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The Comedy Cellar is Hosting a #MeToo Fundraiser, The Comedy Cellar That Lets Louis CK Make Surprise Appearances

By Mike Redmond | Industry | December 3, 2018 |

By Mike Redmond | Industry | December 3, 2018 |


louis-ck-metoo-benefit.jpg

Last night, Klaire Randall claims to have been bounced from the Comedy Cellar for heckling admitted sexual harasser Louis CK. Which if true, shows that Cellar clearly has its priorities straight. Using your celebrity status to randomly start jerking it in front of unsuspecting women? Knock yourself out. Yelling a few words at a comedian? How dare you, ma’am?!

But don’t take one tweet’s word for it. A quick search turns up other users confirming CK performed a surprise set on Sunday night:

Louis’ continued presence makes it all the richer that the Cellar has the balls to host what they’re referring to by email as a “MeToo fundraiser” less than 48 hours later.

As Angus Johnston also notes, while the benefit will feature all female performers, “the overwhelming majority of Comedy Cellar sets are either all male or nearly so,” which makes this even more of a blatant PR stunt. Granted, at the end of the day, money will be raised for Raliance, an organization dedicated to ending sexual violence — that was started by the NFL after the league took a bunch of flack for how it botched the Ray Rice situation. God… goddammit.

Anyway, back to my point. What’s so wrong with raising money to prevent sexual assault? Nothing if the reason for the donation is purely altruistic. When it’s a shield for continuing to allow a known sexual abuser to freely perform at your club while discrediting his accusers on your podcast, now we have a problem.

So let’s talk about a little game the Comedy Cellar is playing that Kristy accurately dubbed, “the veneer of listening.” Shortly after I wrote a column on owner Norm Dworman essentially acting as Louis CK’s publicist, a producer for the Cellar’s podcast politely invited me to come on the show. — Whoopity doo, aren’t I the hot shot? — Naturally, this would seem like a trap, but I noticed they were inviting on other writers who wrote extremely critical articles about the Cellar letting CK perform surprise sets. So before making a decision, I listened to those episodes, and it became clear real quick that literally nothing would be accomplished by me taking part in this.

Granted, the podcast conversations were mostly cordial, but they also occurred directly inside the Cellar and Noam would dominate the discussion with the same exact talking points that he’d continue to make for months. At one point, he literally argued in front of a writer for The Atlantic that The New York Times had committed journalistic malpractice by asserting that CK had blocked the door when he masturbated in front of a very surprised and terrified Dana & Julia. According to Noam, CK never blocked the door, which and I’m paraphrasing here, “lessened the severity.”

Holy shit, right?

So does tossing a couple of bucks at a sexual assault charity provide sufficient cover for belittling victims’ trauma? I’m gonna go with hell f**king no.



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