A year ago, we were gathered for TOsketchfest 2020, one of the last live events that many comedians and comedy lovers did together in the “before times.” A pandemic was declared in the middle of our festival and our world was turned upside down.
This week, we’re flooded with memories of last year’s festival. At the same time, we are planning TOsketchfest 2021: The Screen Time Edition, an entirely online festival running March 24-28.
To mark this one year anniversary, we asked comedians what they remember from TOsketchfest 2020, what they’ve been doing in the past year, and what to expect from their 2021 TOsketchfest digital appearance.
Rachel Strauss-Muniz and her troupe Room 28 came to Toronto to rock TOsketchfest 2020, and made it back to New York City just in time. We asked Rachel what she remembers from that whirlwind trip, and what she’s been up to since.
Q: Can you share a memory from the 2020 festival?
A: Room 28 and I road tripped it to Toronto from NYC for the 2020 festival. Unbeknownst to us, the global pandemic was on the horizon. In hindsight, I could not have been with a better group of people, visiting a more comedy-ridden and welcoming city. Toronto received us with open arms, then supported our very NYC-centric talent for a two-night affair, and then spit us out, like the flat bottom of a delicious beer.
Rachel Strauss-Muniz performed at TOsketchfest 2020 with her troupe Room 28, returning home to NYC just days before the border closed.
Q: What do you remember about those final days of the festival, as the reality of the pandemic was really sinking in?
A: Being a mother of two young boys back in NYC, I guess my initial thoughts were, “Sh*t, if we’re going to be stuck in Toronto for the pandemic, somebody get a list of the closest dispensaries, and find out where Drake hangs out, STAT.” All jokes aside, I was thankful…thankful to have had (potentially) my last on-stage sketch comedy hurrah on international soil and with my multicultural and amazing Room 28 family.
Rachel and Room 28 cast mate McKenna Cox goof around in the Comedy Bar green room! Remember that green room? It was a mess!
Q: What do you miss most about performing, festivals, the community?
A: I cannot wait to connect with live audience members. I recently performed at a virtual event hosted by one of the big social media platforms, and making a bunch of avatars and folks on mute laugh is as easy as convincing my Dad that a 9th tattoo on my body is a good idea.
Q: What have you been up to during the pandemic? Creatively or otherwise.
A: I’ve been honoured to be able to still furnish comedic content, albeit no longer on a stage, such as a ten episode series of short for content now on Rizzle TV, alongside The HERlarious Show- an all-female variety show I produce. Earlier this year, Room 28 and I worked on branded content spots and a web series for organizations like SOMOS and the US Census Bureau. I’ve been able to work on some personal projects of mine, including a one-woman show about my “bumpy” journey to motherhood. And of course, my weekly podcast, Latinos Out Loud, which was just acquired by The Sonoro Media network, is thriving and continues to move Latinos forward while making them laugh :)
Rachel has been performing and recording regularly during the pandemic. Check out her pod “Latinos Out Loud” on the Sonoro Podcast network.
Q: What can we expect from your 2021 digital appearance?
A: I’m still learning how to work this post-pandemic pivot (sounds like a dance trend), so bear with me! However, I am set on continuing to cultivate my gift(s) and build with my peers. I hope that my tombstone one day reads “She broke the internet with her funny”.
Rachel “La Loca” Strauss-Muniz is a host of the multiple award-winning Latinos Out Loud podcast, now on the Sonoro Podcast network. Rachel is an actor, producer, comedienne, podcaster VO artist and writer. Streaming now on Peacock TV, you can catch Rachel alongside Room 28, the multicultural sketch comedy troupe she acts and produces for, on NBC’s “Bring the F unny”. Room 28 has performed at The Toronto Sketch Fest, New York Comedy Festival and serve as content creators for Broadway Videos’ “Más Mejor” comedy hub powered by Lorne Michaels. She is currently signed on for 8-episodes as the voice of a LatinX mom on the animated series, “The Tuttle Twins” now in production.
Like and follow Rachel: