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Columbus Comics Plan Showcase In Protest Against Louis C.K. Gigs

Christine Horvath and Griffin Browning organized a "Seen And Heard" comic showcase as an alternative to Louis C.K.'s shows in Columbus.
Rachel Joy Barehl
Christine Horvath and Griffin Browning organized a "Seen And Heard" comic showcase as an alternative to Louis C.K.'s shows in Columbus.

When Christine Horvath heard Louis C.K. was coming to Columbus, she knew she wanted to do something.

“Our goal is to draw attention away from the bad guys, and draw attention to people who are doing really great work and not behaving badly,” Horvath says.

Horvath criticizes the Columbus Funny Bone’s decision to bring in the disgraced comic, who in November 2017 admitted to exposing himself and masturbating in front of several women comics early in their careers. Some of the women say they were met with threats of retaliation when they raised concerns about Louis C.K.’s behavior.

Since the #MeToo allegations emerged, HBO and FX both cut ties with the comic. But in the last year, C.K. has been creeping back into the spotlight with shows around the country — including four days in Columbus.

Horvath and her partner organized the Seen And Heard comedy fundraiser, which takes place Friday and Saturday evenings at Wild Cat Gift and Party's Confetti House. The showcase includes LGBTQ comics, comics who are abuse survivors, and comics of color. The second night includes a viewing of Cameron Esposito's stand-up special "Rape Jokes," which is about the comic's experience surviving sexual assault.

Horvath admits C.K.’s shows will still be popular – all six shows sold out – but she wants an alternative way to highlight the comedy scene in her hometown.

“It’s not what I want, (so I’m) providing an opportunity for people to do something instead and keep the victims at the top at mind with donating to RAINN and having survivors on the lineup," Horvath says.

RAINN is the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, which will receive money from donations made at the fundraiser. She says response to her fundraiser has been “great.”

While C.K.’s behavior may be an extreme example, Horvath says sexism and boorish male behavior are still common in the comedy world.

“I would say sexism at least is very common," Horvath says. "And it disproportionately affects women, queer comics, and comics of color."

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.