On lockdown and celebrity

I ran across an article from The Atlantic that suggested that “celebrities have never been less entertaining.” The article shows musicians playing online shows to fans, and movie stars attempting to engage, and mostly looking uncomfortable and unengaged.

As a counterpoint to that, I wanted to identify a subset of these videos that provide more entertainment and have engaged with their audience in authentic ways. Two examples: Taskmaster and Big Fat Quiz. Both are UK-based celebrity panel shows, and both have used YouTube as a platform to engage with their audience.

Taskmaster has begun doing ‘home tasking’, where they post tasks for the audience to complete and post on Twitter. A couple of days later, they post a compilation of the best videos. Here’s a lovely example:

Second is the Big Fat Quiz; during the lockdown the host, Jimmy Carr, has been posting daily questions as ‘the little tiny quiz of the lockdown.’ Example here:

Both of these differ from other lockdown-related celebrity engagement in that they’re not only asking for comments, likes, or views. Instead, they’re allowing their audience to become part of the show, and participate at a similar level to the celebrities who would normally be on the panel. They recognize that their content needed to be more participatory and have adjusted accordingly.