New York comedy club owner insists live entertainment is ‘essential,' especially during pandemic

Stand Up NY owner argues comedy is ‘essential’ amid pandemic

Dani Zoldan joins ‘Kennedy’ to discuss being shut down under New York COVID-19 restrictions.

Comedy clubs and entertainment venues have been struggling under coronavirus lockdowns, but Stand Up NY owner Dani Zoldan told FOX Business Network's "Kennedy" Wednesday that comedy should be treated like any other essential business.

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“People need to laugh and we’re running out of Netflix shows to watch,” he said. “So I think it’s essential that we have live comedy. It brings people together. It’s good for mental health.”

Zoldan said the demand for live entertainment is obvious, yet New York City leadership has given “no lifeline” in order to support the industry.

NYC COMEDY CLUB OWNER SLAMS COVID-19 'DOUBLE STANDARD' FOR 'SNL'

Large-scale productions like NBC's "Saturday Night Live" have managed to skirt restrictions by paying audience members to attend shows, making them temporary employees.

‘Saturday Night Live’ has skirted restrictions by paying audience members to attend the weekly sketch show. (Photo by: Kyle Dubiel/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

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Meanwhile, New York’s Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded $47 million in grants to big-name venues and organizations like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Philharmonic. Zoldan expressed anger at the double standard.

“That’s basically a death blow to small businesses,” he said. “Not only comedy clubs, all small businesses, music venues. It’s really disgusting.”

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Stand Up NY was able to host 50 outdoor shows per week over the summer, Zoldan said, but is out of luck now that the winter cold has arrived. Zoldan added that he had decided to reopen his venue when indoor dining is once again permitted.

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