By Lindsay Emery
Croton-on-Hudson resident Skyler Holzman is one of thousands of college students in Westchester County continuing his studies online for the rest of the semester.
Once the Cornell sophomore returned home, he realized that he wanted to channel his energy into developing a podcast for his fellow college students who were also social distancing.
Once Holzman came up with the idea, he set up the podcast within an hour.
“Isolation! A Collegiate Coronavirus Conversation” is the podcast that he created the night that he arrived home, two days after Cornell asked its students to vacate the campus. Isolation at home is the theme of the conversation, but guests tend to talk about whatever they have been up to in their own houses.
Each podcast is typically 40 to 50 minutes long and covers a variety of topics from cooking to television shows to working out.
“It’s just very random and scattered but that’s what makes it fun,” Holzman said. “It’s nice not having an agenda because it’s a really organic conversation and people are really willing to talk about what they’re doing because we’re all kind of in the same boat right now.”
Most of the conversations are between Holzman and his friends, but he encourages anyone to contact him to be a part of the show. He has posted on social media about the show and he has also had a conversation with someone who he has never met before.
“I’m probably going to continue posting about it and spread the word,” he said. “Because I really will talk to anyone. I just really enjoy talking to people and learning about people.”
At the end of every episode, Holzman asks his guests the same three questions:
“What do you think about the lack of toilet paper in America? On a scale of 1-100, how bored are you? Do you have anything to say to the coronavirus if you were speaking to the virus itself?”
Holzman is majoring in English and minoring in Spanish. An aspiring comedian and a fan of Conan O’Brien’s podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” Holzman set out to create a comedic podcast.
Holzman is president of a stand-up comedy club at school called Pun Intended, sports director of the Cornell Media Guild and the host of a live radio show called “The Big Red Banter.”
After starting stand-up a little over a year ago, Holzman wanted to create an outlet for his creativity and comedy while being stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak.
“The funny thing is, when I started doing the podcast, I was doing like two a day in the first three or four days of the week because I had nothing to do,” he said.
As of last week, Holzman has created 20 programs. He doesn’t want to put a definitive number on how many podcasts he’d like to finish, but he would like to create at least 40, if not 50 or even 60 episodes. While those numbers might seem a little ambitious, he said that the podcast hasn’t been overwhelming and he feels he’s up for the challenge, especially if social distancing continues.
“It’s going to be kind of a long time; I’ll continue to do the podcast as much as I can,” Holzman said.
Afterwards, Holzman is open to starting a new podcast or even collaborating with somebody else. He currently plans on continuing to produce more content, including videos and sketches, to put online.
“I think a lot of the content that’s being produced is very cool and I’m just glad to be able to contribute to that,” Holzman said. “I’m hoping to use some of this as a springboard for more comedic material and material in general that I will be producing in the future.”
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