For Americans just learning of feminist comic Sarah Silverman, start with this: she’s not very smart. On Equal Pay Day, April 14, she issued an apology on Salon.com for lying in an equal-pay anecdote about a comedy club. Where were the liberal media on this embarrassing gaffe?
She claimed she was only paid ten dollars for a comedy set while her friend Todd Barry received $60. This was in a pre-recorded video, not in an off-the-cuff live interview:
SILVERMAN: I was out with my friend Todd Barry and we were doing sets around town together, and I was pretty well-known already, and we both did back-to-back 15-minute sets at this club, the New York Comedy Club, and he paid me 10 bucks...and we were outside talking and Todd somehow brought up that he, you know, mentioned that he got 60 bucks....
So I went back inside and I asked the owner Al Martin and I said, ‘Al, why did you pay me $10 and you paid Todd Barry $60?’ And he, it was so perfect. ‘Oh, did you want a $60 spot?’ It was symbolic, I didn’t need $60, but, you know it’s pretty s****y....if you work a job, and the man is working the same job, you should be getting paid the same.
Martin responded on the Facebook page of his comedy club after being branded as a sexist pig:
Are you kidding ? You come in to my club 15 years ago and ask me for a guest spot , I did not ask you to perform and you were not booked, and Then you ask me for pay ? You asked to work out some material ..Then you make this a gender pay thing ? Sarah great cause I am with it, but I did not pay you less cause of gender .....I paid you less because Todd Barry was booked and you weren't...It was a GUEST SPOT, so I gave you some car fare, which actually is more than almost any club would have given for a GUEST Spot...Funny how in your attempt to become a super hero with a noble cause, you forgot that little fact...
Silverman told Salon in a statement that this is just how she remembered it, but it shouldn’t have been used as a wage-gap example:
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. [IF?] 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 sh***y.
So the people who focus on her lies are the “maniacs”? Scott Ott at PJ Media has been following up on this mess:
In her public “apology” Silverman offers a new account of that night in 2002. Today (Tuesday), I asked Al Martin about the shifting story. Turns out that Silverman’s new account is no more accurate than her old one, even as details change.
SILVERMAN: 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.Martin says he didn’t pay Silverman anything when she got off the stage, as is the custom with guest spots. He gave her $10 cab fare only after she came back inside the club to complain that Todd Barry was paid and she was not. The tale continues…
SILVERMAN: 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.”
Actually, Martin stands behind his original version: He did tell her it was a guest spot when she complained, and then gave her $10, but openly admits he was not “super nice.” He just wanted the conflict to end.
SILVERMAN: 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?”
Martin flatly denies this: “I never said the $60 line.”
Despite the inaccuracies, Al Martin said Silverman’s apology is adequate. The married father of three daughters has previously noted that he agrees with the equal pay for women cause and conducts his business accordingly.