Comedy Fans, Rejoice! Here Are Some Photos of SNL's Afterparty at The Stand Last Week
No masks, no social distancing, just vibes.
Now that it’s been a full week since Joe Biden won, has your joy over his victory dulled? Is your relief clouded by the dread of what’s to come? Forget your troubles as I whisk you to the wondrous world of one week ago with these photos of Saturday Night Live’s indoor, unmasked, un-distanced, all-night afterparty.
As you can see from a pair of Instagram posts by the DJ Cipha Sounds, the celebration was held at The Stand, the Union Square comedy club known for its pizzas, burgers, and vaccine skeptic owner. One post depicts Cipha Sounds onstage with Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and DJ Lovelisa Dizon, none of them wearing masks. Another photoset features him with various other attendees, like the rapper Talib Kweli. Nobody appears to be wearing a mask, except for Chris Rock in one photo (but not in another), and an unidentified person in the background. In one of his captions, the DJ wrote: “We were all Rapid COVID tested so shut up!!”
Photographer Ismail Sayeed was there too. He captured Chappelle, Rock, Jim Carrey Michael Che, Michelle Wolf, Sam Jay, Dave Grohl and others posing together, performing onstage, and otherwise carousing unmasked inside the Stand, whose low ceilings you can make out in several shots. Sayeed wrote in his caption, “EVERYONE Was COViD Tested on Site. and We Partied Till 7am.” (Update, 2/8/2021: This caption appears to have changed since publication; below is a screenshot as it appeared on 11/15/20.)
The New York State Liquor Authority’s guidelines for reopened restaurants do not permit live comedy. They do allow live music and DJs, provided performances are incidental to the dining experience and follow all other guidelines: “patrons should not be standing except for necessary reasons (e.g., restroom, entering/exiting), standing patrons should wear face coverings, etc. Performers should be at least 12 feet from patrons.” At the time of the party, restaurants were required to close indoor operations by midnight. (They’re now required to close by 10pm.)
As epidemiologist Lisa M. Lee told me last month, Covid-19 rapid tests are notorious for their false negatives. “This means that [people] test negative and are let into an event, but are actually contagious,” she said. “How much this happens depends on the test and how much virus is circulating in the population, but the consequences are the same—people who are infectious end up with a negative test, which could lead to further spread.”
I reported last month that The Stand appeared to run afoul of health restrictions when it hosted an indoor podcast recording for a live audience. (The club claimed it wasn’t violating the state’s live entertainment ban because the recording wasn’t live entertainment.) As public health educator Lindsay Leininger told me at the time: “I think of all the folks who are potentially sharing an exposure here. There's 25 [patrons] who live in different households, there's the comics themselves, there's the servers at the restaurant, the back of the house staff at the restaurant, many of whom commute out to multigenerational households and far-flung parts of the outer boroughs. I'm just seeing a wide web of people sharing the exposure that's happening here. If one spark, if one infected person happened to be at this event, it would have a pretty serious ripple effect in terms of potential super spread.”
The Covid-19 infection rate in New York City is approaching 3%, with schools likely to close if it gets there. Nearly 1,800 New Yorkers were hospitalized with the disease on Friday, according to the New York Daily News. Twenty-four died.