The world of stand-up sure seems to be conflicted about how to treat men who have either admitted to or been arrested and charged with doing terrible things to women. In the case of T.J. Miller, a Denver comedian/open-mic host wrote an essay earlier this month about his decision to ask Miller to leave rather than allow him to perform a surprise drop-in set, while Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman has taken a decidedly different approach by not only allowing Louis C.K. to perform a surprise set but instituting a so-called “swim at your own risk” policy for audience members. Another option for comedians — and possibly the best option of all — is on display in this clip New York–based comedian Ted Alexandro shared on Twitter today from a set he performed at the Cellar earlier this month.
Can you be a man in comedy and cover #MeToo stories like Cosby and C.K. in a way that’s thoughtful, incisive, and most importantly, hilarious? If you’re Alexandro, absolutely. Knowing that he was performing at the same venue that gave an admitted sexual predator stage time last month, Alexandro started off his set with “Do I have to take my dick out? What do I have to do for you to cheer my arrival at the stage? Ask yourselves that. You know where you are, don’t you?”
Later: “What’s with this PC culture? It’s suffocating, right? Do you want to live in a world where a man can’t politely ask a colleague if he can take off all his clothes and masturbate to completion? Is that where we are as a culture?”
And later: “Look, there are mechanisms in place for justice. Eventually justice is served. Women complain that they’re second-class citizens. But look, Bill Cosby raped dozens of women, decades went by, the allegations were widely known and reported, comedian Hannibal Buress told some jokes about it, it went viral, and eventually justice was served. The system works!”
And one more for good measure: “Why can’t we just let Louie go back to writing jokes about how men are the greatest threat to the safety of women? But he doesn’t just write jokes — he walks the walk! And I think that is to be commended. He’s a performance artist.”