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April 2, 2020

Humor in the Time of Corona (with Mike Birbiglia)

On this week’s episode of Stay Tuned, “Humor in the Time of Corona,” Preet answers listener questions about:

— The impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 Census (and how to fill it out online!)

— Whether Trump’s suggestion that he would not provide emergency assistance to “unappreciative” governors could be criminal conduct

— If cable news networks should stop broadcasting Trump’s press conferences on COVID-19

— Changing the name of the podcast to something more topical

Then, he’s joined by Mike Birbiglia, who is a comedian, writer, director, and an actor. Birbiglia does not shy away from the tough topics in his work and he shares how comedy has been a tool to help him work through personal struggles with health complications. In this sad and stressful time, Birbiglia reveals how the process of crafting and sharing jokes can be healing and cathartic. His most recent one-man show, The New One, is about the turbulent, and ultimately heartwarming, experience of becoming a parent. [Parental discretion for language and content is advised for this episode.]

To listen to Stay Tuned bonus content, become a member of CAFE Insider. And if you haven’t already, listen to this week’s full episode of the CAFE Insider podcast for free. Sign up to receive a link to the episode at

As always, tweet your questions to @PreetBharara with hashtag #askpreet, email us at [email protected], or call 669-247-7338 to leave a voicemail.






  • “The New One,” Netflix (2019), and the upcoming book in May 2020
  • “Thank God For Jokes,” Netflix (2017)
  • Don’t Think TwiceNetflix (2016)
  • Sleepwalk With Me, Amazon Prime Video (2012)
  • “Sleepwalk with Me Live,” Spotify (2011)
  • “What I Should Have Said Was Nothing,” Netflix (2008)



  • “Humor in Hard Times,” New York Times, 9/19/09
  • Watch: “Jon Stewart on Comedy in Times of Tragedy,” Bill Moyers Journal (2007)
  • “Where does canned laughter come from – and where did it go?,” BBC, 9/26/16
  • “Please Chuckle Here, New York Magazine, 11/23/11

Steven Wright:

  • Watch: “Comic Relief ‘Steven Wright’ Stand Up Comedy 1987”
  • Stephen Wright, Spotify
  • “The Mosaic View Of Comedian Steven Wright,” Wisconsin Public Radio, 3/7/20
  • “Headwaters for a River of Stand-Up,” New York Times, 4/30/14

Mitch Hedberg:

  • Mitch Hedberg: “Strategic Grill Locations,” Spotify (2003)
  • “Mitch Hedberg: The Best Pre-Twitter Twitter Comedian,” GQ, 6/4/13
  • “Mitch Hedberg, a Comedian Who Performed Surreal Routines, Dies at 37,” New York Times, 4/1/05


Jerry Seinfeld:

  • Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedian, Netflix (2002)
  • Watch: “Seinfeld – Night Guy”

Roy Wood Jr:


  • The Money PitNetflix (1986)
  • The Larry Sanders ShowHBO (1992)
  • The Zen Diaries of Garry ShandlingHBO (2018)
  • ExtrasNetflix (2006)
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