First of all, this article is based on my own opinions and extrapolations from nine years performing in comedy, and many years before that of being a woman. If it annoys you or makes you angry, I’m not surprised, but nor do I really care.
When Woody Allen married a child he helped raise, it threw us for a loop. Some people stopped watching his films, and many of us continued but couldn’t enjoy them without any thought of his personal life.
Nothing prepared us for the Cosby allegations, spurred on by the comments of Hannibal Burress, and yet, the stories had been circulating for years and nobody paid attention to them. There couldn’t have been a more shocking division of the private and the public versions of one man.
And now we have the Louis CK story. Like Cosby, stories about Louis had been around: in 2009, I heard the account of two female comics being forced to watch him masturbate at the Aspen comedy festival, who were then advised it was in their best interest to keep quiet, but with Jen Kirkman’s podcast (now removed), it no longer sounds like a one-time poor occurrence. And let’s be clear. It’s no Cosby case. It’s not serial rape. But nor is it a kink. He’s not getting outed for having a fun little fetish. It’s for subjecting women to his cock who didn’t want to be sexually involved with him. Why do men whose work we enjoy and respect keep letting us down?
There are a couple of forces at work here.
One is that women are garbage, and that women comics are even worse than that. Cosby apologists let us know that women were liars who wanted money and all the kind of great attention you get from being a rape victim, the same happened to #yesallwomen. So, that’s part one.
Louis CK defenders are pointing out that the only way women comics get ahead is by having sex with people in power. A male comic friend of mine let me know that if a male comic asked me to go on tour, I should assume it’s because he wanted to have sex with me, because otherwise he’d just tour with a dude, like a normal person.
It’s irresponsible to say something like all comics have mental issues or depression or emotional problems or are full-grown man-children, but I have had friends who never dated before they did comedy, and for whom road ass is part of the payment of road work. So, that’s part two.
If I stopped speaking with every comic who had been unfaithful to his girlfriend or wife, who’d sent unasked-for dick pics, who’d been predatory to new women comics, who’d felt entitled to sex with their female friends in comedy, who’d shit on their comedian ex onstage, who’d punched their wife, who’d tried to have sex with an unconscious friend on their couch, who’d laughed with their friends about passing women comics around like jizzrags, who’d judged women for sleeping with male comics but had never judged male comics, who’d had different women in every town before Facebook made the world transparent, I would have about five friends.
Part three is that when people get more powerful, that does not lead to being a better person. You feel protected. You have people. You have representation, legal and otherwise. Why would bad behavior improve?
Lastly, people are not entirely good or entirely bad. That’s movie talk. It is possible to enjoy someone’s art without agreeing with all of their opinions, behavior, or past. It doesn’t make the problem go away, but being predators doesn’t make them not funny.
So, I’m sorry. There may be other scandals involving your heroes. They are happening because women are less-than and famous men are more-than. I don’t know what else to tell you. Hopefully, this gets better. It’s not going to change without women getting angry, but guess what? I am angry. Hey, thanks for reading!