Back in April, Tig Notaro revealed that she and Louis C.K. hadn’t spoken in a year and a half when she decided to speak up about Saturday Night Live allegedly ripping off her 2015 short film Clown Service in a sketch starring C.K. called “Birthday Clown.” In case you needed any more confirmation that Notaro and C.K.’s relationship has soured despite their professional past together (C.K. released Notaro’s Live album on his website and is credited as a producer on her Amazon series One Mississippi), The Daily Beast has a new interview out with Notaro today where she candidly opens up not just about distancing herself from C.K. but also comments on the longstanding rumor of his sexual misconduct with multiple female comedians.
First up, Notaro wants to make it clear that despite his producer credit, C.K. has “nothing to do with” her show One Mississippi:
“It’s frustrating, because he has nothing to do with the show,” Notaro adds. And that frustration is apparent in her voice. “But I don’t waste my time on him or what anyone thinks. His name is on it. But we are writing the show, the writers’ room. We’re sitting in editing. We’re acting. We’re on set. We’re doing press. And everyone that’s directly involved in the show works very hard. They are decent, talented human beings. And I feel lucky to be surrounded by them.” “But yeah, he has nothing to do with the show,” Notaro repeats for the third time, without using C.K.’s name.
As The Daily Beast notes, part of the reason why Notaro is making this distinction is probably because the upcoming season of One Mississippi tackles sexual assault in an episode where “a character forced to sit and watch as a man in power surreptitiously masturbates in front of her in the workplace” – a logline that sounds more or less identical to the 2012 Gawker article many believe is about C.K. called “Which Beloved Comedian Likes to Force Female Comics to Watch Him Jerk Off?” And when The Daily Beast told Notaro that C.K. has mostly ignored or dismissed the allegations, here’s how she responded:
“I think it’s important to take care of that, to handle that, because it’s serious to be assaulted,” Notaro says in response. “It’s serious to be harassed. It’s serious, it’s serious, it’s serious.” “And that’s what we want to do with this show,” she continues. “We of course want to create comedy, but we also really, really feel like we have the opportunity to do something with One Mississippi, because it does not stop. And, you know, I walk around doing shows at comedy clubs and you just hear from people left and right of what some big-shot comedian or person has done. People just excuse it.”
Later in the interview, Notaro uses Bill Cosby as an example of her experiences with rumors-turned-truths of sexual assault and misconduct within the comedy world:
“I saw him live in concert and I loved him as a comedian. And it was confusing,” she continues. “You hear things and you go, oh, is that a rumor? What’s happening? And then everything is swirling around the comedy world, where people go, oh no, that’s really happened. And then you learn and you talk to more people and it’s like, oh, he’s not the only one. And there’s this person. And it’s just, it’s horrifying.”
Read the full interview here.
UPDATE: Time posted a new interview with Notaro today, where she was asked to expand on the comments she made about C.K. in the Daily Beast interview. Prior to telling Time that she experienced sexual harassment six years ago with someone she worked with (“It was uncomfortable”), Notaro said the sexual misconduct scene in the upcoming season of One Mississippi is based on real-life experience of her writers:
Everything we shared on the show was based on somebody’s truth or someone we have spoken to. Our writer’s room is 100% women and we really wanted to walk people through how horrific this is. You don’t have to be touched or even spoken to be assaulted by somebody. That’s what this scene shows, and it can come from anybody.
And here’s what Notaro said when asked what she meant by telling The Daily Beast C.K. needs to “handle” the rumors:
Well I think that if somebody is assaulting people, I feel that they need to get professional help. I think they also need to certainly acknowledge this to their victims. I think that’s a good place to start. If you’re struggling with any sort of problem as serious as assault, it’s helpful to talk to somebody and turn things around because the behavior needs to stop, and it seems like when things are unchecked, it doesn’t stop.