When you laugh, “you can’t grab onto the unknown”: A children’s entertainer reflects on her job in the pandemic.
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It’s been nearly six months since the coronavirus pandemic first walloped the U.S economy and was declared a national emergency. As the pandemic wears on, many people are finding themselves increasingly stressed and anxious. And while laughter is not a cure-all, finding moments of joy can make everything feel a little less stressful.
Susie Estes is a children’s entertainer in New York City. She and her husband, Steve Brown, perform as the clown duo Sammie and Tudie. Marketplace first spoke with Estes back in April, when she and Brown were beginning to shift their business online, to Zoom parties and videos.
Now, several months later, Estes reflects on that shift. On the one hand, she explains, “the Zoom parties pay about a third to a quarter of what we would make doing a live event. So financially, it’s difficult.”
But for Estes, there is still a bright side. “It’s comforting to know that we can still make children laugh, even through an iPhone.” The couple has also expanded their audience, reaching kids in new states and countries over Zoom.
The pandemic has given Estes a new lens through which to view her work and its significance.
“One of the things I’ve been thinking about,” she says, “is how when you laugh, you’re in the moment. You can’t think about yesterday, you can’t think about tomorrow. You’re just really present. And I think that’s one of the reasons why laughter heals and makes people feel better is because you can’t grab onto the unknown.”
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