DELRAY BEACH – When considering a trial relocation to Florida during height of the COVID pandemic, comic Jimmy Shubert listed a loss of acting opportunities among the potential negatives.
Quite the opposite happened.
Operating out of a South Florida rental apartment for more than a year, Shubert is receiving an abundance of chances to act.
“When you first move down here you think, Oh that’s it. You’re not going to be able to audition because they do that stuff in L.A.,” Shubert said. “COVID has changed a lot of that. I guess a lot of actors scattered and got out of the west coast. So now they are taking auditions from everywhere.”
An actor who had recurring role in “The King of Queens” and boasts dozens of guest staring appearances – including on “Entourage” – on his reel, Shubert’s converted his guest room into a studio. He shoots audition videos there, then sends the video to be reviewed by casting directors.
The ubiquitous use of teleconferencing as a means to combat the spread of COVID altered the way many industries conduct business. Unheard of a few years ago, teleconferencing and self-produced audition videos are are now common tools among casting directors.
When Shubert lands a role, he simply hops on a plane and heads west – or, increasingly often, to Atlanta, where the video production business is booming. He does the work and heads back east without having to worrying about the exorbitant cost of gas, rent and general west coast lunacy.
It’s a playbook being followed by an increasing number of actors and comics.
“California has literally chased out its bread and butter, which is the TV and movie industry – which is insane,” Shubert said.
The quest for acting roles hasn’t caused Shubert to neglect his first love – stand-up comedy. Upon arriving in South Florida, with comedy work throughout the rest of the nation difficult to find, Shubert rarely passed up an opportunity to hop on a South Florida stage.
In recent months Shubert’s intentionally cut back on his South Florida headlining shows. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been performing. Shubert’s coming off a stint of sold-out shows in the Philadelphia area. He currently in the midst of a Texas run.
Shubert’s popped into a few local shows of late to refine some bits and retain his sharpness, but those appearances are almost never announced. But this week, South Florida comedy fans will have an opportunity to see some of Shubert’s latest work when the veteran comic headlines Thursday night’s show at the Delray Arts Garage.
“This is right here in your own town,” is Shubert’s message to Delray Beach-area comedy fans. “You can go have dinner in a nice restaurant on Atlantic, then stroll over to the Delray Arts Garage to see a killer show.”
Those who haven’t seen Shubert perform recently will most certainly notice some differences. For starters, he’s lost about 30 pounds since moving to South Florida – an improvement he credits to hot yoga, meditation and healthier living in general.
“I get up at 5:30 in the morning like a total fucking nut bag,” Shubert said.
Shubert also says he has enough new material to create his fifth album, which he hopes to record soon and turn into a video special. If the remainder of his set is even close to the Subway bit he delivered during a March drop-in at Delray’s Winehouse Social, fans may be gasping for breathe.
“Maybe I’ll film this special down here in Florida,” Shubert said.
Tickets for Shubert’s Arts Garage show are $30. Showtime is 8 p.m.