A comedy and entertainment relief to overcome the bad news in times of pandemic is what Puerto Rico Covid-Com proposes through Junior Álvarez’s YouTube channel.
"Most actors have been left without work, so we want to contribute to the people of Puerto Rico, who is all cooped up, by bring them some joy, and pass the ole hat to share whatever comes our way to pay for gas [expenses]. In just a few days, we’ve achieved incredible support... When the quarantine finally ends, we’ll continue with the JuniorAlvarezTV channel, using the same television platform,” Álvarez said.
Puerto Rico Covid-Com, produced by Juan Ward, is led by Álvarez and renowned actor Braulio Castillo. Comedians Herbert Cruz and Erik “Chicho” Rodríguez and actresses Linnette Torres, and Wanda Sais, and Ricky Villanueva’s ‘La Orquesta’ played live in the first shows. For this next Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the channel will broadcast Susa and Epifanio’s episodes ‘Hasta aquí me tiene el coronavirus’ (I’m up to here with the coronavirus) and ‘Fuego en Las Latas, con todo y Covid’ (Fire on the Cans, Covid and All). Susa and Epifanio are Carmen Nydia Velázquez and Víctor Alicea’s alter egos.
For his part, Ward knew since the beginning of the quarantine he would do the broadcast. Ward was director of “Las Hijas de su Madre” (Daughters of Her Mother), “El Otro Cuernito” (The Other Little Cuckold) and “La Casa sin Papel,” (The House Without Paper) among others plays.
“We used a very rudimentary homemade software platform, in which no one has lighting equipment. The artists appear with their own computers and you are seeing them with their own equipment working from their homes,” Ward said.
“We start the week with Braulio and Junior’s promos, and their scripts are recorded. On Tuesday, we run technical tests for the broadcasts… [and] rehearse the guests, to be sure things will run smoothly. On Wednesday, the rundown is prepared and the script is sent to everyone. And on Thursday, we do a full rehearsal from our homes. On Friday, then, we go live at 8:00 p.m., and people connect to see the comedy, varieties, live music and then the guests come in with surprises,” Ward explained.
Álvarez highlighted the potential of the project, given the limited opportunities for artists.
“We have to stay after the Covid-19 and provide a venue to fellow actors to make a purely Puerto Rican programming through our channel,” Ward said.