Arts & Entertainment | November 1, 2021 5:44 pm

Why the Me Too Movement Is Yet to Make an Impact in the World of Standup

A new article highlights the way misogyny still runs rampant in the industry

Louis C.K. attends 10th Annual Stand Up For Heroes - Show at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 1, 2016 in New York City.
Louis C.K. admitted to masturbating in front of several female comedians without their consent, and yet he's still touring and performing.

It’s been several years since the Me Too movement encouraged women everywhere to speak up about the abuse and harassment they’ve suffered at the hands of predatory men. And yet, as a new piece in The Hollywood Reporter points out, the world of standup comedy remains largely unaffected; misogyny continues to run rampant in the industry, men who have been accused of harassing or abusing women continue to perform and tour free of consequences, and the women who accuse them are often blacklisted.

Part of the reason for that, the article suggests, is because in the comedy world in particular, the issue has gotten tangled up with ideas about free speech and “cancel culture,” with some men dismissing legitimate allegations as simply an attempt to “cancel” or “silence” them.

“If you’re a woman who’s been harassed in comedy — even if you just talk about what happened —people perceive you as being some ‘cancel culture’ advocate,” performer Kate Willett told The Hollywood Reporter. As she points out, if a female comic makes the decision to remove herself from a bill that includes a suspected predator, that ultimately harms her own career: “The choice is deciding to remove ourselves from opportunities.”

All of the female comedians interviewed by the publication agreed that most male comics have a defensiveness to them now that makes the environment in their industry even more toxic than it was before.

“The counter-reaction was quick,” Jeena Bloom said. “As soon as people said Louis C.K. shouldn’t be a big comedian anymore, the victim-blaming sprung up immediately.”

“These men are now an ‘other,’ ” Jenny Saldaña added. “Suddenly they get what we get: ‘You’re too this, you’re too that.’ The pass that they’ve been given for so long, it’s been revoked. They’re threatened and they attack.”

You can read The Hollywood Reporter‘s full article examining the issue here.