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  • Writer's pictureDavid Reuben

The Comedy Green Room January 2021 Newsletter

Another Comedy Spotlight Coming Soon

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year

Special Article: Comedian gets COVID-19-- Gerry "Big Bear" Barrett

There's nothing funny about contracting the coronavirus, unless you're a lazy comedian who likes to sleep 18 hours a day then, perhaps, this is the plague for you.

I'm a comedian and Elvis Presley tribute artist based out of Winnipeg and up until March in 2020 I was touring on a regular basis across Canada then COVID-19 shut everything down. By that time, we knew the coronavirus was beginning to take its toll on public health worldwide, and live entertainment venues were gasping too.

My last show was March 7 in Rapid Lake, Quebec. The show went well but, on the flight, back to Winnipeg I found myself seated next to a young man who was absolutely wiped out from the worst cold symptoms I'd ever witnessed. Was it COVID-19?

On the flight we were seated in economy, directly behind first class. The flight attendant had closed the curtains to separate us from the upper-crust passengers but every time my sick travel companion sneezed or coughed, he blew his germs around and over the fabric divider and into first class. Those poor, unsuspecting rich bastards. I eventually moved one seat over from him, but it didn't matter, because two days later I caught whatever he had.

It stopped me dead in my tracks. At first my wife and I thought it might be COVID-19 but it just turned into one of the nastiest flus I've ever had.

Eventually everything in Manitoba was on lockdown. Everyone wore masks, wore plastic gloves, and used hand sanitizers. There were a couple of weeks where my wife worked from home. We watched the world catch the coronavirus on CNN from the safety of our couch.

At one point, I laughed because my wife was buying so many disinfecting products. Our cupboards were over-stocked with Lysol, sanitizing wipes, Windex, you name it. And she was so, so careful about cleaning everything that we touched: doorknobs, car handles, groceries, pizza boxes, everything. We stayed healthy through the summer and fall.

One day around Halloween she came home from work and wasn't feeling well. She had a migraine and was extremely fatigued. She went to bed and stayed there for several days. Her temperature shot up to 38 C, she had full body aches and pains, she lost her sense of taste, lost her appetite, felt generally weak and couldn't shake the migraine. I watched her with great concern.

Was this COVID-19? We got her to a COVID testing site, and she tested positive. We decided not to go the hospital unless it was absolutely necessary. Then, about 4 days later, I developed symptoms too.

I'm a type 2 diabetic so we were worried about what this virus would do to me, especially my blood sugars. My temperature shot up to 38.5 C. I couldn't stay awake. I just wanted to sleep 24 hours a day. I had to force myself to eat, half a sandwich, maybe a bowl of soup, then back to sleep.

And I would sweat. I would leave the bedsheets and bath towels soaking wet...embarrassing, really. And then I got the shakes, and I couldn't stop shaking. I thought I was going into septic shock; it was scary. (Septic shock develops when the body has an overwhelming response to infection.)

Finally, on Nov. 5th I forced myself to go to a drive-thru testing site to get the official confirmation. Yup, I tested positive.

We had no idea how this whole thing was going to play out. Fortunately, my wife started to feel better; her symptoms started to fade. Her temperature went back down to normal and she got her appetite back. Things were looking much brighter for her.

Our family doctor would later tell us COVID-19 affects people differently. Some experience mild symptoms: others (the poor souls) end up in the hospital in the fight of their lives.

The public health nurse called our house several times for updates on our conditions. It seemed the virus remained with my wife for three weeks. Then one day she turned a corner and her health started to improve.

And then I started to improve as well, slowly at first. I noticed I wasn't as fatigued, the migraines faded, and my appetite came back.

We were extremely fortunate that we didn't develop respiratory problems like some do. That said, my wife told me she was on the verge of calling 9-1-1 several times in my dark nights; she'd watched me shiver and shake until I dozed off.

On Nov. 15th, the public health nurse called us and cleared us to go back to work. Isolation time was over. My wife went back to work at her essential-worker position and has worked steadily ever since.

Me? I've been busy, writing screenplays, my autobiography and songs.

Our family doctor informed us that we both carried coronavirus antibodies and we might be immune for a couple of weeks, but we could still catch COVID-19 again.

When one of us ventures out for groceries, we're back to sanitizing, hand-washing, and mask-wearing of course.

I've set up a web camera at home and have a ZOOM account. Over the Christmas holidays I've performed several virtual comedy shows. Let's hope the new vaccine works and we comics and entertainers can take to the stage once again sometime in 2021.

One positive note from COVID-19 for me: due to the explosive diarrhea, I've lost 8 pounds. Now I can fit back into my old Elvis jumpsuit again!

Stay safe and healthy, my friends.

Mention you found out about Gerry “Big Bear” Barrett on

Big Daddy Tazz

Big Shout out to Big Daddy Tazz who has read to children twice a day 7 days a week. So far, he has read over 650 children’s books in over 270 days. As of January 4, 2021 Tazzy will continue to read to children once a day in the evenings. For more information visit or become friends with Tazzy

Mention you found out about Big Daddy Tazz on

A Different Comedy World!

Laughter Is The Best Medicine

More important than anything else is the health and safety of every single person on the planet. And a big thank you to the frontline workers in this fight against Covid-19

Happy New Year! Let’s all do are part to slow down Covid-19 and get our lives back to some sort of rhythm. Protect your mental health and find ways to interact safely with Family & Friends.

2020 was an unbelievably strange year, Our lives were turned upside down. However, us show business folks adapted and did some amazing things. Here are a few that my comic friends have done:

Big Daddy Tazz reading to children twice a day almost every day of the pandemic.

James Moore doing a photo history of Comedy Monday Night on Facebook.

Paul Adams going online daily from the UK and using Instagram to be his charming self and bringing some much needed humour to us all.

Kelly Aija Zemnickis retooling her amazing baking show by going online and becoming an International Zoom Comedy Warrior.

Ward Anderson “The Christmas Guyteaches us all about the history of Christmas.

Please show some love to these wonderful comics and humans for making 2020 a little bit nicer and way funnier.

Due to the Coronavirus Happy Hour Comedy @ Ein-Stein’s Bier Halle in Toronto is on Hiatus

Social Media:


International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has announced winners of the US-based Unsigned Only Music Competition were announced today. A total of 20 Canadian artists garnered wins in the competition geared toward unsigned artists. For more information visit

#Mental Health


Take Care Of Your Mental Health

Check for your local Mental Health Resource


Enjoy Iconic Comedies from Across the Pond!

BritBox is bringing across the pond a timeless collection of British comedies that will calm your stress with pure unadulterated humor at its finest. From sketch shows to sitcoms, these are just a few of the options coming to BritBox. For more information visit


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