“It’s Not Like He’s a Rapist”
A night with a bunch o’ comedy bros, talking about Louis C.K.
Editor’s note: This story contains a description of physical and sexual assault that may be disturbing to some readers.
Being a comedian is fun. You get to laugh. You get to spend time making jokes.
You get to meet funny women and men who aren’t afraid to say what they think. Who make you think about things in a way you haven’t before.
But you also get to spend a lot of time with the bros. You know the ones, those who love talking about cancel culture and insist that punching down is funny, even when nobody else is laughing. The ones who complain about entertainment being too inclusive these days. Yawn.
The other day, right after the Grammys where Louis C.K. won for his latest special, I was sitting down talking with a group of five fellow standups (all male), and the topic of this disgraced comedian came up.
Admittedly, I may have rolled my eyes a little bit, as I often do when the only English-speaking comedians that people around me know are Chappelle, Gervais and C.K. I just didn’t expect the reaction from the men in the room, in defense of one of them.
“Come on, what did he do? Masturbate in front of someone? It’s not like he’s a rapist.”
Loud opinions began flying around the room. I was uncomfortable with the situation and couldn’t get my voice heard for a while over the shouting. Fortunately, the dudes realized it was a little unfair, me being the only woman against five men, and we changed the topic.
Here’s what I would have wanted to say.
Things That Aren’t Rape
Louis C.K. didn’t rape anyone. What he did do was harass several women, which he has admitted to. He was a known creep, to an extent where female comedians were advised against being alone with him at clubs.
Some of these women felt so uncomfortable about their experiences with C.K. and the reigning misogyny in comedy that they gave up on their careers.
It wasn't rape. It was a power play, designed in this sick man’s brain to put women in their place.