It doesn’t matter what else Monique Marvez is doing at 3:30 p.m.
The Los Angeles-based comedian and radio host might be on the way to the grocery store, at lunch with a friend or recovering from surgery. If it’s 3:30 p.m., she goes live on Facebook.
As Marvez talks about whatever’s on her mind that day, she says hello to viewers — calling each by name — from around the world. In this space, she has sung “Happy Birthday” and cried while telling personal stories and shared good news while asking, like a close friend might, “Do I look happy?” When a regular fan, Hector, commented that he didn’t know how to dance, Marvez dedicated one Facebook Live to teaching Hector how to dance.
She says she’ll even make time for her online fans while she’s in Colorado Springs this weekend. Marvez is slated to perform four shows at Loonees Comedy Corner, where she’s been coming since 1994. Her sets will mark the grand reopening of the comedy club after being shut down due to COVID-19 concerns.
Marvez hasn’t been on a real stage since March, when the coronavirus pandemic began.
That’s what got her into social media in the first place.
“I never used it,” she said. “To be frank with you, it seemed like a massive time suck for people who don’t know what they want to do with their time.”
Friends would tease her that she was a comedian in witness protection. After fans saw her perform, they’d look for her on Instagram or Facebook and find nothing.
And Mavez was fine with that.
But then her shows and tours got canceled. It was time to start something new.
She promised to go live on Facebook every day at 3:30 p.m. for 40 days. She has since tripled that number. She also started a YouTube channel, where she hosts a live-stream comedy hour every Saturday.
“It’s been a game changer,” she said. “People rely on it. “They say, ‘You’re like my therapist. You’ve kept me calm.’”
Marvez, who is 57, started her comedy career at 27. She has since built a style that’s conversationally funny and motivational.
Her 2014 one-hour special on Showtime called “Not Skinny Not Blonde” is a prime example.
The title comes from when Marvez was 39, living in Los Angeles and dating an older man who owned a comedy club in the Midwest. He wanted her to move across the country to be with him. He didn’t express that in the nicest way, though.
“He told me, ‘I don’t even know why you’re in L.A. You’re not what they want. You’re not skinny, you’re not blond,’” Marvez recalls.
The relationship ended. And Marvez doubled down on chasing her dreams in L.A. She always wanted to be a comedian. She also wants to uplift people along the way.
“I have a secret mission at my shows,” she said. “And that is that long after you’ve left one of my shows, you’ll remember one thought from it that makes you happy.”
She says she’s translated that idea to her short Facebook videos. She’s come up with phrases for her online tribe, like “I don’t want you to be a Kool-Aid drinker, I want you to be a big picture thinker.”
Marvez rarely says coronavirus or pandemic. Instead, she says, “This is a pause for the cause.”
She’s encouraged viewers to use “this pause” to learn a side hustle or a new skill. Just like she did with social media.
As she has posted on YouTube and Facebook, Marvez said it has led to new career opportunities. Most importantly, it’s led to a solid relationship with fans.
“I embraced the pivot,” she said to viewers during a recent livestream. “And the pivot brought me to you.”
It’s also made her the happiest version of herself, she says.
“Maybe COVID is my time,” she says with a laugh. “Maybe it’s my moment.”