Absolutely nobody on Earth is in a “good” place right now, but it seems the celebrities are in a particularly surreal one. Trapped at home, devoid of many of the luxuries to which they’re accustomed — public attention, a sense of permanent elevation from the mortal plane, pap walks, Uber Black rides to ModelFit classes, Stormi Webster’s uncanny birthday parties — they’re finally Just Like Us, minus the fact that they can get tests for a deadly disease and we can’t. And though a lot of them are handling it with grace and humility and endearing weirdness, many are … not. As Madonna put it from her floral Instagram milk bath, “That’s the thing about COVID-19. It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell,” she said, referring to it as “the great equalizer.” “What’s terrible about it,” she added, “is what’s great about it.”
While an infinitesimally small part of me empathizes with the Madonnas of the world, who are clearly reeling at the revelation that they have fallible human bodies, most of me can’t help but feel a quiet rage every time somebody like Vanessa Hudgens takes to Instagram Live, denounces mass death as “inevitable,” and flounces off camera. Especially when there are other rich, famous people doing their best to help out, whether it’s via large amounts of money (the preferred route; here’s a great list of who’s helped out financially so far), scalding hot instructions to stay home (Ariana Grande, social distancing icon), drunken cooking demonstrations (thank you, Chrissy Teigen and John Legend), or genuinely sweet serenades (please carry on, JoJo). In hopes of gently persuading the Vanessas and Madonnas and Evangelines to get a grip and either offer free flutist content or begin donating stacks of cash, I’ve decided to create an alignment chart for the quarantined celebrities currently having a time on social media. I’ll continue to update it as things get weirder.
Jussie Smollett, currently embroiled in about 400 lawsuits, took to Instagram to sing a song and pretend everything was otherwise chill. Jussie: Please do not coronawash!
I don’t know what’s happening here, but I am certain it’s evil.
In an Instagram Live, Vanessa tossed her hair, smiled derangedly, and said, ”’Til July sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I’m sorry, but like, it’s a virus, I get it. I respect it. But at the same time, like, even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are gonna die. Which is terrible, but like, inevitable? I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now.” Later, she apologized, but I personally will never be able to watch High School Musical again, and that’s a freaking shame.
Thanked … the coronavirus … in a video about how it’s going to bring us all together and back to nature? It’s deleted from her page now, as she was widely criticized for posting it, but the original video is above.
What more is there to say about Madonna’s great equalizing bath? I guess I wish I could take a bath like that, minus the eugenics-y vibes.
Evangeline is … lost. She took to her Instagram to boast that her kids were still going to gymnastics class, highly contagious and extremely deadly virus be damned. “There’s ‘something’ every election year,” she wrote after everyone in the comments flipped out at her. “Where we are right now feels a lot too close to Marshall Law [sic] for my comfort already, all in the name of a respiratory flu.” (She’s since apologized.)
Decided to take this moment, of all moments, to share her anti-vaxxer beliefs with the world. “Yeah in America they made me vacinate my child before the school admission. It was the hardest thing. To not have choice over this as a mother. I never wanna feel that again. He was so sick for 3 weeks then Docs had to pump him with antibiotics to reduce the fever from 3 vaxins,” she wrote, in a now-deleted tweet.
Miley Cyrus’s Instagram talk show is overwhelming, occasionally insane, and often illuminating. At first, I had this in “chaotic neutral,” but I realized it’s more lawful in the sense that it has a structure, consistent branding, a prepared host, and, surprisingly, a sense of order that belies our current moment. Sometimes it veers off the rails, but more often than not, it’s harmless.
Glenn Close’s daily Instagram missives are the definition of neutrality, pure and absolutely free of any motive. In the one above, quietly and without any despair, she laments her lack of a daily schedule, though she says in another video she is “feeling creative” and did indeed spend some time shoveling snow recently.
Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas
Cutely eating pasta in a weird little hat? Thank you.
I will forever be haunted by the vision of Priyanka Chopra clapping, alone, on the balcony of her mansion, staring off into the middle distance, forcing Nick Jonas to take a video of the entire thing. A nice idea, absolutely chaotic in execution.
Gal Gadot & Co.
It’s hard for me to even type this, considering I was just able to finally put it from my mind. But yes, as you all undoubtedly know by now, Gal Gadot and a bunch of people she clearly blackmailed sang a key-free version of “Imagine” by John Lennon. I’m not sure what the worst part is — that there was no accompanying donation? That everyone looks like they want to die? Kristen Wiig being dragged into all of this?
Masked up on her way to the farmer’s market, Gwyneth suggested we all “write a book, learn an instrument or a language or learn to code online, draw or paint) going through photos, cooking” during quarantine. Again: perhaps well-intentioned, but wildly privileged.
Ariana, who invented staying home, has been both gently encouraging and gently bullying her fans into staying the hell inside. One of the first celebrities to speak out about COVID-19, Ariana is now allegedly quietly donating money to her fans who’ve been laid off. I don’t want to pronounce a “queen” of a pandemic, but just know that if that were remotely appropriate, I would do that right now.
Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Tom and Rita HAVE coronavirus, and yet they’re out here sending us kind missives about taking care of each other and reassuring us that they’re okay. I don’t know a better person(s).
Continues to be a monument to justice while trapped inside her own home. I swear to god, we must protect Jane Fonda at all fucking costs.
Maria Bamford, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman, et al.
These comedians are both providing entertainment and donating money, truly the apex of celebrity behavior In These Times. Everyone else, take note!
Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams
While Ben Affleck is cavorting on beaches with Ana de Armas, which is truly the lawful evil relationship that we all deserve, Jen and Amy are reading books to donate to hungry children. I don’t know, I ship it.
Also reading to kids. Truly too good for this world. I am sorry to even put her in this piece because she deserves her own novel.
Surrounded by a bunch of donkeys, Arnold encouraged everyone to “stay at home. There is a curfew now.” He proceeded to share that his donkeys, Lulu and Whiskey, “love carrots.”
Suggests we all “give some stirring a go” in her Instagram Live cooking videos.
Julianne, why are you vacuuming outside? I love you.
JoJo’s Instagram serenades have been a lovely balm, especially because they’re delivered with a knowing sense of fun and incredible hair extensions.
Mindfulness, flutes, crystals, mantras. A New Age hero.
Hosted a “Covid International Arts Festival” on her Instagram, complete with speeches from winners around the world, all while wearing pin curls and living inside her “converted garage.”
Christine and the Queens
Though they’re not daily performances, like JoJo’s, my literal wife Héloïse Letissier has been turning in some really good shit while quarantined.
Ahead of her time, as always, Cardi B delivered both a prescient warning and a timeless bop when she screamed, “Government! Let me tell y’all motherfuckers something … A bitch is scared. Coronavirus! Coronavirus!”
Dancing silently and alone, sipping Coors Light through a paper straw gently placed between the lips of her light therapy mask, January Jones is all of us, if we were rich and beautiful and flush with Coors Light. Later, she brewed herself a “human stew” bath, which is poetic and terrifying, both important qualities to hold onto during this international crisis.
Chrissy Teigen and John Legend
Chrissy Teigen put on a towel, full makeup, and a turban, sat atop her husband’s piano as he serenaded her, and proceeded to get absolutely twisted. (This was part of the #TogetherAtHome concert series, which is an extremely laudable, if often chaotic, effort.)
“Let’s not go to the lowest common denominator and get paranoid,” drawled Matthew McConaughey in a perfectly Matthew McConaughey video. “We have an enemy in coronavirus that is faceless, raceless, sexless, nondenominational, and bipartisan. And we all agree we want to beat him.” I thought the virus was sexless, but anyway, his point remains: we must “make lemonade out of this lemon we’re stuck in.”
Wants us to “wash our hands, pick our nose, scratch our ass” in his newest song, entitled “Wonderwash.” I’m … speechless.
Wearing what appears to be a colander on her head and a dishrag on her face at Juliette Binoche’s house, Claire Denis remains an absolutely chaotic icon.