-producing A Taste of Comedy airing this Monday, May 18th at 7pm (Central Time) airing on Facebook live at

More about Denise here. Denise was also kind enough to speak with me here.

NOTE FROM TEME: Denise’s show will be fab! Extraordinary lineup – not to be missed!

More Council Counsel to come! Comedians will get us through this!

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