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No One In Comedy Did The Right Thing About Louis C.K. — Myself Included

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Female Comedian Felicia Michaels: No One Did The Right Thing About Louis CK's Sexual Misconduct

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning today with tears in my eyes over a memory I hadn't thought about in 20 years of me, Louis CK, Marc Maron and my soon-to-be fiancé on a road trip in a classic rust-bucket of a car that should've been sold for parts long before and had no business being on the road, as it was a danger to all. It might've been somewhere around 1991. Hell, it could've even been '93. 

It was my first time meeting Louis, who was driving.

Marc was sitting in the passenger's seat, his usual shifty self, wearing his heart comfortably on his sleeve — glorious thing to behold even then. He'd been a last-minute addition to the ride, and I hadn't seen him since he disappeared abruptly from the Los Angeles comedy scene about a year or four before. 

And there I was along for the ride, and I was afraid.

Afraid, because we were on our way to the Punchline in Sacramento to compete in the San Francisco Comedy Competition. Afraid my "soon to be" would see my flaws as a comic due to my tendency to spoil a joke just for the pleasure of making everyone squirm, which I enjoyed learning how to do at the teat of the rat's nest itself, The Comedy Store, at the height of its glorious coked-out party central heyday.

Oh, and absolutely afraid for my actual safety as a passenger in that piece of sh*t muscle car. 

RELATED: 11 Louis CK Comedy Videos That Are Uncomfortable To Watch In Light Of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

I remember that Louis was talking loudly because all the windows were rolled down. Ideas were spilling out of him a mile a minute about some fakakta creative plan that he would one day actually will to fruition. My "soon to be" was in the back seat next to me, leaning in to listen for the perfect moment in which to interject his clearest of thoughts. Marc was poking holes in everything that could possibly go wrong with Louis' aforementioned ideas. 

I remember closing my eyes, pretending to sleep, not caring if the wind tore at my show hair. The smell of ocean breeze folded helplessly into the powerful dry hot air of the Central Valley and stung on my face. And as those three young men around me laid out their plans for making the futures of their dreams in comedy, I kept my mouth shut. It felt too damn risky to think about my own future in comedy. I could barely think about getting through the next week.

Because by that point in my career, I had already been physically attacked by a male comic because I'd had the nerve to think I could tease him as though I was one of the other fellas. 

And I had my head grabbed and shoved down over a doughy, nickel-slick show booker's d*ck after I dared to ask him for more spots in one of the very few venues I knew at the time. I remember vividly resigning myself to the fact that it was easier and safer to give in than to keep trying to fight him off.

And I'd gotten into the habit of driving home along a different route every night after a show with my eyes wide open on full alert to make sure none of my fellow joke slingers were following me. That was after I lived through the nasty experience of one them stalking me, staring at me through the windows of my ground floor West Hollywood studio apartment.

So as I said, I woke up in the wee hours of the morning today with tears in my eyes over a memory I hadn't thought about in 20 years...

I think those tears were brought on by the sadness I feel for the women younger than me who were brave enough to come forward this past week, years after having been humiliated and cornered by Louis into a situation where their dreams were kicked-out from beneath them. 

RELATED: Louis C.K. Admits The Sexual Misconduct Allegations Against Him Are True And Apologizes For Abusing His Power 

And I'm sure some of that sadness I feel is because I know that I'm partly responsible.

Because if we're being honest, all of us in our tiny comedy community — which for a lot of us is our real family, with our own love stories, heartaches, successes, enemies, and unexplainable favorites — all of us are responsible. Obviously, some of us are waaay more responsible than others. Christ, don't get me started. Obviously, some of us are waaay less responsible, so just f**king relax. 

But if you also heard the rumors about Louis over the past couple of years and didn't confront him or the system, this is on you. For sure men have paved this road on which women are forced to travel, but we are driving now too, if perhaps more slowly and cautiously. So I'm not excluding us, and I'm sure as hell not excluding myself — because no one did the right thing. No one.

Oh, wait. Two or three women other than the victims did try to say something to the public... and all of them were or are still in the midst of being harassed and disparaged for it.

If you don't believe me, take a peek at Jen Kirkman's Twitter feed.

In fact, I myself am no innocent in that I've talked some smack to my own closest friends. Who the hell am I to even question anyone else?

But I want to learn from this. I want to do better.

I don't want my inaction to mean that more young women have to sit quietly by, unable to share their own dreams of their careers in comedy while hanging out with the fellas. I want to help kick the stones out of their way. Whether you agree or disagree with the tactics involved in how these women went about raising their hands, it's time for everyone to grow a pair and start protecting our own. And that means ALL of our own, not just the shiniest and most clever among us.

Whether you are onstage, behind the scenes, serving drinks, writing checks, taking photos of, the spouse of, a serious AF fan of, or someone making money off of comedians, this is our moment as a family to pull our sh*t together, if only for the rest of the women in the world whose lives have been made so damn horrific at the hands of monsters. There are way more great guys in comedy than not.

Sexual predators not only wreak havoc on their victims, they shit collateral damage all over everyone. Everyone. No one is immune.

I recently wrote about an experience in which a comic who's been a friend of mine for many years fingered me while giving me a bear hug at a club in front of the wait staff. I waited two years to say anything. You know why? Because my longtime friend has a drinking problem and I'm scared for him. So scared that for two years I didn't breathe a word of it because I know that if I truly speak out loud about it he'll lose everything.

And I'm the victim.

Being the victim of sexual misconduct and or assault is a terrible experience, not to mention then being left in the position of having to decide whether or not to bring someone down. It isn't simple. It's not cut and dry. When it's someone you either respect, admire or care for as a person, it's gut-wrenching. It's soul crushing. Just like they planned it, as they sh*t collateral damage over everyone. Everyone.

Again, no one is immune.

The chips are going to fall how they're going to fall for Louis. Let's all put down the stones we are so easily willing to throw at each other, get the stupid masturbation jokes out of our system (I'm not mad about it, it's fair game), and actually do something to lift up our sisters in comedy.

Here's an idea. Let's have a conversation and let's take some action. Because if we do this, we become who the masses actually want us to be. A mother-f**king ray of light.  

RELATED: Iliza Shlesinger Was Right (AND Wrong) About Female Comics — As Written By One 

Felicia Michaels is comedian, writer, and filmmaker whose comedy has appeared on such networks as MTV, A&E, COMEDY CENTRAL, VH1, SHOWTIME, NBC, ABC, and FOX. She was nominated twice as Funniest Female by the American Comedy Awards before clinching it. Currently, Michaels keeps herself busy touring and putting the finishing touches on a new directorial project — all while raising two young boys as a single mother.