In further evidence that the power of “cancel culture” is wildly overhyped, alleged rapist Bryan Callen is still touring comedy clubs weeks after four women accused him of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault. The former Goldbergs’ star and Chris D’Elia cohort, who promised fans he would not “lay low,” is currently listed to appear at several clubs in the coming weeks. Fellow stand-up Jen Kirkman is understandably outraged.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel writer Kirkman took to Twitter to call on male comedians to be the allies they claim they are and call out clubs who are booking the alleged rapist.
Dear Male Comedians. I am out of fucks. You’ve let us all down again. Remember 3 months ago when you all wanted to help change the culture? We still see you. You’re either afraid or don’t care. Those are your two options. pic.twitter.com/3n4bIdTwd1— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) September 21, 2020
Back in June, Kirkman offered a lengthy thread with action items that stand-ups could take to help make their shared work environment safer for their female colleagues. She retweeted it yesterday:
Original thread here: https://t.co/VUW32yUP3m— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) September 21, 2020
One male ally who is doing the work is Gabriel Tigerman, husband of Katherine Fiore Tigerman, who accused Bryan Callen of raping her in 1999.
Hey @HeliumComedy @BricktownComedy @ImprovKCMO, @ImprovDallas @AddisonImprov. By booking @bryancallen you are sending the very clear message that you support sexual abusers and don't believe victims despite the highly-vetted/thoroughly researched article in the @latimes. Noted. pic.twitter.com/HkvZf1zET2— Gabriel Tigerman (@GabrielTigerman) September 14, 2020
Looking over the websites for the clubs listed above reveals some interesting details. The Helium Comedy Club chain not only has Callen performing, but is also promoting an appearance from Shane Gillis, who you might remember got booted from Saturday Night Live’s cast for racist remarks. Kansas City Improv has Callen’s show promoted on its main page. Addison Improv has him listed on their calendar for end of October.
Meanwhile Bricktown Comedy Club seems to have scrubbed Callen’s name from their website. A Google search of their name and Bryan Callen turns up this:
However, if you click the link it takes you to their main page, where Callen is not listed. On the date shown in Google preview, no Callen show is listed. Still, it is unclear if it’s been canceled or if Bricktown is laying low until the Twitter storm blows over.
Kirkman and Tigerman shared their profound disappointment in the men of the comedy world who could use their power to make a positive change for their female peers.
100%. Since the day the article came out, my wife and I have been talking about the silence of the male comics (the good ones). It is disgusting. It is disappointing. And it is deafening.— Gabriel Tigerman (@GabrielTigerman) September 21, 2020
Really picking and choosing their battles.— Gabriel Tigerman (@GabrielTigerman) September 21, 2020
Kirkman explained it’s up to comedians and comedy club patrons to speak up when clubs book alleged abusers.
I feel so alone in asking guys to give a shit, and in calling stuff out, which makes me feel insane. Maybe none of it matters and I'm overreacting. Maybe it's fine that calendars are filled with the same 10 guys or that even nice alt comics are complacent. Maybe it doesn't matter— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) September 21, 2020
It's not about canceling comedians or ruining clubs lives. It's about making people who book rapists have to put up with some uncomfortable feedback of their business decisions. That's it. IT IS SO MUCH SIMPLER AND WAY MORE FUN (it's punk rock!!!) THAN YOU ARE MAKING IT!— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) September 21, 2020
Some comedians have responded, supporting Kirkman and Tigerman’s cause by adding their own voices.
I second this, @HeliumComedy, @BricktownComedy, @ImprovKCMO, @ImprovDallas, and @AddisonImprov. Don't give @bryancallen a gig. He's rapey and hacky, and not nearly as funny as a lot of the hilarious woman comedians you could book. https://t.co/bYhMC8DiRx— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) September 22, 2020
Well this feels succinct. I'm not taking a HUGE stand here but Improv, Helium & TacomaSpokaneParentsClub… it's gross & you know it. Do as you wish but know there's SO many non rapist straight white guys you COULD be going w. Who ALSO look kinda like a more serious jeremy Piven. https://t.co/RsYDiYi3v8— Jackie Telcontar (@jackiekashian) September 21, 2020
Hey @HeliumComedy @BricktownComedy @ImprovKCMO @ImprovDallas @AddisonImprov I second this. I know it’s a tough time economically but I do believe it’s possible to find headliners who are not sexual abusers and who will sell tickets. I can think of a bunch!https://t.co/uWJJaun5Iu https://t.co/I6MVmOfLd4— Mae Martin (@TheMaeMartin) September 21, 2020
I went to see a show at The Comedy Store last year and when my date saw that Bryan Callen was on the bill he became visibly upset and said he couldn’t stay because Bryan had raped his girlfriend 20 years ago. He is quoted in the LA Times article. https://t.co/MdsZ5k1pLL— Grey DeLisle-Griffin (@GreyDeLisle) September 21, 2020
Meanwhile, comedy fans used Twitter to reach out to these clubs, and some are calling on big names in the industry to lend their support.
Hey @pattonoswalt @davidcrosss @mulaney @JimGaffigan I love and respect you guys and I am a huge fan of your work. Please use whatever power and influence you have to pressure these clubs to not hire accused rapists. Please. Be an ally to your sisters in comedy. https://t.co/tFittEtjgk— Hobo Gentleman (@HoboWriter) September 22, 2020
Callen has not posted any response to this on Twitter or Instagram. He—it seems—is laying low.
Update: Bricktown Comedy has confirmed they have cancelled Callen’s booking.
These shows have been cancelled.— Bricktown Comedy Club (@BricktownComedy) September 22, 2020
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