In a bid to keep us entertained during these difficult times, comic Alison Spittle has taken to Twitter with her #CovideoParty. She chats to Janice Butler about bringing a bit of humour to the world and how Covid-19 has affected her work.

We’ve all been glued to the news the past few weeks, desperately waiting on the latest developments in the coronavirus situation. Of course, it’s important to try to balance that with some light relief when you can.

One person who is trying her best to deliver some humour to our lives is comedian Alison Spittle, who you may remember from her comedy series Nowhere Fast, which she wrote and starred in as the Dublin media person forced to return to the at times exasperating boom of her small town home.

When the current 'stay at home’ order came, Alison, confined to her apartment in London, had an idea to cheer herself and others up. She’s been organising online group film screenings so people can watch movies together, while at home, and discuss them on Twitter.

Alison has taken it one step further by dressing up as characters from the movies the group watches, whether it’s Miss Trunchbull (Matilda) or Captain Hook. So far the online group have watched Matilda, Clueless, Jumanji and Hook and Alison’s hashtag #CovideoParty has been trending since it began.

Speaking about the scheme, Alison remarked "I was getting scared about everything that was going on so I knew I needed something to distract myself, so I said to my friends, ‘Let’s watch a film and tweet about it as we’re doing it’ and quite quickly other people started getting involved and it just took off. It got bigger than I could have ever imagined."

Alison makes her character costumes for each movie using whatever she can find around the house. "It’s all stuff I find around the house – when you’re in quarantine, you have a lot of time on your hands! I made my Jumanji outfit out of bits of old house plants that were dying off and I used my friend’s kettlebells for my Trunchbull look."

She says that the experience has given her the chance to explore her creative side in a different way than she would for work. "I’ve worked so hard on being a stand-up and because my job is creative, I’m not really creative for fun. So it’s been lovely to be creative just for amusing myself and being on that journey with other people. It’s all about amusement. I’m not a medical professional or a journalist, so I can’t provide information but I can try and provide some craic. Self-isolation sounds like a scary thing, but if you’re in a community, even one like Twitter, it’s nicer." 

Like almost everyone, Alison’s day job as a comedian has been affected by Covid-19 and she has had to cancel a series of her stand-up show, Mother of God, which was to go on the road through March. They’ve been officially postponed to the summer although right now, she’s just hoping they can go ahead. 

"Like all comedians, I don’t have any work for the foreseeable future. I have rescheduled some shows for June so, hopefully, they can go ahead. When the Taoiseach made the decision to ban crowds I was delighted because it took the decision away from me, I wouldn’t want that on my conscience. I was very distraught when it initially happened, so I’ve just been trying to put my energy into other things like the movies and other content on my Instagram to keep people entertained. I’m a wallower by nature, so I need to keep myself busy."

For now, she’s going to be keeping everyone entertained on Twitter with her movie parties, perfect if you want a bit of a laugh. "As long as people are self-isolating, I’ll be there. It’s the least I can do. This sounds really cheesy but I don’t care; watching from here in London, I’m so proud of Ireland and how everyone has come together during this time."

Follow Alison Spittle on Twitter @AlisonSpittle and tweet along with Alison's movie night using #CovideoParty.