Louis C.K. is in the news again—though he hasn’t actually done anything this week. Comedian John Dick Winters made waves in the Pittsburgh comedy scene for canceling a gig at a venue that booked C.K. And Tig Notaro is giving him a big thumbs up.
Winters canceled with the Pittsburgh Improv when the club announced it had booked the former comedy wunderkind on what could be called an unofficial comeback tour on a different night. While Winters might have given up his Improv spot, he may have gotten a bigger break out of all of this.
Comedians take a stand against Louis CK, abusers
Winters, who is the founder of the Burning Bridges Comedy Festival, published an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Current saying “I’ve worked really hard at both the comedy and the business side of stand-up. And I’ve become, albeit a small one, a gatekeeper of our little Pittsburgh comedy scene. And I don’t want to work with anyone that will work with Louis C.K. or anyone like Louis C.K.”
Notaro took notice. He posted the Current article to Facebook and the One Mississipi creator commented on the article, “I like your style, sir.” After a brief exchange, she invited him to open for her in Harrisburg, PA.
Comedians are starting to take a stance on who they work with. Phoebe Robinson similarly walked off a show this week when she found out New York Comedy Club had booked an alleged abuser. Comedy Central announced that C.K.’s former manager Dave Becky will not be listed as an executive producer on the final season of Broad City.
Winters told Laughspin about the new gig, “Well, I’m not 100% convinced I’m not being brilliantly catfished.” He continued, “But if it is legit, and it seems like it is. I’m stunned. It’s an incredible gesture that I honestly don’t think I deserve but I do intend on taking advantage of.” Notaro has been vocal on her dismay over C.K.’s comeback.
John Dick Winters questions capitalism’s hold on comedy’s soul
Winters felt it needed to be done despite how difficult it is to cancel paid comedy work. “I think it’s important as a human,” he says. “Not sure what effect it will have cause there will always be another comic with some hot takes about chemtrails or whatever to take the open spot. I think personal integrity is important in all situations, despite the general public not seeming to see it that way all the time.”
Whether or not to book admitted abusers is a hot button topic in the comedy world. Few comedy clubs have declared that they will not let the disgraced star take their stages. Most are happy about the business. Winters commented, “I’m not sure if the capitalist hellscape we exist in will allow comedy clubs to make moral decisions. Their job is to get people in the seats and then sell them overpriced chicken fingers. ‘Let the market decide’ is exactly the motto that allows folks like C.K. to get away with very few if any consequences…As a consumer of comedy, I encourage folks to find independent shows, venues, and clubs; just like restaurants, avoid the chains (except Red Lobster cause those cheddar biscuits are amazing).”