Comedian Jen Kirkman has clarified comments she recently made regarding an unnamed fellow comic, which many took to imply impropriety on Louis CK’s part. The since-deleted April 20th episode of Kirkman’s podcast was devoted to the topic of females in comedy, and contained the following description:
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 badthing 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.
That podcast was released roughly one month before Gawker published a story on an unnamed victim of an unnamed comic’s unwanted sexual advances. That story, combined with the discovery of Kirkman’s earlier podcast and the flare-up over Louis CK’s monologue on the season finale of SNL, made for a speculation-laden couple of weeks.
Kirkman addressed that speculation in the latest episode of her “I Seem Fun” podcast, which hits on, among other topics, Caitlyn Jenner and her many haters; what it’s like for a feminist to go on the Howard Stern show; what it’s like to prepare to go on Conan O’ Brien’s show; and how much Kirkman’s mother loves Marc Maron’s television program.
Kirkman begins to address the speculation at around the 14:20 mark:
Her somewhat-truncated remarks are as follows:
I did delete an episode of this podcast because I had done a one-hour segment about what it’s like to be a woman in comedy. My point was that nobody has ever taken their genitals out in front of me, or hurt me physically, but that, in this business, you have friends, mentors, co-workers, who can sometimes be creepy in a way that isn’t funny. Suddenly you don’t feel part of a joke, you feel…like…you are being…inappropriately hit on by someone who is married….All of the people that I spoke about anonymously on that podcast are still friends of mine, and I’m fine with them and they’re fine with me. And they all know the stuff they did that bothered me. It’s nuanced, that way. I’m not going to their house for Christmas. I’m not still not of the opinion that they might be a little weird. But what I was never was sexually abused.
Kirkman goes on to discuss her broader point, which is that men in comedy don’t have to deal with unwanted advances and sexual misconduct the way that women do, and that actions like those make things like careers more difficult for women to navigate.
Kirkman is on tour this summer.
(Photo credits: Louis CK; Jen Kirkman)