Thursday, August 24, 2017

tig notaro on louis ck

Tig Notaro’s putting some heat on Louis CK for all those sexual misconduct rumors. Damn, good on her. I can’t really comment on Notaro's comedy as comedy--haven’t watched her standup or her show--but I saw the better part of that movie about her cancer stuff a while back and I was pretty impressed by her as a person. I talked about this idea of “transgressive” comedy some last year when Patton Oswalt (who I’m not so crazy about) was doing material on grief…I find that very compelling and admirable and, like, risky as art, if not particularly funny. Sometimes I’m not sure what comedy should do. I mean, obviously it should do whatever the fuck it wants, but I wonder if there’s room in my own way of seeing things to call something comedy if it isn’t really funny ha-ha. Check out this headline from US Weekly yesterday.

A few years back I wrote a thing for Noah about why Louis CK will never get Cosby’d. Reread it today and feel it really holds up. Those two situations are different in any number of ways, and Tig Notaro’s comments are substantively, tonally, and contextually different than Hannibal Burress was on Cosby. But the most important area of overlap (or lack thereof) I see is that Cosby, when he finally fell, no longer had much cultural currency. He was working and making money, yeah, but by that point to most people he was more of a memory than a working actor or comic. It’s about relevance more than output. Like, Woody Allen still has relevance as a working artist, and that reckoning isn’t going to come until he finally eats it or gets too old to do real work. By the time someone’s dead or irrelevant it’s just safer to contemplate whatever dissonance there is to deal with because there are no longer any real stakes. It becomes an intellectual exercise. 

I’m tired and not explaining this so well, but more and more I just find myself thinking about ethical consumption and distance and diffusion of responsibility. This is from that HU piece I mentioned: 

I just wonder about how me paying 40 dollars to see Louis CK ten years ago ties, however loosely, to bad things that actually happened to people in the world. I didn't know that stuff then--I don't even know if it had started back then--but I understood something about his attitude towards women. You know? Like the sort of knowingness with which you'd regard a transcript of Bill Burr's Thanksgiving table conversation if it emerged tomorrow. At what point do thoughts become action, and how much of that has to do with being famous for those thoughts? For being celebrated for them? 

Louis CK built his career on masturbation jokes and all that stuff about how his wife never wanted to fuck.

On an entirely separate anxious wavelength: the Louis CK and Cosby conversations both started at Gawker. (Before Hannibal Burress, there was Tom Scocca.) Who has the muscle and the guts to start those conversations now?


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