Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Saturday Night Live's first studio audience since March was paid for being there

Illustration for article titled iSaturday Night Live/is first studio audience since March was paid for being there
Screenshot: NBC

Saturday Night Live played to a studio audience for the first time since March 7 this past weekend, despite New York guidelines that dictate only paid staff are permitted to make up a taping’s audience. So, to ensure Jim Carrey’s grotesque Joe Biden was met with more than Colin Jost’s stiff claps, Lorne Michaels took it upon himself to “cast” some audience members.

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This comes via the New York Times, who report that, to work their way around this guideline, at least a portion of the taping’s audience was paid $150 for their time (insert joke about how we all should be paid for having to endure Alec Baldwin’s Trump performance). One audience member, Sean Ludwig, confirmed that he and seven friends had each been given a check from Universal Television, a division of NBC’s parent company. They reportedly obtained their tickets via 1iota, a site that offers free tickets to various tapings and special events.

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This sits fine with the state health department, apparently, who told the Times that there’s “no evidence of noncompliance.” But does it also sit fine with the show’s newest cast members, who weren’t included in a single sketch this past Saturday? One hopes they’ll, at the very least, be invited to dance on an upcoming episode of “What Up With That?.”

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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