Down Time is a Jezebel series in which we ask our favorite artists and authors what art, books, and activities they’re turning to in this moment of isolation and uncertainty. Comedian Jo Firestone spoke to Jezebel about the show that makes her laugh and cry right now.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
I want to give a hard endorsement to Encore on Disney+. It’s so good. It’s kind of like, [and] I feel like I’m going to get slammed for this, but it’s kind of like Great British Bake Off for high school musicals. It’s an emotional show. They take people, like the graduating class of 1996, and then reunite them to put on their production of Lion King or whatever. It kind of hits the spot of nostalgia, but for something you’ve never experienced because you’re not them. It’s still nice because it really takes you out of it. You’re just like, they gotta put on this show, how are they going to put on The Sound of Music in five days time, how are they going to do it?! It’s so low-stakes, but man it gets you.
I love musicals, I love a production of any musical, but I wasn’t very good at singing or dancing [in high school] which are the two talents I think you need to excel. But I tried out for them. I played, you know, like... woman. I played “woman.” But with Encore, they’re going to do the musical and no matter what the fact that they’ve been in this Disney+ show [will make] their families so proud of them. Whether or not they hit the high note, it’s really not the most important part. [Laughs] Everyone I know loves the “Anything Goes” episode because it’s the class of 1970 and they’re all still so good. They kill it. You’re not going to be disappointed.
The show creates a sensation of laughing and crying at the same time, which is a very nice release. I’ve never experienced that before. I really stuck to the binary of laughing or crying, but now I realize that is there is a beautiful mixture there. It can be achieved with this one particular Disney Plus show. And I’ve never seen anything on Disney+, I don’t even know what Baby Yoda is. [Laughs]