Being funny in unfunny times | Ft. Kim Whitley

September 20, 2020


Actress and comedian Kym Whitley has been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis.  These ¨interesting times¨ have fundamentally altered her personal life as well. 2020 has brought on a profound period of evolution for this longtime TV star.  She sits with us today to share perspective on personal growth in trying times.


0:40 Strengthened through Shared Struggle

Like most of us, Kym Whitley has had both friends and family members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty. As a result, finding any sense of normalcy has proven a challenge. Enduring such difficult moments while retaining a creative space for he professional life requires a well-developed support network. She credits the people in her life with buoying her spirit through difficult moments despite their personal struggles, forging deeper bonds in her personal relationships.

3:34 Stop Mourning the Future

It can be easy to ebb into low spirits as we imagine the grand plans we may miss out on as quarantines and travel restrictions define our times. The actress emphasizes the importance of focusing on the immediate. We can never regain a future that never was, but with careful introspection we can discover new opportunities. For her part, Kym has pursued a newfound interest in physical fitness that has seen her lose nearly 30 pounds (13.5kg) over the last 5 months. The effort even earned her an ambassadorship with Weight Watchers.

6:32 Entertaining New Possibilities 

With her career on stage and in Hollywood essentially frozen for the time being, the coronavirus crisis has forced her to reimagine her career. Like a true creative, she has worked to rise to the occasion with imagination. Her viral ¨Corona Chronicles¨ series has helped keep her hilarious personality on the minds of her fans, although she acknowledges that the path to profitability can be less direct. Having multiple streams of income has become paramount, even for an entertainer with such an extensive resume.

11:09 Considering ¨Cancel Culture¨

Many of Whitley´s peers have been touched by the social phenomenon of ¨cancel culture.¨ Careers can be ended in an instant due to the social media firestorm that often follows a careless or inflammatory comment made by a visible individual. In her view, while many of these instances are justified, it is important to also consider the hundreds of people that contribute to a given project. She points out that writers, crew, and support staff bear the brunt of the backlash in the wake of a cancellation, as their jobs may never be replaced.

19:39 The Power of a Platform

Right or wrong, society often looks to its most visible members for guidance. These individuals, and the platforms they have, have tremendous potential to foment change. However, they also come with great responsibility, and this demands that they are handled with care. A veteran comic, Whitley speaks on public pressures for celebrity activism, and how it can sometimes result in individuals speaking out when they may have no standing to do so. Silence, in her view, can be as valid a form of participation as any hashtag.

23:36 Gently Preserving History

History, by definition, includes aspects that may be less than palatable when viewed through modern eyes. The events of 2020 have drawn this concept into focus, as we wrestle with a shared question: which relics of the past are still appropriate for the general public today? Here, Kym takes time to outline her opinion, including exploring the role of symbols in storytelling. She also takes on the more problematic realities of past eras in entertainment, balancing them with an appreciation of how far we have come as a society.

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