Demi Adejuyigbe is one of the most innovative comedians right now, online and offline, because he’s always making. His genius self-shot, performed, and soundtracked viral videos as @electrolemon range from impersonating Will Smith rapping over the credits of whatever movie to celebrating Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” with a bigger and better production every year. He’s working with a newer medium as we speak over Google Hangouts: baking banana bread.
Even in a pandemic, the entertainer’s commitment to creation is unflappable. Adejuyigbe kindly carries my virtual talking head around his Los Angeles apartment to show me a recent therapist’s officecore painting he made of a flamingo in a bathtub, and a cut-up shirt over his couch that’s soon to become face masks for friends. He wants to sew one a day—just one of his pandemic ambitions.
“I really wanna livestream me watching all of Stop Making Sense and dancing along to the entire movie, but how do I do that in a way that I can monetize it for charity?” Adejuyigbe mused over the sheer amount of energy required to mirror David Byrne. “I would love for people to pop in near the end and just see me, like, a shell of a man.”
Adejuyigbe has also brought his earnest-meets-absurdist sense of humour to TV. His credits include writing an episode of The Good Place, writing for The Late Late Show with James Corden, and appearing on the upcoming stand-up series This Joka hosted by the actual Will Smith. We talked about what Adejuyigbe is working on during the pandemic, binge-watching recommendations, and how we can take care of each other—now and after the coronavirus.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
VICE: How has making masks been going? You made a very good LCD Soundsystem one.
Demi Adejuyigbe: It’s been good! I had a bag of T-shirts that I was gonna give to Goodwill that’s just been sitting in the corner of my room for ages, so I cut a bunch of these up. I find sewing very relaxing. It seems very difficult but once I hit a stride, I’m like, ‘Oh, I could do this forever. I made this and it looks good!’ So that’s been very rewarding.
What have been some of your favourite ways to unwind at home?
I’ve been taking requests of what to paint on Instagram Live and talking with friends. I have been obsessed with this one wizard that is in my neighbourhood. It sounds insane, but it’s a painting of a wizard that’s very large and on a wall. I’ve started a fake rivalry with the wizard and everyone was like, ‘Paint the wizard!’ [ Laughs] I look at it now and I’m like, ‘Why did I do this?’
What binge-watches do you recommend for everyone needing a laugh right now?
Always, always, always recommend Detroiters. It’s maybe the funniest show of the last decade. South Side is a current Comedy Central series that’s so good that I don’t know anyone talking about. Better Off Ted is a great show; I watched so much of it when it was still on TV. Joe Pera Talks with You is a great Adult Swim series. It’s so soothing; Pera’s voice and the tone of the show is so kind. Three Busy Debras is an Adult Swim show from Mitra Jouhari, Sandy Honig (past VICE contributor and VICE Live co-host), and Alyssa Stonoha. It’s so funny; they’re so fucking good at this.
You are a master of the at-home comedy skit. Do you have any tips for creating shorts at home?
The weirdest thing you can do is always the best. Trying to do something that masquerades as something else is always fun, where it feels like you’re in on a joke if we’re watching it. Do something that specifically uses your home as a venue. Don’t think of it as like, ‘Oh, I’m stuck here, so I’ll just do it here.’ Make things specifically to your scenario. Work with what you got, is what I’m saying [laughs].
I’ve seen you do fundraising, and of course your Bernie Sanders campaign videos. How can we all help each other get through this weird time?
Social distancing is essentially a communist thing. It’s recognizing that you live in a community and you need to help each other out. The most vulnerable part of any population is especially gonna be hit pretty hard right now. I’ve been trying to tell people, if you go to the grocery store and you see homeless people outside, just ask them if you can get them something. People are so happy to just get a hot chicken or whatever. You may be struggling, but if you’re not struggling, it’s such an easy thing for you to do and it’ll feel good for you too.
If you’re bored and wanna do something, sew masks for people or volunteer at an organization. I know Ground Game L.A. has been trying to put together wellness packs for people and that’s been great seeing my friends get involved with that.
How do you balance keeping up with things online and logging off before your eyes burn out?
I have enough friends that I can talk to at any given time so it’s easy for me to pull away from Twitter. No one’s talking about anything, we’re all angry about something that doesn’t matter, people are mad about someone saying that a movie is bad—it is all exhausting. My interaction with the internet is very much like, ‘Well, I put something out; time to put my phone away.”
How do you hope the world will change after the pandemic?
I hope this radicalizes a lot of people in a good way. The way we were poorly prepared for this, and that it’s clear people aren’t gonna get the financial or medical help they need for this easily, should be a wake-up call. I really hope that this forces people to see themselves as a community more. In a bigger sense, I really, really want this to make people realize that we need Medicare for all and financial stability on a federal level that protects the personal. And I hope that landlords get their heads out of their asses.
I feel like it’s only right that Will Smith raps over the credits of the pandemic. What would his rap be called and who would feature on it?
Well it’s gotta be a Sisqó feature, cause who else would do it? It’s called “Bad Boys.” It’s not related to the movie Bad Boys; it’s just a rap about people who are still going outside without masks and gloves and think it’s not a big deal. And it’s very tsk-tsking, which we’ve never seen from him before, but it still feels bad. It’s like your dad telling you he’s disappointed in you. Sisqó just coming in for the chorus would be like, [ sings] ‘Oooo you shoulda put on a maaaask!’
Follow Jill Krajewski on Twitter.