Jake Silberman has spent the last month living in a post-COVID world.
In early June, the local comic (and occasional WW contributor) jumped into an old, decommissioned catering van and headed across the country with a friend and a video camera to capture the return of comedy as clubs gradually reopen following the pandemic for a future documentary. And what he mostly found, as he left Portland and headed to Boise and then onward to Des Moines, Chicago and elsewhere before ending in New York, is that in most of the United States, the pandemic is already a fading memory.
“I’ve been doing club dates, bar shows, open mics, trying to show the full gamut of comedy—and it is back, as is America,” says Silberman, 34. “I don’t know what it’s like in Portland still, but as soon as we left, the pandemic was not existing at all. I don’t know if Portland is just the last holdover or what.”
In this interview, conducted from a stoop in Brooklyn, Silberman discusses what standup looks like after a year of closed stages, his weirdest interactions along the way, and just how the hell he’s gonna turn all that footage into a documentary.