Finally, a Comedy Club Owner Refuses to Book Louis C.K. Because “Right Now, It’s Just Not the Right Thing”
Comedy discourse has gotten pretty exhausting for all involved. With the Kevin Hart controversy still going through its last death rattles, all we can say for sure is that nobody learned anything, and that people most likely still believe whatever they did before. The conversation needs to be had, but with everyone so hung up on easy forgiveness, no one is really asking if people are doing the work or speaking to those who would have been offended or victimized.
Well, one comedy club owner is.
Wende Curtis, the current owner and CEO of Comedy Works, spoke to Jezebel about her decision not to book Louis C.K. in April, when his assistant reached out to her.
“I was conflicted,” she told Jezebel. “I’d love to have Louis C.K. and those numbers and that marquee name in my club. But for obvious reasons, I was conflicted. I wanted to dig back in to what had happened.” So, as a result, she decided to reach out to one of C.K.’s victims to ask them about the incident via email: “I want to know from you how that would make you feel.”
The woman sent Curtis a link to what she’d said prior in an article and added, “I’ll say no more on the subject.” Curtis hadn’t yet seen that interview, and after reading it, went, “Enough said.”
Curtis wrote back to C.K’s assistant asking if she could speak to the comedian, and a conversation was set up. Going into the weekend, she says that she was thinking about what to say to him and maybe giving him the advice that most people were: “talk to some women’s organizations and donate every cent you’ve made, and work on behalf of those people.”
However, Curtis admits, in the end, she chickened out of any larger conversation because she doubted it would have made a difference, and instead just told C.K.’s assistant, “I just can’t.”
“When you make a mistake and hurt someone,” Curtis told Jezebel, “you say you’re sorry. You do what you can to make it right. I don’t know what could make it right for those women. All of it—they didn’t bring it on themselves and what was done to their careers.”
What I appreciated in the interview was that Curtis was transparent about her reasons for not booking C.K.—her failings on not knowing a lot about the situation and that part of the reason it’s easy for her to make this choice is because, at the moment, she is doing well. Comedy Works has a second location; Pete Davidson just did a set at the club, and it will host Jenny Slate, Ali Wong, Bob Saget, Natasha Leggero, and Marc Maron, among others.
When it comes to other clubs choosing to work with him, she isn’t really making a judgment: “This would’ve been a really tough thing if it had happened in hard times, when things were really tough in 2009 and 2010 when I’d just taken on a $12 million debt.”
Regardless of why Curtis did make the decision, it does show that it’s possible to not give C.K. a platform until he has put in some public work to make amends for what he’s done. It may not be a choice everyone makes, but now no one can say they’d be alone in doing it.
(via Jezebel, image: Rich Fury/Getty Images)
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