Crazier than Christmas: We need laughs

Vivienne has picked up a CPH Culture nomination (photo: London Toast Theatre)
January 16th, 2022 5:00 am| by Vivienne McKee
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Hey, what could be more crazy than what we’ve been going through the last few months, eh? 

Pandemiconia 
We thought it was bad enough with COVID-19, and then Omicron came along. Throughout December, all theatres were treading a knife-edge of closing down completely or cancelling shows. 

Our Crazy Christmas show in Tivoli had to cancel the first week to enable two actors to recover from Covid.

One called me to say: “I’d make a Covid joke, but it would be tasteless.” 

Oh yes – there are so many coronavirus jokes out there, it’s a pundemic! 

Coronatainment 
We all remember last year’s lockdown. My son bought a world map and gave his kids a dart and said: “Throw this and wherever it lands – that’s where I’m taking you when this pandemic ends.” Turns out, they spent two weeks behind the fridge. 

I was one of the many who bought a pet. People were so isolated they started talking to their cats; when I heard this, my dog and I had a good laugh about it.

Covinfectious
As soon as we got the ‘all clear’ from the two ailing actors, we jumped back on stage and, to our delight, received rapturous responses, standing ovations every night and five-star reviews. 

The world seemed bright again … until two more actors were struck down. I had to rewrite the show to exclude one and fly in an actor from London to replace the other.  

But it didn’t stop there. As soon as the new actor arrived from London, we were struck again! This time our musical director got Covid. We quickly roped in another brilliant pianist to take his place for the busiest weekend of our entire run. After playing one show, he also announced he had it too. 

With two sold-out Saturday shows still to play before the government declared the closure of all theatres from December 19, it was panic! Within hours, another pianist was found and was brave enough to play with only one hour’s notice!  Does all this sound crazy? Tell me about it!

Quarantinuous
When I chose the title of our show this year, ‘Tell Me About It’, I never realised it would be so appropriate for the times we’re still going through. I thought that by now Covid would be one of those horrible histories we could all laugh about. And that is what we need to do in these troubled times: Laugh! 

Last year I did some standup comedy on Teams for companies. It was hard because a comedian needs a live audience to judge the effect of the jokes, and it’s awkward to use the pandemic for material.

You can’t not reference it because we’re all living through it.  But if you talk about it, people are thinking: ‘Oh, give us some escapism’. 

Escapisolation
Well, escapism is what I offered with our Miami-based, 80s-styled Crazy Christmas Show.

We received hundreds of mails sympathising with us in this, also financially disastrous, situation. 

To all of you well-wishers, I guarantee WE WILL BE BACK in 2022, and that you will have the chance to escape once again into our Crazy Christmas world of fun. 

Until then – Happy New Year ! 

Vivienne McKee


Vivienne McKee, Denmark’s best-known English entertainer, is this country’s most beloved foreign import. For the last four decades, hundreds of thousands of Copenhageners have enjoyed her annual Crazy Christmas Cabaret show at Tivoli, marvelling at her unique, wry Anglo wit and charm.

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