Sarah Silverman caused controversy last week when she implied that comedy club owner Al Martin paid her less for a stand-up set because she was a female comic. She put out a public apology to Martin on Tuesday, acknowledging that her story was “HARDLY an example of the wage gap.” She went on to say she regrets that she “mentioned Al by name—it should have been a nameless, faceless anecdote and he has always been lovely to me.”
In a video for Levo League’s #Ask4More campaign—which confronts the horrific gender pay gap in America— Silverman recalled going to the New York Comedy Club with friend Todd Barry 15 years ago. They both did equal 15-minute sets, but when Barry was paid $60, Martin handed the We Are Miracles comedian just $10. Al Martin, who no longer owns New York Comedy Club, called out the former Sarah Silverman Program star in a video response. “The truth was that you were not booked on that show in question on that evening.” Silverman was a guest spot, he clarified, and went on to say that it was at the time a “talent gap,” not a “gender gap.”
In the past week, some sets of Internet trolls have used the discrepancy to claim that the gender wage gap in this country is nonexistent and have used this as a way to attack the movement for gender equality, a movement both Silverman and Martin heavily endorse. Silverman pleaded that people not use her slight “as a chit against women’s issues…because that would be super shitty. Feel free to aim your vitriol at me but leave this issue of working women out of it, K?”
As for the decade-plus feud between Sarah Silverman and the club owner? Al Martin, who owns Broadway Comedy Club and Greenwich Village Comedy Club in New York City, posted a Facebook status saying, “It takes a big person to apologize and today Sarah proved she is that kind of person. I fully accept her apology.” He continued the comedian’s sentiment saying, “Let’s not detract from a good cause…Let’s move forward.” Of course, Silverman is still welcome at his clubs for a drop-in. “Let’s just make [clear up] whether it’s a paid or guest spot in advance!”
Read Sarah Silverman’s full statement below:
Oh goodness. All I can say is I remember that story exactly how I said it. I know that Todd called the club earlier in the day to let them know I was in town if they wanted me to do a set. They put me up for a 15 min spot just after Todd’s 15 min spot. I didn’t expect to get paid, that’s not why I was there, but when I got off stage Al, the sweet club owner, paid me 10 bucks and I signed the payment sheet. I was like, oh, nice. I inferred from that that this was a paid spot not a guest spot. Either way I would have been fine. Then when Todd pointed out that he received 60 dollars for the same spot I went back inside and asked Al why Todd got sixty dollars and I got ten. That’s when he certainly could have said “Because it was a guest spot, Sarah. I was just being super nice and gave you ten dollars for cab money.” But instead, (and I will always remember this exactly how he said it because it was unbelievably hilarious) he said, “Oh- did you want a $60 spot?”
My regret is that I mentioned Al by name- it should have been a nameless, faceless anecdote and he has always been lovely to me.
This is also HARDLY an example of the wage gap and can only do that very true reality a terrible disservice if I were trying to make it one. When I was interviewed by Levo, they asked me “Do you remember a time you were paid less for the same job” and this story, being just that, popped into my head. To Al, I truly am sorry to bring you into this as you employ women and pay them the same as the men I’m sure. To the maniacs who want to use this as a chit against women’s issues, I ask that you please don’t. Because that would be super shitty. Feel free to aim your vitriol at me but leave this issue of working women out of it, K?