Out of COVID isolationism grew a standup comedy show on Zoom For Mothers By Mothers. Amanda Malul put out a call on her Facebook page and was flooded with offers from 50 other moms who wanted to join her

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Amanda Malul had a baby in January 2020 and two months later, COVID hit B.C. with a vengeance.

Gone were the opportunities for the Richmond mother of six to go the libraries and community centres for story time, the Strong Start program for newborns or play groups with other moms.

The isolation of that coupled with the uncertainty of the pandemic and taking care of her and her husband’s four other children — Chaya, 13, Sarah, 12, Shmaya, eight, and Amalia, seven (Shmuel, 19, is a U.S. Marine stationed in Hawaii), still at home took its toll by the fall.

She attended weekly meetings of the Pacific Post Partum Support Society, where she found she could draw on her background as a standup comedian to make the others laugh.

She enrolled in an online comedy writing workshop based in Los Angeles.

“It was a break during the week when I was not just talking about poopy diapers,” she said.

Malul was also starting to participate in comedy open mike nights on Zoom three nights a week.


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“It’s doing something for myself,” she said. “It’s an ability to see other people’s faces that are not my children’s.”

The other moms in the postpartum support group encouraged her to stage her own Zoom show for moms. So Mamacon Comedy — The Debut, a standup comedy show For Mothers By Mothers, is happening on Saturday at 7 p.m. and she’s already sold about half the 90 tickets.

Malul put out a call on a Facebook comedy page for other mom comedians to join her and got 50 responses. She chose three to join her, Cara Rosellini, a Seattle mother of three kids, nine, 11 and 13, Lin Sun, a mom of a four-year-old in L.A. and Malul’s friend on Vancouver Island, Sydney Bosel, who has two adult children, 28 and 30.

The four moms will share the hour-long show and most of their material will draw from being a mom, like Malul’s bit about her son coming home upset that his best friend didn’t him being friends with the other boys: “I know how you feel, daddy doesn’t want me to be friends with other daddies, either.”

Rosellini, who’s excited about joining the Zoom show, may open with one of her own favourites: “My husband and I have been married for 14 years and we’re not really sure about kids. And we have three.”

She said Zoom comedy shows took a bit of getting used to. The audience is encouraged to leave themselves unmuted, which can lead to a lag in the expected laughter after a punch line is delivered. But there’s less of a concern about hecklers than there is “someone getting up to make a sandwich and you can hear it.”


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Both women say the jokes come from their mothering experience but non-mothers will be able to relate. “The dads will say, ‘That’s my wife!,” said Malul.

She’s happy to be producing the show for her own mental health and to be able to help others.

“A lot of moms (in her support group), they couldn’t have family members fly in from across Canada or outside of the country and there’s a lot of isolationism happening,” she said.

A new poll by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction conducted by Leger shows that some of us are faring much better than others a year into the pandemic.

The study found that COVID-19-related stressors have an deeper impact on already vulnerable populations, and that those struggling with mental health issues and substance use disorders before the pandemic are being disproportionately impacted.

According to the Leger poll, one in two respondents with a history of substance use disorders reported having moderately severe to severe symptoms of depression since March 2020, and increased mental health symptoms. Respondents with past and current mental health symptoms report a greater increase in substance use.


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