Home / Entertainment / “S.N.L.” had a live audience. He came home with his salary.

“S.N.L.” had a live audience. He came home with his salary.

Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, tickets to join the studio audience for “Saturday Night Live” were a valuable commodity – offered for free by NBC, but so difficult to obtain that some comedy fans were willing to pay for them.

But now tickets to this long-running sketch show – still free and still scarce – have 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 regulated the reopening of businesses and industries during the pandemic.

On Monday evening, the state health department confirmed that “S.N.L.” he had followed his guidelines for reopening by “casting” live audience members for his first season on Saturday – the show’s first live episode since March 7 – and paying them for their time. (It is unclear how many members of the audience were paid guests.)

Sean Ludwig, who participated in the “S.N.L.” first season on weekends, said he and seven friends who had gone with him each received a check for $ 150 from Universal Television, a division of NBC’s parent company, at the end of the show.

“We had no idea that we would be paid before the checks were handed to us,” Ludwig said. “We were all pleasantly surprised.”

Ludwig, a freelance writer who runs a barbecue website and newsletter, said he and his friends got their tickets via a website called 1iota that monitors audiences for talk shows and other events. Ludwig said he had undergone a rapid test for the virus and asked to sign health forms indicating they had no Covid-19 or symptoms of the disease and had not come into contact with anyone who had it before he was allowed to. attend the show.

In the days preceding the “S.N.L.” prior to the season, it was unclear whether the show would be able to draw studio audiences from the general public, as it has done in past years, due to state restrictions on reopening during the pandemic. In a previous statement, the state health department said ticketed events had been banned since March 16 and that the restriction had not changed.

But “S.N.L.” had previously asked live audience members to register through his 1iota page, which has since been removed. The show had asked candidates to request seven to nine tickets for people they considered part of their “social bubble” and outlined the coronavirus-related precautions the show would take.

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