Stimulus Bill throws a lifeline in small rooms | News, Sports, Jobs
For Journey Gunderson, the American Rescue Plan’s help for places of entertainment is doubly important.
This will help the National Comedy Center, of which Gunderson is the executive director, access funds to keep the center afloat as the COVID-19 pandemic wears off. Equally important, the American Rescue Plan contains a few provisions that could extend a lifeline to the art form of comedy – without which there is no National Comedy Center.
Senator Charles Schumer, D-New York and Senate Majority Leader, visited the Comedy Center on Monday to discuss the US bailout. For a few moments, Gunderson shifted the Chautauqua County spotlight to comedy club scenes that have been largely dark in recent months.
“The comedy clubs are the gymnasiums of the art form and the profession” Gunderson said in his remarks Monday. “No comic is good without hundreds and more often thousands of sets on stage, in front of a live audience. If there isn’t a healthy and thriving club network nationwide, many, many comics will never be able to make the leap to doing it full-time – without enough paid concerts, enough nights to work. , set opportunities and stage time – countless artists have earned don’t quit their day jobs.
Gunderson spoke with two comedy club owners over Easter weekend about how they are resisting the COVID-19 pandemic. Mike Lacey, owner of the Comedy and Magic Club in Hermosa Beach, Florida, opened his club in 1978 and told Gunderson he was worried about how his club is surviving the pandemic without federal funding and also the way stand up comedy survives. Chris Mazzilli, owner of Gotham Comedy Club in New York City, had similar feelings. Mazzilli’s club have hosted Jerry Seinfeld – including last Friday when the club reopened to 33% capacity – Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman and David Letterman.
The loss of live shows doesn’t just damage comedy clubs, Gunderson said.
“Now, if you’ve never been to a comedy club, and many Americans haven’t, consider that the idea that the disappearance of clubs won’t affect the quality of the sitcoms you watch. TV or movies you consume or the specials you broadcast is like thinking that the elimination of training facilities would not impact the quality of professional sports ”, said Gunderson.
Schumer fought for a provision in the US bailout that allows the Save Our Stages program to work more seamlessly with the payroll protection program. The Save Our Stages provision included an additional $ 1.25 billion for independent venues, performing arts organizations, independent theaters and cultural institutions and provides venues with access to a PPP loan and a Shuttered grant. Venue Operators, by deducting the PPP loan amount from the grant amount. Schumer said the additional funding and the technical solution would be a lifeline for independent sites in New York, hit hard by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, a place had to choose between getting a PPP loan or a Save Our Stages grant. The application process for the $ 16.25 billion program begins this week on Thursday, April 8.
The Federal Small Business Administration has also released an updated PPP app that now allows sites to apply for a PPP loan as well as a Save Our Stages grant, as Schumer intended with the fix included in the recent COVID bill. .
“So we can talk about the impact on the art form, but we can’t help but talk about the impact on the economy” said Gunderson. “Each of these clubs employs 50 to 100 people or more in addition to the artists. Guess where Sebastian Maniscalco honed his skills and delivery for years before selling four record-breaking shows in a single weekend at Madison Square Garden? In Gotham, as well as Hermosa in each of these clubs. Performance venues are an essential part of the fabric of our nation, culturally and economically.