Punctuality takes a while

For several years now, comedian Mike Birbiglia has established himself as a kind of spokesperson for the virtues of punctuality. In a Ne...


For several years now, comedian Mike Birbiglia has established himself as a kind of spokesperson for the virtues of punctuality. In a Netflix special, “thank god for the jokes‘, he asks audience members to clap if ‘you’re late’. Amid the applause, he says, “What latecomers don’t understand about us punctuals is that we hate you.” He leads the line as latecomers find their places. “Welcome to the show,” he says.

It was a routine he did before the pandemic. Now, he said in an interview, sticking to a schedule has become even more important. Like many other comedians who turned to podcasting and other side gigs when live shows largely disappeared from their schedules, he finds himself busier than ever.

“I’m trying to cram in two years of work that I couldn’t do with all the work I have now,” said Mr. Birbiglia, who produced 73 episodes of “Make it out”, a podcast in which he and guests like Judd Apatow, Sarah Silverman and Bowen Yang discuss comedy and sometimes test new content.

A change in people’s relationship with the clock has also affected the restaurant industry. “Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a real increase in online reservation activity,” said Debby Soo, chief executive of OpenTable, the digital reservations company. “While there used to be more appointments, people are now planning ahead and scheduling their meal times.”

Diners are also booking earlier reservation times, said Patti Rockenwagner, an owner of Dear John, a Los Angeles steak house once owned by Frank Sinatra. “People who would eat at 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. now eat at 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. because they’re not commuting,” she said. “They’re not running home after work to change clothes and, in fact, they’re really ready to leave home at 5:30 p.m..”

An earlier prime time and the continued popularity of al fresco dining amid the continuing waves of coronavirus have complicated running a restaurant, Ms Röckenwagner added.



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