Comedian Michael Loftus didn’t lock down as long as many stand-ups did last year.
The right-leaning comic returned to the stage weeks after the pandemic hit the states. He also kept on writing, recording his “Loftus Party” podcast and dodging social media censors.
The latter proved only partially successful.
Parts of the country remain locked down, but Fox Nation subscribers can still sample Loftus’ latest freedom-friendly yuks. “Michael Loftus Live from Nashville” is now streaming on the service, giving conservatives a chance to hear jokes told outside comedy’s hard-left bubble.
HiT reached out to Loftus to find out more about the special, the ways social media is stifling his voice and how comedians will react to a Biden-Harris administration.
HiT: It sounds like you’re dipping your toe back into live comedy … can you share how that’s gone so far and if the crowd reaction is different now in any way?
Loftus: I started doing shows back in May. Was maybe the first comic to do show during the pandemic. Performed at the Addison Texas Improv. I was fantastic! Audience was smaller due to COVID restrictions, but we sold every seat by the weekend. And the people who came out were amazing. Some of the best crowds I’ve ever performed for. People still want to have a good time and laugh.
I had been in New York for March and April. Very scary vibe. Then I showed up in Texas and they were ready to rock ‘n’ roll. Completely different mind set. Much closer to ‘normal.’ Just a good vibe all the way around.
HiT: The lockdowns have been horrible, of course. Have there been any creative benefits from all this down time for you?
Loftus: Yes. Big time. I think there’s going to be huge wave of content that was inspired by all this time along. Not only are people finishing projects like screenplays and novels, but everyone has taken a step back from ‘normal.’
Usually that’s an area where only artists hang out. Now tons of people are looking at life a from a different point of view. And for the rest of us? It’s just making us weirder.. which is great! A different ‘different’ angle.
HiT: Big Tech has not been kind to right-of-center comics and commentary. Have you had any issues or heard of fellow comics struggling to get their message, and jokes, out?
Loftus: I’m getting clobbered on social media. It’s almost a game now. I call it, “how many will I lose today?” It’s been a steady flow of gain 100 followers and lose 99. Across the board. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube … all the same. So I find myself trying to work within the confines of ‘acceptable posts’. While trying to push the envelope at the same time.
Kind of like the old comedy writers in the 1950s. You KNOW the censors are there… now what can can you get away with? Is it self censorship? Yes. That’s bad. But I have to try and frame it as a game or I’d go bonkers.
I’ve also set up accounts on lots of new platforms just in case big brother decides to just completely squash me. Let’s just say its challenging to make fun of hypocrites now. Very challenging. So I’m on Clouthub, Rumble and Parler, too.
Just in case.
HiT: Do you get any support from left-leaning comics who don’t want conservative comics to be silenced … or do they generally stay mum?
Loftus: I haven’t heard a peep. Not a peep from my comedy pals about censorship. Maybe comics are so self centered they don’t care because it’s not happening to them? I don’t know. We are pretty self centered. But the time to scream and yell is now. Before it gets worse. And I think it will.
HiT: You jump right in with Chinese flu jokes on your special. Are you surprised that so many power brokers (politicians, the media) insist we don’t make that connection?
Loftus: Ha! I’m constantly amazed that more people aren’t upset with China. That’s the crazy part for me. It’d be like people not being upset with Japan for Pearl Harbor. This whole COVID thing was politicized right out of the gate. It’s as if they want people to think Trump invented it. Be mad at Trump America. Like he was messing around with a chemistry set one night and broke a vial of new flu. It’s crazy.
Can you be upset with the response? Ok. Fine. But we all need to come to an agreement this thing came out of China. They screwed up. Sorry, that’s where this came from.
HiT: The Trump era, in many ways, was tough for comics. He was larger than life, and the comic narratives were obvious and repetitive. What will you miss from the era, though, from a comic point of view?
Loftus: Yes and no. Trump made things a lot better across the board. His big personality is great! But the level of awareness about media bias is off the chart now. It’s fantastic. For years people would pretend that legacy media and journalists were ‘fair’ now that game is over. The mask is off.
That’s a great thing.
I have a feeling Trump will still dominate the news. They certainly won’t give Biden the Trump treatment. I look forward to skewering the media and the Dems more than ever.
HiT: It looks as though we’ll soon have a Biden/Harris administration. How do you view that change as a comedian, and how do you predict your fellow comics will process the shift?
Loftus: Tons of comics will miss Trump. Look out for TONS of those bits… ‘Joe Biden did blah blah… I miss Trump. Trump would’ve blah, blah’ there will be a s*** ton of comics doing variations on that theme. Lots of comics will be wary of going after Biden and Harris. Afraid of cancel culture. That’s cool. More jokes for me!
HiT: Any comic predictions for 2021 — jokes that will trend, topics that will dominate or themes will soon be sick of?
Loftus: Not sure what to really be on the lookout for other than some kind of over the top Mel Brooks/ Don Rickles comedy. Someone will do that. Just go out guns a-blazing. Stereotypes left and right. Super offensive and just owning it. I can’t believe it hasn’t happened already. Some new version of the Dice Man.