« L.A.’s George Gascon is the latest to obsess about academic credentials | Who has the power to appoint presidential electors? »
December 20, 2020
Live from New York, it's Saturday Night liberal hypocrisy
New York may still be the city that never sleeps but thanks to the diktats of its mayor, Bill deBlasio (D-Havana), and the state's governor, Andrew Cuomo (also D), it is functioning in a way that can be most charitably described as suspended animation, or zombie-like, as those who can, flee their residences, others work from home far from their offices, while restaurants, stores, offices, theatres, hotels, gyms, diners, cafes, and entertainment venues are closed and other businesses have gone bust.
All that remains of New York's pre-Wuhan virus vitality is the intermittent (very intermittent), flickering (very flickering) spark of Saturday Night Live which is still broadcast live on Saturday night.
Incidentally, yeah, yeah, argue all you want that the show is not funny, that the musical acts are no good, the hosts aren't worth it, that the cast is not talented, etc., -- it doesn't matter. The reality is, NBC wouldn't keep it on the air for over 45 years if it weren't profitable so it must attract an audience that advertisers are willing to throw money at.
So, in the midst of the Wuhan virus crisis, which has hit New York hard, how and why does the show still continue to broadcast live -- as its name indicates -- with maskless actors not social distancing, in front of a live audience, as it did again last night, in spite of all the laws prohibiting other businesses from functioning?
Ah, this is New York. With a Democratic mayor. And a Democratic, Emmy award-winning governor. And so, as the New York Times reported back in October
Before the coronavirus outbreak, tickets to join the studio audience of “Saturday Night Live” were a precious commodity — offered free by NBC, but so hard to obtain that some comedy fans were willing to pay money for them.But now the tickets to this long-running sketch show — still free, and still scarce — come with an added bonus: Members of its studio audience have been paid to attend.The payments are the result of new guidelines implemented by the state of New York, which has been regulating the reopening of businesses and industries during the pandemic.On Monday night, the state’s health department confirmed that “S.N.L.” had followed its reopening guidelines by “casting” members of the live audience for its season premiere on Saturday — the show’s first live episode since March 7 — and paying them for their time. (It is not clear how many audience members were paid guests.) (snip)Based on the guidelines around pandemic-era media production that were released by the state, television shows are not allowed to host live audiences unless they consist of paid employees, cast and crew. And if the show decides to create an audience out of its workers, the audience can be only 25 percent of its typical size — and can be no more than 100 people.
Oh, so that's the gimmick--pay the audience and pretend they're employed staff! But, but, but what about entertainment venues such as comedy clubs, where many of SNL's cast got their start, that rely on an audience paying them, not the other way around? Tough nuts! Suck it in! Or something.
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 long-running 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.”He said that, to add insult to injury, “SNL” star Pete Davidson mocked last week’s high- profile anti-lockdown protests at Mac’s pub in Staten Island during the “Weekend Update” segment.
So there you have it, Dani Zoldan. And small store owners, waiters, personal trainers, beauticians and others working hard to get by have lost their jobs, their homes, and more, because of unreasonable responses to the Wuhan pandemic. You just don't count. In the graphic words of Jen O'Malley Dillon, "President-elect" Joe Biden's (another Democrat) campaign manager and now his deputy chief of staff, Jen O'Malley Dillon, you're all "a bunch of fuckers." Or, in former First Lady and failed Democratic (again with the Democrats) presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's description, "deplorable."
Know your place peasant, and shut up. And then, maybe you, too, can get paid to sit in the SNL audience.
Image credit: SNL screen shot, via shareable YouTube