Some folks in the comedy community maintain that the market should decide when it comes to Louis C.K. Let the laughter of the crowd be the arbiter of whether or not he’s paid a sufficient “price” for masturbating in front of women without their permission — something he has fully admitted to. But Pittsburgh-based comic John Dick Winters’s position on the C.K. matter is a little different. “I don’t want to work with anyone that will work with Louis CK or anyone like Louis CK,” he wrote for the Pittsburgh Current, and that’s why he backed out of a gig where C.K. was also slated to perform. Winters explained how long he’s worked in his comedy career to land club sets, but said it ultimately means more to him to maintain his absolutely no-creeps policy.
One thing I take incredibly seriously as someone who books upwards of 200 shows a year at my own venue and comedy festival, is not working with people who are fucking creeps. And there are a lot of them out there, lemme tell ya, at all levels of comedy. It’s one thing to have these progressive, liberal beliefs but they mean literally zero if you won’t act on them when needed. As a straight white guy who has some power in my field, I take my role as an ally seriously. I want my shows to be a comfortable place for women, PoC, LGBTQ, and anyone else to perform. In the past, I’ve shut down shows, banned comedians and stood my ground as far as drawing a line in the sand concerning who I will and will not work with.
Winters posted the Current article to his Facebook page, and Tig Notaro appreciated his decision so much that she dropped into the comments and offered him a spot opening up for her at a coming show in Harrisburg. Winters accepted, so if you’re a comedy fan in the area make sure to catch a quality Notaro show while supporting a local comic who was willing to publicly say this:
It’s a common complaint I hear on the independent comedy community, especially from women, about these folks who produce and book shows that let fucking creeps perform. These producers talk a big progressive game, saying all the right things and knowing all the buzz words, and then let scumbags do their show because they don’t want to create any waves. I talked to other comedians about my situation and every one of them told me that i shouldn’t let Louie being at the Improv disrupt something I’ve worked hard for years to get.
Well, fuck that. I’m definitely not a perfect person, I have my own demands and have been called out, rightfully so for my own mistakes. But I won’t let that hinder me from doing whatever I can to stop this bullshit whenever possible.