Dani Zoldan, the owner of Stand Up NY at 236 West 78th Street, has filed a lawsuit against the Cuomo administration to allow comedy clubs to operate under the same guidelines as restaurants and bars, and has retained ‘Anti-Shutdown Lawyer’ James Mermigis to do so.
“The comedy scene in New York City is the best in the world. The overall consensus is that comics want to perform again, New Yorkers want to laugh and venues want to receive guidelines so they can safely reopen. It’s unfair that basically every other industry has received reopening guidelines except the arts. I believe that it’s reasonable to ask that performance spaces be allowed to abide by the same rules as other businesses,” said Zoldan.
Larry Sharpe, the 2018 Libertarian Party candidate for Governor and host of The Sharpe Way, convinced Zoldan to sue the Cuomo administration after seeing the club owner’s efforts to revitalize the comedy industry, holding secret, invite-only pop ups outside the venue, in parks, on rooftops, houses of worship and train stations. Elon Musk’s January 13th “legalize comedy” tweet fortified his confidence to move forward. Sharpe also connected Zoldan with Mermigis, his attorney.
“When I heard that Stand Up NY, a wonderful venue that my campaign used often in 2018, fell victim to Governor Cuomo’s stranglehold on small business, I knew that I had to help,” said Sharpe.
Known as the “Anti-Shutdown Lawyer,” James Mermigis has filed over half-a-dozen lawsuits against the state, Governor Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio on behalf of small businesses in New York including theaters, pool halls, family entertainment centers, restaurants, and gyms.
“In New York now, Saturday Night Live is doing live shows every week, Jimmy Fallon is doing live shows, Jazz Supper Clubs are open and restaurants with incidental live music are open but Stand Up NY is still shut down. The State’s refusal to open Stand Up NY amounts to an unconstitutional content-based restriction on speech. The State has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter or its content,” said Mermigis.
Dani Zoldan, Larry Sharpe and James Mermigis announced the lawsuit on The Sharpe Way show online on March 1, and are asking people to support the reopening of Stand Up NY and to sign the petition at LegalizeComedy.NYC.