By Kt Hawbaker
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) For comic Jen Kirkman, feminism is a force that saturates her stand-up. While making people laugh is her first goal, she also wants comedy to change the way audiences understand gender, to show that “women speaking can be tolerable.”
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a famous woman who speaks out against sexual harassment will have to talk about it over and over again in all interviews for the foreseeable future.
Or, at least that’s true for Jen Kirkman, the “Chelsea Lately” vet with a number of acclaimed Netflix comedy specials, a pair of best-selling books and a new, rowdy stand-up tour.
But, right now, most articles written about Kirkman lean into a strange scandal that also involves Louis C.K. and Tig Notaro.
The rundown: In a 2015 podcast episode, Kirkman called a male comedian who seemed to line up with C.K.’s description a “known perv,” and said that her career would be over if she actually named him.
A conversation about C.K.’s alleged behavior with female comics and writers then exploded, with no one directly accusing C.K. of sexual assault.
Nevertheless, other comedians like Notaro have called him out for not addressing the rumors, even though Kirkman has told numerous outlets that C.K. was the not the comic she was describing.
“I don’t have a comment on that. I’m really funny and trying to sell tickets to a comedy show,” she says, “and the more I talk about it, even if I say he’s a unicorn made of fudge, the more harassment I get. There’s really nothing more to say.”
Instead, she’d rather talk about her current tour, “All New Material, Girl.”
“It’s all about stuff from the past 10 months,” Kirkman describes. “Usually I give myself a bit more time to process the material, so it’s pretty new to me too.”