Who is Jen Kirkman?
Jen Kirkman has been in the news lately for things other than her work. The comedian appeared to out Louis CK as the mysterious “known perv” who’d been bothering women in comedy for years. Kirkman described the person in question in an episode of her podcast that has since disappeared from her Soundcloud page, though we still have a transcript of what she said:
And then I had another guy who is a very famous comic. He is probably at Cosby-level at this point. He is lauded as a genius. He is basically a French filmmaker at this point. You know, new material every year. He’s a known perv. And there’s a lockdown on talking about him. His guy friends are standing by him, and you cannot say a bad thing about him. And I’ve been told by people “Well then say it then. Say it if it’s true.” If I say it, my career is over. My manager and my agent have told me that. They didn’t threaten it. They just said to me “You know what Jen, it’s not worth it because you’ll be torn apart. Look at the Cosby women.” And this guy didn’t rape me, but he made a certain difficult decision to go on tour with him really hard. Because I knew if I did, I’d be getting more of the same weird treatment I’d been getting from him. And it was really f*cked up, and this person was married. So it was not good, and so I hold a lot of resentment.
Kirkman’s thinly-veiled description of someone who sounds a lot like Louis CK came to light just weeks after rumors that CK was a serial unwanted masturbator started to reach a wider audience. To date, no one has come forward with the specific name of any comedian, nor has anyone other than Jen Kirkman been willing to identify herself as the victim of any untoward acts.
Kirkman is a Massachusetts native who started performing stand-up comedy in 1997. She has released three specials: 2006’s Self Help; 2011’s Hail to the Freaks; and I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine), which Netflix made available this year. In addition, she was a writer on Chelsea Lately for five years, and has been a regular contributor to Comedy Central’s Drunk History. Her 2013 book I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids was a New York Times best-seller, and
Kirkman’s stand-up is characterized as intensely personal, specific, and extremely self-aware. Entertainment Weekly, in fact, went so far as to compare her to CK, saying “If you like Louis CK, check out Jen Kirkman’s hyper self-analytical humor.” She speaks openly about the anxiety and panic disorders that have been with her her whole life, as well as the effect of her stand-up (and her husband’s unwitting participation in it) on her marriage, which “dissolved” in 2011.
Jen Kirkman is on tour through June, and dates for the rest of summer are filling in fast. You can get the full list on her Facebook page; her shows for this month are as follows:
June 11-13: Denver CO (Comedy Works Downtown)
June 18: San Diego, CA (The Irenic)
June 19: Tucson, AZ (Club Congress)
June 20: Phoenix, AZ (Film Bar–Two shows)
June 23: Sacramento, CA (Harlow’s Restaurant and Nightclub)
June 25: Seattle, WA (The Vera Project)
June 26: Vancouver, BC, Canada (Biltmore Cabater)
June 27: Portland, OR (Hollywood Theatre)
June 28: Eugene, OR (Cozmic)
(Photo credits: Who is Jen Kirkman via Facebook)