When we last left Louis CK, he was literally joking about his “exile” after several accusations of forcing women to watch him masturbate was reported in The New York Times less than a year ago. And you know what? The whole thing is a goddamn joke. Not because he didn’t deserve to be banished — he absolutely did — but because it was clearly meaningless and doesn’t exactly count as a punishment when you get to decide, “Welp, I’m done taking a vacation. Back to work!”
But CK’s comeback couldn’t have happened without comedy club owners like Noam Dworman, who let Louis make a surprise appearance at the Comedy Cellar back in August, a scant eight months since CK admitted to the accusations in the Times. That appearance was couched as CK just dipping his toes in the water, but it almost immediately snowballed into him appearing at comedy clubs on the regular. And while Dworman might have initially hemmed and hawed about the controversial decision to let CK perform, he’s now fully switched gears to practically being his goddamn publicist.
This week alone, Dworman showed up on not one, but two podcasts (Slate’s The Gist, NYT’s The Daily) where he vomited up a cavalcade of defenses for CK’s comeback that read like a Facebook argument with your Fox News-loving uncle. So let’s sift through this crap sandwich.
Quotes via Vulture:
I looked at him and I said “Ted, if you were to look me in the eyes right now and tell me that ‘Noam, 15 years ago I did something like what Louie did - I don’t do it anymore, I’m ashamed - but I did it,’” I said “Ted, would you expect me to say ‘Get your crap and get out of here, you don’t work here anymore”? And I think the answer to that is obviously no. …. Now interestingly, he would not engage on the question. He looked away like a dog looks away when there’s danger. And that has been telling to me - that when I make an argument like that, they don’t refute it, or they don’t acknowledge it in some way and then integrate it “Yes you’re right, but however…” like I could make the argument.
Let’s generously assume that this conversation with Ted Alexandro happened exactly as Dworman describes it. When someone doesn’t engage with your bullshit that doesn’t mean you won an argument. Most of the time, they stopped engaging because it’s obvious that you’re so far gone that it isn’t worth the energy. For example, when someone says that the Brett Kavanaugh situation makes them terrified that their poor, sweet son is going to be falsely accused of rape by some shameless Jezebel, it’s clear that every word you say will bounce right off the hardened fuck-shell of dumb surrounding their brains. You gotta cut bait for your own sanity.
I do have moral courage. It may not be the moral take that he has on things, but there’s no benefit to what I’m doing here except trying to not behave in the way that is because people on Twitter and social media are attacking me. Again, if I reached out to Paul F. Tompkins and said “Why don’t you come down, let’s talk about this,” there are competing principles, and that’s difficult especially when a principle becomes important.
I’ll just go ahead and check “Debate me, bro” on my Douchebag BINGO here…
Dworman later added that it’s “beyond my purview as the owner of the Comedy Cellar — to start addressing that incident or every incident in a man’s past.”
Jesus Christ. When an incident in a man’s past involves assaulting female comedians he meets at a comedy club that is 100% in your fucking purview. That’s like inviting a goddamn tiger into a butcher shop and saying, “Oh, what? Now I’m supposed to judge him because he violently lunged at raw meat in the past? Get outta here.”
I can’t be in a position where I’m gonna start getting phone calls about people who work for me, onstage or offstage, [saying] ‘He did this to me in the past,’ ‘He did this to me in the past.’ And I’m not denying that they’re true. Just any one of these incidents that we’re talking about here, the testimony on any one of these incidents might take eight hours. That is how much detail a system of justice requires.
Cool, but you’re not sending anyone to jail. You’re making a completely legitimate decision as a business owner on whether or not to permit an environment where an assault might occur. In your case, you’re clearly going with, “I don’t give a fuck who gets jizzed on. Let’s pack some tables.”
But the people who are saying that Louie shall not work, they need to be questioned more closely as to where they draw the line. What’s their worldview? What are their standards? How much evidence do they think is enough? How long is enough? How long should somebody go without working? What should they do when they’re not working? Should they become wards of the state? Can they do some jobs but not other jobs? Is it okay for Walmart to hire Louie, or is he so radioactive that nobody shall hire him? These are the tough questions.
No, actually, they’re not, and I’ll answer them right here.
What’s their worldview? Not rewarding sexual abusers with lucrative entertainment careers and/or allowing them to return to one when they’ve decided they’re bored after less than a year.
What are their standards? Sexual assault is bad and a crime.
How much evidence do they think is enough? Five accusations in a heavily investigated New York Times article that the abuser himself literally confirmed seems pretty fucking solid.
How long should somebody go without working? When they have a net worth of $25 million, who the hell cares?
What should they do when they’re not working? See above.
Should they become wards of the state? No. But if Batman wants to take them in, he seems like the “punch rapists in the face” type, so never say I don’t offer solutions.
Is it okay for Walmart to hire Louie, or is he so radioactive that nobody shall hire him? Actually, it is totally okay for Walmart to hire Louie because I’m pretty sure they have cameras everywhere and clear-cut policies on sexual harassment that go beyond, “Hey, I’m just a comedy club owner who doesn’t think the safety of comedians is part of my job. Fuggedaboudit!”
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