UPDATE: Just hours after Dani Zoldan publicized his lawsuit against the Cuomo Administration via Larry Sharpe’s show, The Sharpe Way, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced entertainment venues in New York would begin reopening with limited capacity starting April 2. Read below for more information about Zoldan’s lawsuit.
New York City comedy club owner Dani Zoldan filed suit against the Cuomo Administration for unfair treatment. With help from Larry Sharpe, the 2018 Libertarian Party candidate for Governor and host of The Sharpe Way, he retained Constitutional Attorney James Mermigis to reopen Stand Up NY following New York restaurant and bar guidelines.
Venues in New York have been shuttered since the pandemic began, while restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, pool halls and movie theaters have been able to operate. Venue owners have received no guidance as to when they can reopen. Many New York institutions have already closed permanently including Dangerfield’s—the legendary comedy club which opened in 1969.
“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.
Sharpe convinced Zoldan to sue the Cuomo Administration after seeing Zoldan’s efforts to revitalize the comedy industry by holding pop-up shows in parks, rooftops, houses of worship and train stations. Elon Musk’s January 13th “legalize comedy” tweet fortified his confidence to move forward.
“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 Larry Sharpe.
The Sharpe Way team worked with Stand Up NY to retain Attorney James Mermigis of the Mermigis Law Group, P.C., who has a history of success against Cuomo in court. Known as the “Anti-Shutdown Lawyer,” he 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. Mermigis filed a class action on behalf of 1,500 gyms in August. His lawsuit was instrumental in opening gyms throughout the State of New York, as Governor Cuomo issued guidance just days before oral arguments. Mermigis defeated Cuomo and his 17 pool hall clients were granted an injunction when a State Supreme Court Judge in Syracuse, N.Y., found no rational basis for distinguishing between billiards halls, on the one hand, and bowling alleys, casinos, large stores, restaurants and airports, on the other hand. This victory was the only case to defeat Governor Cuomo on a “rational basis” theory in the State.
“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.
The trio announced the lawsuit on The Sharpe Way show online, on Monday, March 1. In addition to the lawsuit, they are asking people to support the reopening of Stand Up NY and to sign the petition at LegalizeComedy.NYC.
About Stand Up NY: A Manhattan landmark, Stand Up NY opened in 1986. Comics like Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Louis CK are regulars in what New York Magazine calls the “incubator of stand-up nobility.” Tucked into a residential block of 78th Street on the Upper West Side, it features superstars as well as the brightest young talent in the business.
About The Sharpe Way: The Sharpe Way show was founded by Larry Sharpe, the 2018 Libertarian Party candidate for Governor of New York to help heal the nation’s political divide between liberals and conservatives.