This coronavirus pandemic has been an economic night more for a great many Americans, particularly those who work in fields that rely on gathered crowds for survival. Restaurants are shuttered or operating under carryout-only rules, sports arenas are empty save for the annoyingly pumped-in crowd noise, and venues for music and other performing arts are simply non-operational.
For folks in bands or those who perform stand-up comedy have been largely out of work, as they attempt to monetize streaming platforms or sell merchandise to make ends meet.
In New York City, this reality stings a little bit worse, especially now that Saturday Night Live is back up and running – complete with a live studio audience.
A Big Apple comedy club owner is angry that “Saturday Night Live” is shooting with a live audience, while the city’s comedy clubs remain empty because of COVID — and he says he’s disappointed that the city’s big-name comedians haven’t done more to help the ailing industry.
Dani Zoldan, co-owner of Upper West Side comedy club Stand Up NY, told Page Six that it seems as if there’s one set of rules for the longrunning NBC show and another for local clubs.
He told us that comedy clubs in the city are being forced out of business by the lockdown, and said, “From the perspective of a comedy club owner, it’s frustrating, day in and day out, to bear witness to this loss and see that every Saturday night ‘SNL’ is allowed to produce their show indoors, seemingly in violation of the same laws crushing small businesses all over New York City.”
“They have a live studio audience and the cast members are not social distancing,” he said. “I was watching the show Saturday night and I was so upset that struggling comedy clubs are going out of business while they’re doing their thing and collecting a paycheck.”
Then, last week, the long-running variety show had the audacity to make light of a Staten Island bar owner who’s been fighting back against the state’s lockdown orders, in a bit that drew a great deal of harsh criticism from New Yorkers.