Emily Hampshire has been preparing her whole life for this. “All of my friends have been texting me saying that,” she says. No, not the Schitt’s Creek star's talk show, Humpdays with Hampshire, kicking off April 1 on YouTube; she’s been quarantine ready for years.
“All of my elementary school report cards said, ‘Emily does well playing alone,’” Hampshire says. “I know it’s a horrible time for most people and I truly hope it’s over soon. I do like to stay in and be alone, though.”
To pass the time, the self-professed musical theatre fanatic has been doing lots of arts and crafts, cleaning, and snacking. Hamilton is her cast album of choice, specifically the song “In the Room Where It Happened” because she lives in a loft: “It’s the same room all day, all night.”
Her love of musical theatre came full circle when she got the Playbill for the Schitt’s Creek episode with her character, Stevie Budd, starring as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. “I burst into tears, I was so excited and it meant a lot!”
Now, Hampshire is jumping from TV comedy to hosting a talk show. Despite treasuring her alone time, she enjoys getting to know people. “It’s such a great time to put some entertainment out there when you can go online and get the worst news. I like to see the silver linings in things.”
For the first episode, she’ll be hanging virtually with some close friends: Schitt’s Creek co-star Annie Murphy, Bobby Berk (Queer Eye), Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill), and bronze Olympic medalist Adam Rippon. Other episodes will feature more friends and people she’s only dreamed of meeting.
Hampshire plans on exploring the celebrities' life at home under quarantine. They’ll play games like “Heads Up” or “What’s In Your Purse?”, all under the theme of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced people to stay home. “I want to know how much toilet paper Adam has,” she says.
Viewers can expect her set to be quarantine themed, too. “I’m surrounded by cardboard boxes, Kraft dinners, Slim Jims, and Lysol. It’s like a bunker here.” That’s not to say the show won’t have production value—Hampshire and the team have already created a theme song and an intro, using the her bitmoji character. “I’m putting a lot of expectations on myself—I want to make it really special.”
In addition, the series is aimed at raising funds for people affected by the mass theatre and TV/film production shutdowns. The episodes, hosted on The Actors Fund YouTube channel, will have donate buttons so that audiences can give tax-deductible contributions.
“I’m competitive. I want to raise more than The Rosie O'Donnell Show did—I know she’s Rosie, but still, the only thing I really care about is raising money,” she says. “There’s so many people affected. I realize how lucky I am to be able to go a couple months without a paycheck, but a lot of industry people go paycheck to paycheck.”
Hampshire knows it’s tough for most people to donate, but she hopes the rare few who can, do. Either way, she hopes a lot of people will tune in. “I have this PTSD from a birthday party where no one showed up. I don’t want to look at the numbers and see only eight people.”
Given Hampshire’s enthusiasm and fun-loving nature, it’s doubtful that’s going to happen.
Tune in to Humpday with Hampshire on The Actors Fund YouTube Channel every Wednesday at 5 PM ET.