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Miss Quarantine!

Jun 18, 2020

By Melissa Rodwell

The Miss​ ​Quarantine Pageant Premieres Amidst Demand for Comedic Relief During COVID-19

The ​Miss Quarantine Pageant​ is bringing laughs to quarantine homes everywhere. ​A 40-minute scripted extravaganza written by David Bluvband (Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Sam Corbin (New Yorker), the comedy is a parody of traditional beauty pageants all filmed from the cast’s homes in order to adhere to social distancing and isolation mandates​.

Created and directed by Brooklyn New York’s own Lauren Greenhall, a notable comedic filmmaker for TV and digital platforms, the idea was born out of a funny email exchange between friends sharing workout inspiration during quarantine. After experimenting on how to film via zoom and DIY workable green screens, Lauren reached out to a long list of talent including ​Dave Ebert (Master of None, It’s Bruno!), Taylor Ortega (Kim Possible, Love Life), Ikechukwu Ufomadu (Joe Pera Talks with You) Corin Wells (Comedy Central, The Chris Gethard Show) Nichole Yannetti (Jessica Jones) Casey Salengo (Comedy Central Presents), Josh Gondelman (Desus & Mero), Courtney Maginnis (Comedy Central Originals) and Maggie Polliti (Theater School Dropouts), ​and asked them to come on board​.​ 2 months, 20 cast members, 2 original songs and one dance choreographer later, the Miss Quarantine Pageant has taken on a life of its own with the youngest member of the team being 22, the oldest 81 and a cast ratio worth noting- 70% female, and 100% diverse.

The cast and crew comes largely from the New York City comedy scene, a community that has been hit hard by the coronavirus. With institutions such as Comedy Central cutting budgets, the closing of UCBNY (Upright Citizens Brigade Theater NY) and the quarantine forcing many independent venues to shut their doors, creatives have had to find new ways to produce content and be willing to push outside their comfort levels in order to collaborate together.

“COVID-19 has forced an entire industry to experiment and find new ways to connect with their audiences. From Parks and Rec doing a virtual special to news being broadcast from anchor’s living rooms, we’re having to reinvent the wheel with whatever we have at home. It’s a fun and challenging experiment. The collective energy of people taking on tasks that they normally wouldn’t have to be responsible for, and actually wanting to see them through is uplifting and gives me hope for the future of filmmaking. Especially the actors who are now handling things they would’ve never dealt with before such as lighting, wardrobe, HMU and even media management. To have all of us come together and continue to be creative, productive, and to make something insanely stupid/funny is incredibly rewarding”, says Greenhall.

I have always horrified by beauty pageants. Well, let me rephrase that; since high school, I have always been horrified by beauty pageants. So I was really eager to watch The Miss Quarantine Pageant because knowing the background and the players, I could count on a good spoof on the whole thing! And I wasn’t disappointed! The piano/montage sequence had me laughing so hard and I fell in love with comedian Jen Clark! She’s hilarious on this! And I love how creatives got together and turned a big blow like the shutting down of UCBNY into a positive, funny, powerful experience! The talent oozing from this is incredible! They all took advantage of the time and space that the quarantine (like it or not) provided us all with and produced a great show!

And while the quarantine has taken away many of comedy’s institutions and jobs, it has also brought on a new onset of opportunities for creative thinking and new ways of filming and bringing comedy and the art of show into homes across the country. You can watch The Miss Quarantine Pageant premiere at ​The ​Miss Quarantine Pageant Youtube page​.

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