Whereas Bill Cosby is a known monster, fellow male comedian Louis C.K. has more or less been a subject of the "Is he a trash man?" speculation for years. There was a story a few years ago about a certain male comedian cornering a female comedian duo in a hotel room and making them watch him jerk off. Though no one was named, the rumor is that Louis C.K. was the male comedian and Garfunkel and Oates the duo.
But then a few months ago the "Is Louis C.K. a pervert?" question came up again when comedian Jen Kirkman recorded a podcast on her show I Seem Fun about an unnamed pervy male comic. On an episode from April 20 (which was then swiftly deleted), Kirkman talked about a "Cosby level" comedian who made creepy advances towards her. She couldn't say much more than that, explaining that outing him would be a career-killer.
And then I had another guy who is a very famous comic. He is probably at Cosby level at this point. He is lauded as a genius. He is basically a French filmmaker at this point. You know, new material every year. He’s a known perv. And there’s a lockdown on talking about him. His guy friends are standing by him, and you cannot say a bad thing about him. And I’ve been told by people “Well then say it then. Say it if it’s true.” If I say it, my career is over. My manager and my agent have told me that. They didn’t threaten it. They just said to me “You know what Jen, it’s not worth it because you’ll be torn apart. Look at the Cosby women.” And this guy didn’t rape me, but he made a certain difficult decision to go on tour with him really hard. Because I knew if I did, I’d be getting more of the same weird treatment I’d been getting from him. And it was really fucked up, and this person was married. So it was not good, and so I hold a lot of resentment.
The assumption was that this comic in question was Louis C.K., who fits the description better than anyone else. After months of non-elaboration on the topic, Kirkman appeared on Chris Hardwick's podcast The Nerdist on Friday to (sort of) clarify those comments. "It's kind of obvious who I was talking about," she says—which means it was (duh) Louis. She says that he didn't physically violate her but that his words made her feel awfully uncomfortable. She also says she was more annoyed at the situation than scared for her safety; she knew he wouldn't rape her, but she did not want to go on tour with him. Apparently he later acknowledged his creepiness. (Was there remorse though? Will he stop being so goddamn creepy?) Here's an excerpt below:
That person, on their own, was like, ‘Yeah, I was kind of a creep.’ I was like, ‘You are a creep. That’s who you are! And God bless you. That was something that was staying in me for a while, and I was having resentment about other things. So I talked about you on my podcast, because I was just in a resentful mood, and I was just like, bleh, sometimes people are creepy’ So we talked, and that was it. I’m fine, because I was never violated. Never! It didn’t cost me any career stuff, I was never violated, I was just bummed. It’s one less person that I trust. That’s it!
So while Louis C.K. is not "Cosby level" in terms of harassment, I think it's fair to say he is a traaaaash man. Ugh. It's terrifying being a woman in ANY industry, and comedy continues to be a gross, male-aggressive zone.
Listen to Kirkman on The Nerdist here (the clarification comes around the 54-minute mark).