Finding the funny

Comedian Dena Blizzard uses humor for respite and connection amid pandemic.

Photo Courtesy of Dena Blizzard.

On day seven of quarantine in the Blizzard household, Dena Blizzard had no clean clothes and was walking around in her bra and underwear. She was yelling at her kids about something (she doesn’t recall what), and as she made her way to the kitchen to lay into them, her son was blocking her egress, furiously miming the word no.  

Turns out, Blizzard had almost stepped into the background of her daughter’s Zoom history class without clothes on. So she did what any comedian would do in that scenario: picked up her camera and shared the humor of the moment on Instagram.

With that, Blizzard’s quarantine series was born. The professional comedian is chronicling the ups and downs of daily life in quarantine on her Instagram account @onefunnymother. While the series may have started out largely as a farce following the Zoom incident, it’s since grown into a daily project for Blizzard as well as a source of humor and connection between her and her followers. 

Blizzard said because her son has asthma, the family went into quarantine about a week earlier than most people. Given she was seven days ahead of everyone else, Blizzard thought she’d use her series to let people know what’s coming. From venting her aggravation about dishes piling up in the sink to threatening to move into her shed to get a little space from her family, Blizzard has poked fun at the realities of being cooped up.

She typically films in one take and posts a video Monday through Friday,  while taking the weekends off. She said since the videos are daily, she tries not to put too much pressure on herself and keeps it pretty simple terms of production. 

Her children have grown up knowing their family life is fodder for the comedian’s material, so they’ve taken the videos in stride. One message Blizzard has always tried to convey to her kids is the universality of the human experience. When dealing with some sort of teenage angst, she knows others are out there having that same fight with their teenager. 

Blizzard said the same principle applies to life in quarantine. If the family is fighting about something, surely others are out there having that same fight. Now more than ever, Blizzard said finding the humor in quarantine is a must. 

“For our family, it’s been really important to find the funny because it’s just not funny sometimes,” Blizzard said.

While her videos are largely humorous, not all are comedic in tone. Blizzard said like everyone else, she has days of struggle, and she tries to be honest and share that. 

In keeping the videos authentic, Blizzard has found a real sense of camaraderie with followers who comment on similar experiences. The connection, during a time when everyone is so separated, has been a gift and gives her something to look forward to each day. 

Blizzard has no plans to stop the videos any time soon. She said she’ll continue to post videos until the quarantine is over, and her family is in no rush to get out. They’ll emerge when guidelines are lifted, and they feel comfortable and safe. 

“We’ll continue to find the funny every day and continue to do our best to be a place for laughter,” Blizzard noted. 

When the state was first shut down, it felt like a smack in the face to realize her profession wasn’t considered essential. Blizzard has come to realize that while not every person may be essential, everyone has gifts to offer during this time; they just need to tap into them. 

While comedians may not, strictly speaking, be essential, humor certainly is.

“There has to be somebody who finds some semblance of humor in things that are not so funny,” Blizzard said. “I don’t know that I saw that from the beginning. It’s been nice to find that.”

To view Blizzard’s series, follow her on Instagram at @onefunnymother.