“There is a curse. They say: May you live in interesting times.” Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times
There is no denying that we are currently living in interesting times; most of us are in a lockdown situation while others of us are on the front line helping the rest of us survive in one way or another. Films are being pulled from their release dates, concerts and festivals are cancelled, flights aren’t taking people on their planned holidays. 2020 is all but cancelled.
So we are all having to make the best of a bad situation, and this includes the celebrities who are also stuck inside their homes. Granted some celeb’s homes are a good deal swankier than ours, and their take on being trapped at home isn’t perhaps as bad as being stuck in a small high rise flat with several stir-crazy kids. Madonna demonstrated this recently, as she lamented the situation from her posh bathtub. In a move that was not taken well by fans, the superstar talked about how Covid-19 has made us all equals. Sigh.
Tone deaf sentiments aside, Madonna is one of many celebrities who have taken to social media in a bid to provide some distraction from our daily lives, but if her Quarantine Diaries aren’t to your liking, here are some other suggestions.
The well known New Zealand actor, Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Event Horizon), has taken to his social media to entertain us in a multitude of ways. Unable to return to his farm in New Zealand due to travel restrictions, Neill is in Australia, having left Morocco when filming on Jurassic Park: Dominion had to be cancelled. Poems and songs, conversations with a garden gnome and even some experimental short films, one co-starring Hugo Weaving (Lord of the Rings, V for Vendetta) and another David Wenham (Lord of the Rings, 300), have all been featured on his Twitter and Instagram. Neill is encouraging people to look out for themselves and loved ones, especially in regard to their mental health, and hopes his messages bring people hope while they’re at home. Not afraid of being silly, and showing off his surprisingly good ukulele skills, check out his cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ here.
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Known to kids everywhere as the voice of Olaf the Snowman from Frozen, and most recently on TV in space comedy Avenue 5, Josh Gad is currently in lockdown with his wife and his two daughters, both of whom are under ten years old. Knowing it can be stressful being stuck at home with kids, Gad is offering some free childcare to parents in the form of him reading children’s books live on his Twitter. Using the hashtag #GadBookClub, Gad has read classics such as The Day the Crayons Quit, The Gruffalo, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. For anyone not able to tune in live the broadcasts are still available on his timeline afterwards.
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Rob Benedict and Richard Speight Jr.
Fans of Supernatural will know exactly who these two are, but for those who need the introduction Rich and Rob play God and the Archangel Gabriel respectively, on the hit CW TV show. Although they’ve shared no scenes on the show, they’ve become something of a double act due to co-hosting the Supernatural Creation Entertainment conventions in America. Having already produced their own web show, Kings of Con, it was not that surprising that they have put something together whilst under lockdown. …And My Guest Is Richard Speight is a podcast that the two are recording from their own homes, in which they discuss how they’re coping with the lockdown. From TV show recommendations, discussions about bands they love, interruptions from family members and commentary on Rich’s neighbour’s dog and where he should and should not poop, this is a very down to earth, but very funny show. The phone calls are recorded and then subjected to very little editing by Rob, mostly just to include little jingles he’s come up with for it, and are well worth listening to. You can find ...And My Guest is Richard Speight at most places you get podcasts from.
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Zach Braff and Donald Faison
At the opposite end of the podcast spectrum, in that it’s hosted by iHeartRadio, has ads and sponsors, and far less interruptions from rogue family members is Fake Doctors, Real Friends. Bringing together Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State) and Donald Faison (Scrubs, Clueless) this podcast is something Scrubs fans will be falling over themselves for. The two stars are rewatching each and every Scrubs episode, yes including those from season nine, and then talking about their favourite memories and behind the scenes stories from making the show. Originally starting out as a weekly show, Braff recently announced on social media that it would be changing to twice as week due to demand.
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Last, but by no means least, is Captain Picard himself, Sir Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: Picard, X-Men). Back on the 21st of March, Stewart posted on Facebook a video of himself reciting Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, which has since gone on to accrue over one million views. Blown away by the response to this, the star decided to take it further by reading a sonnet a day. Given that the Bard wrote 154 Sonnets Sir Patrick could be keeping us entertained for the next five and a bit months on these alone, and although that would be wonderful we do rather hope that things are on the return to normal by then. You find all the videos on Sir Patrick’s Facebook page.
There are lots of other celebrities doing their bit during this global crisis, some for charity and some just simply because. What are your favourites to tune into? Share them in the comments below.