We love Hannah Gadsby. She’s currently doing a new show, Douglas, and is back in the center of the comedy conversation. In a recent profile, she addressed another comedian who makes the news cycle: Louis C.K.
Gadsby, in an interview with the LA Times, said of C.K.: “He is a joke now. And I think it’s important to keep making that joke. This is dangerous to talk about, but I’ll give it a go. What the issue is, for a long time Louis C.K.’s comedy platform was that he was this hopeless guy bumbling through the world. And at some stage, he was no longer that, but that was still his voice. And I think he still believes that. He has not reassessed his position of power, and that is why he was able to abuse it. It’s difficult to see a shift in your own power and privilege. It’s not something we’re trained to do. He still honestly thinks he’s the victim in all of this.”
She later said that: “He’s saying the same kinds of things. The material hasn’t changed. He’s just angry and bitter. I always struggled with his work because I’m a visual thinker. And there’s just so much semen. So I literally couldn’t see the humor in this waterfall of body fluids. That’s my issue. I never blamed him for that. But then I think, “Gosh. That’s on his mind a lot too.” The guy clearly had an issue. And that’s sad for him. So why are we trusting a man who has a compulsion like that where it diminishes the humanity of people around him? Why do we care what he thinks about the human condition? He needs to worry about his own condition a bit. Just sit quietly.”
Wow. If I couldn’t love her any more than I already do.
I’ve been outspoken in my dislike of C.K., ever since he admitted to masturbating in front of female comedians. He said he would apologize and learn, and yet he never did. Instead, he came back angrier than ever, lashing out at everyone and everything, including mocking the Parkland teens. He still has surprise shows sometimes, though now he gets hecklers and some club owners are refusing to book him.
Gadsby is right to call him out. C.K. does continue to play the victim, thinking the overly PC-world of today is the reason he’s been shunned and his projects canceled. But it’s not. He hasn’t stopped to think about his position of power and the way he used it to hurt women and make comedy an unsafe space for them. She’s right to speak out about C.K.’s behavior, because he hasn’t suffered many real consequences for his actions. He deserves the calling out.
Gadsby concluded later by saying “I could never advocate censorship. Censorship is useless because it leaves a gap where we learned a lesson. Let’s say Picasso. I’m not a fan. But I am a fan. I’m not a fan of the gap that was left in his story, that he was a toxic, hostile individual and that his behavior was enabled by the community around him. But if you were to wipe him from our collective memory, we not only lose what he did well, we lose what he did badly. And we can learn from both.”
Gadsby’s wisdom here makes sense. By striking all mentions of C.K. from existence, we might forget how he was able to get in the position and the ways he made the space unsafe for others. We need to study the good and the bad, rather than just censor things and remove them from the record. I still personally think C.K. shouldn’t play shows, but we can’t just ignore what he’s done, both the good and the bad.
Anyway, this is a long-winded way of saying that Gadsby is incredible and I hope that her upcoming show is filmed at some point so that we can be blessed by her more than we already were with Nanette. Gadsby represents the future of comedy moreso than C.K. ever did, and I’m glad for that.
(via the LA Times, image: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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