To discuss stand-up comedy and ignore the news right now would be insulting your intelligence. We refer to stand-up legends as heroes fairly often. And, while no personal issue can wipe away the genius they brought to their craft, hero (as a title) may no longer be appropriate.
What is a hero? Immediately Captain America comes to mind. He’s supposed to represent the best in people. Physically, he’s at the peak of human capability. Mirriam-Webster’s definition of hero is: a person admired for achievements and noble qualities. Keep that definition in mind, we’ll get back to that shortly.
Lately, more than one comedic hero has been exposed as an individual that has behaved closer to a villain. What is a villain? Mirriam-Webster says: A deliberate scoundrel or criminal. That’s right to the point isn’t it? Kind of seems possible for someone to be both a hero and a villain; given those definitions.
Bill Cosby and Louie CK are two of the biggest comedians in the last century. Five years ago, the majority might’ve likened Cosby to Captain America. His squeaky clean image certainly mirrors Cap’s ideals. Well, until we discovered he confessed drugging women for sex in a 2005 deposition. Louis CK was no squeaky clean Captain America type. His brand of humor I’d like more to an anti-hero; like Venom. We loved how honest, perverted, and gross he was. And, then came the New York Times article yesterday.
What’s interesting is both men had been rumored to be predators for years. Cosby rumors have been right in our face, yet we dismissed them. I’ve been watching old programs where Cosby drugging women for sex is mentioned, and I don’t recall seeing that before.
I’ve heard the Louis CK rumors for years. Honestly, I thought these rumors would just follow him like a black cloud for his career. Maybe he did too. But, the women who came forward in that article took action, and I applaud them for it. When I recognized a name from the article as someone I’ve worked with before, that made seem so much closer than with Cosby.
Some people don’t know how to handle these revelations. These men, who were comedic heroes, are villains in an instant. Truthfully, both behaved deviously for years before the truth caught up with them. But, the betrayal their fans feel is all over social media. “How could they? I don’t want to believe it…” And, then there’s the acceptance. These men, while legends in their field, are predators.
We may never stops turning entertainers into heroes. But, what is glaringly apparent is that when they reveal themselves to be the opposite, they will be exposed. And, despite the headlines, most people in entertainment aren’t Cosby, CK, Weiner, Spacey, Sheen… that’s quite a Legion of Doom there.
“The world of full of exceptional people. The people in the world who do kindness, or search for the truth despite their lives being at risk. The engineers, the teachers, the doctors, and adoptive parents, the scholars and the firemen, and yes, the journalists. People who risk everything for the sake of others and those who simply try to help those whose needed be greater than their own. Those people inspire me, not the other way around.” – Superman