By: James Lang
Have you been able to keep up with the drama storm kicked up over Sarah Silverman’s video claiming she was the victim of the economic gender gap when she performed at Al Martin’s comedy club in New York City back in 2000? Well, it turns out that Sarah Silverman was wrong and dragged Al Martin through the mud unintentionally over an issue that both Sarah and Al agree on!
To give credit where credit is due, Sarah gets major props for admitting she was wrong and that her complaint against Al has nothing to do with the gender gap in America. Her apology, in her own words, is below:
“Oh goodness. All I can say is I remember that story exactly how I said it. I know that Todd called the club earlier in the day to let them know I was in town if they wanted me to do a set. They put me up for a 15 min spot just after Todd’s 15 min spot. I didn’t expect to get paid, that’s not why I was there, but when I got off stage Al, the sweet club owner, paid me 10 bucks and I signed the payment sheet. I was like, oh, nice. I inferred from that that this was a paid spot not a guest spot. Either way I would have been fine. Then when Todd pointed out that he received 60 dollars for the same spot I went back inside and asked Al why Todd got sixty dollars and I got ten. That’s when he certainly could have said “Because it was a guest spot, Sarah. I was just being super nice and gave you ten dollars for cab money.” But instead, (and I will always remember this exactly how he said it because it was unbelievably hilarious) he said, “Oh- did you want a $60 spot?”
My regret is that I mentioned Al by name- it should have been a nameless, faceless anecdote and he has always been lovely to me.
This is also HARDLY an example of the wage gap and can only do that very true reality a terrible disservice if I were trying to make it one. When I was interviewed by Levo, they asked me “Do you remember a time you were paid less for the same job” and this story, being just that, popped into my head. To Al, I truly am sorry to bring you into this as you employ women and pay them the same as the men I’m sure. To the maniacs who want to use this as a chit against women’s issues, I ask that you please don’t. Because that would be super shitty. Feel free to aim your vitriol at me but leave this issue of working women out of it, K?”
However, in this writer’s opinion, her apology only partially makes up for the drama and frustration Al and his family have had to put up with over the last few weeks. Al Martin (retired comedy club owner) had to put up an official response to the video in order to defend himself against claims that were partially false. Yes, Sarah Silverman was paid less than Todd Barry for performing a 15 minute spot at the New York Comedy Club. However, the reason for the difference in pay was due the difference in talent instead of genitalia.
Todd Barry was booked ahead of time to perform, where Sarah Silverman simply showed up and did a bit. It was generous of Al Martin to give her cab fare as she had already been paid in a sense. In 2000, Sarah was still looking for her big break, and performing on the New York Comedy Club stage was an incredible opportunity to boost her resume and get her act out in front of people who could make things happen in New York City’s comedy scene.
This is a classic example of someone desperately trying to push an agenda (solving the gender gap is a noble cause) and twisting the past so that she could play a victim. The end result is an embarrassing apology and Al Martin’s name being tarnished in the public eye. While commendable, an apology only repairs so much.