Stand-up comedian and actor Patton Oswalt has canceled several upcoming shows in Florida and Salt Lake City, Utah, because the venues would not comply with his demands requiring attendees to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
Oswalt told his followers on Instagram that he made the demands for his “Patton Oswalt Live: Who’s Ready To Laugh?” tour to protect his fans from the virus.
“The good news is we’re keeping everyone who comes to these shows safe and healthy because the numbers are going up,” he said in a video last Wednesday. “Now the bad news, of course, is there are five venues on the tour that are not complying with this.”
The comedian expressed regret that the shows were canceled, saying he was looking forward to performing at Kingsbury Hall in Utah, as well as four venues in Florida.
“This difficult decision was made due to the rising numbers of COVID cases and also because I have an ego, but my ego is not big enough to think that people should die to hear my stupid comedy,” Oswalt said in the video. “So hopefully, hopefully, in the future we can rebook those when sanity holds sway again. But this sucks, I was really looking forward to Florida, to Salt Lake City.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) in May prohibited businesses and government entities in the state from requiring vaccine passports. At the time, the governor said that “your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”
In Utah, state law prohibits government entities from implementing vaccine passports, but not private entities. Kingsbury Hall, the venue where Oswalt canceled his show, is part of the University of Utah. Brooke Horejsi, the executive director of Kingsbury Hall’s concert series UtahPresents, explained to Deseret News that under the law the university cannot require patrons to comply with vaccine requirements.
“The university has a vaccination requirement for students and health care university employees, but cannot extend that to patrons at campus venues for experiences presented by the University of Utah,” Horejsi said.
“However, outside rentals (like Live Nation) may make their own safety protocols. Unfortunately, Oswalt’s team had already made the decision to cancel the January show prior to this clarification, but we’re looking forward to rescheduling with him in the future.”