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Laughter: The Unofficial Medicine during a Pandemic

Laughter: The Unofficial Medicine during a Pandemic

For Honey Cohn Parker, AS85, her background in comedy started on a whim a few years after graduating from the visual communications program at UD. She had been living in Hoboken with a group of other UD graduates—Kirk Souder, AS85, Joe Johnson, AS85, Scott Sorokin, AS84 (who lived nearby)—and working in advertising in New York City when she learned about a contest: the funniest person in advertising.

“I had never done stand-up, but I thought, I can talk for three minutes, it will be great,” Parker said. She entered and ending up winning the entire contest.

“At UD, we were not just training to be art directors or designers, but conceptual thinkers—this helped me with making my point and reading the room during stand-up.”

This experience kick-started a theme of comedy that continues to weave into her personal and professional life. At the time, she left her advertising job to perform stand-up at Club Med in Colorado, Ixtapa, Mexico, and St. Lucia, then returned to NYC and did improv comedy. Now, she is applying her humor in another way that so many can relate to—a satire about the pandemic.

In the beginning of the country’s lockdown in 2020, Parker kept encountering or reading about how people and businesses were handling the pandemic, and she found humor in some of it. She expressed this humorous side of the lockdown to her friends during a weekly Zoom call.

“They told me to write a sitcom,” she said. “But my Hollywood ties aren’t really what they were.” [Side note: For years, Parker lived in Los Angeles, doing improv with the likes of Melissa McCarthy, Dax Shepard and Jimmy Fallon at The Groundlings Theatre & School—a renowned improvisation and sketch comedy theatre known for many famous alumni—and wrote screenplays with her husband, including a few projects with Pamela Wallace, who wrote the 1985 crime drama film Witness.]

“I handed an idea to a person at a major network but nothing happened. My husband said to me, ‘you need to write a novel, because if you write a book, you’ll have something.’”

She took her husband’s advice and sent the pilot she wrote about friends quarantining in New York City and all of the drama, overindulging and oversharing that comes with it to her friend in publishing.

“He said that the story was so timely that I needed to self-publish to get it out by the fall,” Parker said. “I was writing 2,000 words a day. I did my first pass in six weeks.”

The book, Careful-ish–A Ridiculous Romp Through COVID Living as Seen Through the Eyes of Ridiculous People, released in October 2020, and now Parker is working on the sequel with plans to make it a trilogy. Without the ability to have book signings or a book tour, the marketing of Careful-ish is fully digital.

“Thanks to UD for my background in marketing, I knew that I needed a writer’s platform,” she said about her website, Facebook group and blog.

On the blog, she asks questions about readers’ lives this year with the goal of putting her favorite answers in the next book.

“The readers have been so connected with the characters, which has been gratifying,” Parker said. “I feel like a good friend who understands what all these people have been through. For me, laughter is therapy, and if you can laugh, you have hope.”

 

Honey Parker lives in Park City, Utah, with her husband Blaine. Together, they run an ad agency called Slow Burn Marketing, which provides big agency style branding for small businesses. They also co-host the weekly podcast CoupleCo: Working with Your Spouse for Fun & Profit. You can find her at www.HoneyParkerBooks.com.


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