The former "Inside Amy Schumer" writer has some thinking and apologizing to do ...
You may have heard the story that's been going around involving Kurt Metzger, a writer for Inside Amy Schumer, and the now-deleted Facebook post in which he went off on women in comedy who came forward with sexual assault accusations against "a male comic who [has been subsequently] banned from the [Upright Citizens Brigade] events."
I was personally harassed quite a bit when I was younger and first started on the comedy scene.
This was in the era of Sam Kinison, so please feel free to let your imagination roll that nugget of truth around. But, that was sooo long ago, I almost forgot how belittling and soul destroying it can be.
Then last year, between performances at a club, a comic gave me a forceful bear hug ... and fingered me before I could manage to break his hold.
It completely surprised me, as I am no longer a spring chicken and consider myself a bit of a tough cookie. It happened in front of some of the staff, and it involved someone who was very very drunk.
It was not okay. It was humiliating. No one said anything, and I awkwardly laughed it off in front of everyone.
Even as a grown-ass woman, I felt confused about how to handle it correctly, so I just let it drop.
Women in the scene have always told each other who to avoid.
I'm pitching my new show! UCB SVU! Dedicated to the men and women of improv who in-house investigate rape'
— Kurt Metzger (@kurtmetzger) August 16, 2016
Many, many years ago, I was on a comedy set, and a female make-up artist whispered into my ear to be wary of Bill Cosby should I ever find myself around him.
THAT is how we had each other's back.
If someone is raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, I can't even imagine the strength one has to muster-up to come forward to authorities. Yet I do feel uncomfortable when tales of rape come out in the media, with the actual names of the accused written in a forum where the accusation will easily be seen by outsiders and possibly destroy someone's life without their being able to defend themselves. Even though where there's smoke, there tends to be fire — every rare once in a while, it's just smoke.
It's no surprise to women that we have to endure sexually inappropriate behavior from, and act like the bigger person than, the men around us. And it really just sucks.
That said, over the many years I've been in comedy, the percentage of predators that do prey on our sisters is far outweighed by the much larger number of genuinely great guys in our industry.
What would I like to see done to address the issue?
I'd like the men who also feel uncomfortable seeing names of the accused written in public forums to embrace a little empathy. I'd like them to try to truly understand that this is our normal, and use a bigger portion of their clever brains when it comes to throwing out angry barbs about due process and our supposed lynch-mob mentality. We want to hear your thoughts. We invite it.
But stop throwing dick punches and try harder to listen.
I would also like to see a far greater share of women represented in the bigger showcase clubs.
Women currently make up only 5 to 15% of the lineup, which is utter bullsh*t.
If fucking alt right punk trolls can't do shit what the fuck are u gonna do, hysterical mob of unthinking leftists? — Kurt Metzger (@kurtmetzger) August 16, 2016
I'd like to see this happen not only because it's about f*cking time, but so when women — especially the youngest and arguably the most vulnerable of us — are out there plying their comedic trade, they can more easily navigate the confusing situation of learning to be balls-out with their words, without it being taken as an indication their bodies are "in play" for anybody and everybody.
Perhaps then female comics will feel a tad bit safer knowing it's not just their own eyes keeping watch for themselves during a late night, 1:00 a.m. spot, when lurkers and dark corners abound.
Christ, I know it's a complete pipe dream. But pipe-dreams are what keeps most of us in comedy for the long haul, so it's worth a shot.