This December in our Funny Women Diaries, Kate discusses how the comedy community is dealing with fallout from Louis CK’s confessions of sexual misconduct.
Well… this is quite a time to be living through, isn’t it? The last time I wrote the allegations against Harvey Weinstein was in the news They still are, but I didn’t realise Weinstein was effectively the first domino, and plenty of other figures are falling right now. And good. Good. I bet there are plenty of public figures quaking in their boots over past incidents where they have exploited those of lower status. What once they might have hoped could be dismissed as an unfortunate indiscretion is now being called out for what it is: criminal behaviour.
I bring this up because just as Hollywood and the UK’s parliament is being shaken by allegations of sexual assault, here in the comedy community we’re dealing with comedian Louis CK’s confession to masturbating in front of women without their consent, or without their enthusiastic consent on some occasions.
If you’re not familiar with Louis CK, then to catch you up he is a widely admired (yes, still) stand-up, writer and director. He is what’s known as a comedian’s comedian. He’s not quite mainstream, yet most comics aspire to reach his heights of success.
Since Louis issued an apology – that impressively didn’t seem to actually include an apology – plenty of male comedians on the open mic circuit seem to have been driving themselves to distraction on forums discussing how Louis can potentially make a successful comeback. Let me clarify that. Comedians have been taking to the internet to discuss how a man who intimidated women and compromised their careers so he could wank in front of them can salvage his career so they can remain comfortable fans. Somebody who intimidated women, who abused his power, who denied these allegations for years. Somebody who, were his talent not recognised, we’d be describing as a pervert, a flasher, a dirty old man. They’re looking for a way round it to justify finding one man funny.
And you know what? It pisses me off that they don’t care about the women involved. That they don’t understand, or don’t care, they’re sacrificing women in order to watch a Netflix special. How do we deal with this? How do we make workplaces safe for women? Could it possibly be as simple as awarding women the same esteem we award men? COULD IT BE?
I bloody hope we find out. I hope I can get back to lighthearted, vaguely frivolous posts about women in comedy. But for now I suggest we all strap in, because I have no doubt there are more allegations and horror stories to come and we best decide on how to deal soon.
The only source of news you ever need! Click here for our Tomboy Tarts Prickly Picks column with Funny Women.