A new online comedy series explores living through the coronavirus in New York City – and the whole thing is being created while in quarantine.
“The Honeyzoomers” stars Joli Tribuzio and Johnny Tammaro as Deb and Ant Bizzaro, a sister and brother who are “temporarily” living together in Ant’s apartment in Greenwich Village because of Deb’s separation from her husband. When the pandemic hit and stay at home orders were put in place, the pair found themselves stuck together indefinitely, with Deb teaching from Ant’s apartment and Ant leaving his bus driver job and dealing with his health anxieties.
The show was created by Charles Messina, a playwright who was supposed to open the new musical “The Wanderer,” which is about the life of Dion. at the Paper Mill Playhouse in May. With the opening date pushed back to April 2021, Messina found himself spending his days at home not sure what to do when producer and composer Jeremy Long (who composed the theme song for the show) suggested that he create something while in quarantine.
“Jeremy said to me, ‘Why don’t you do something?'” said Messina. “So I started to talk with Joli and Johnny, who I’ve worked with before, and we started to think about what we could create. We started to think about what we’re going through here in New York, and how we can create something in quarantine, and we ended up making something about quarantine, while in quarantine.”
Each episode of “The Honeyzoomers,” which is executive produced by Jill Menza, takes about a week to make, according to Messina. Messina will write a script and send it to Tribuzio and Tammaro, who will read it over together over the phone or on Zoom. After providing feedback and coming up with a shot list, Tribuzio and Tammaro film their scenes separately in their own homes and then Tribuzio edits the show together.
“In the last month or so since we’ve been doing it, we’ve been getting a kick out of it,” said Messina. “We’re happy that we have our legs back under us. The passivity of that didn’t feel right, it’s just the beauty to be able to create again that feels the best.”
Like the name suggests, the show draws a lot of inspiration from television shows such as “The Honeymooners,” “The Odd Couple” and “All in the Family.” Much like “The Honeymooners,” Messina’s show is in black and white, has the same title for every episode, and only plans to have a 39-episode run.
As the show goes on, viewers can expect to see guest stars in future episodes. Messina and the team have also created a series of public service announcements where Deb and Ant Bizarro telling New Yorkers to wear a mask and wash their hands in a comedic way.
“We’re not political, but we should reflect on what needs to be done to end the pandemic,” said Messina. “But we also want to make people smile.
Messina hopes that New Yorkers, in particular, will be able to see some of their own experiences through the lens of the show and still be able to laugh about it. We’re taking on a lot of the subjects, and we’re doing it with some warmth and heart and laughter.”
“I wanted New Yorkers to have their experiences reflected in these two characters,” said Messina. “We are reflecting on what is happening now in the moment, but if we can give people a tiny piece of how great New York is, then we’ve done our job.”
Episodes of “The Honeyzoomers” air once a week and can be found on www.thehoneyzoomers.com or on “The Honeyzoomers” YouTube channel, or find updates about the show on their Instagram profile. Check out the first episode of “The Honeyzoomers” below: