While it was surprising to hear the Radio and Television Correspondents Association had selected Louis CK to host their annual dinner this upcoming June in Washington, D.C., it’s no surprise at all that the comedian — who maintains he’s not very political at all — abruptly withdrew his name from the gig today after FOX News anchor/talking head Greta Van Susteren began making public calls for her colleagues to boycott the dinner altogether. All because Louis CK doesn’t like Sarah Palin and is willing to say so (and jokingly so) in very crude language.
First, though, just to clarify. More than a few people don’t seem to understand that the RTCA dinner is a separate annual function from the White House Correspondents Dinner — which SNL head writer Seth Meyers hosted last year and Stephen Colbert infamously hosted a few years before that. The RTCA dinner featured stand-up from Boston comedian Joe Wong in 2010, and a speech from John Hodgman the previous year. Sometimes neither the president nor the vice president attends the RTCA dinner (although President Obama did speak along with Hodgman in 2009).
Without Louis CK, CNN’s Jay McMichael — chairman of the 2012 RTCA dinner — said in an email statement: “Rest assured there will be plenty of surprises in store for what promises to be a great evening.”
This all started to get very inside the Beltway on Monday when Media Research Matters’ Brent Bozell began making a stink about the Louis CK selection. Bozell said liberals were being hypocritical for taking Rush Limbaugh to task for calling Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute,” while celebrating and honoring Louis CK, even though he repeatedly calls Sarah Palin a cunt.
On Thursday, it found its way to Van Susteren, who made an online call for a boycott, which included calling Louis CK a pig and essentially repeated Bozell’s claims.
Louis CK certainly hasn’t denied any of his jokes. And he explained why it’s all in jest, as I reported back in September 2010.
Louis CK had said, in part:
Yeah. OK. I wrote mean things about Sarah Palin on Twitter. And not because I’m political. But because it’s fun. I do think she’s Hitler. But that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s fun. But I let myself have fun at her expense, because she’s Hitler. Her being Hitler allows me in my head to say mean things about her, but that’s not the reason. The reason is because it’s just fun. Because she’s just an amazing, beautiful perfect villain. She’s just crystalline. She says things that are at perfect right angles to truth and reason, and that blows me away. It’s poetry when that woman speaks. And I’m sexually attracted to her boobs. She’s sexually attractive, to me. But I do think she’s terribly dangerous, and I do think she could really Hitler up the place. And by the way, once, I wrote on Twitter that she’s the new Hitler, and I got this immediate — like, immediate — email on the same device, from somebody that I kinda, whatever, I don’t want to say who, who said, ‘You gotta take that down. You can’t compare a person in the public eye to someone who killed six million Jews.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m not saying that she’s that Hitler. She’s the early Hitler, when he was building power. I don’t know how many Jews he was going to kill. But I know that she’s building power the same way. Hitler was voted into office through this weird, like he took a bunch of seats, and he got this party going, and he just started intimidating people, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Again. I don’t care. I’m not political, but why not? Fuck it. If Hitler was running, I’d say ‘Hey, fucking losers, suck my dick, Hitler!’ And I wouldn’t feel like, oh, that’s not that nice. Fuck ’em. He’s Hitler.
Louis was and is not especially pleased to have this all play out quite this publicly, though, which is why, of course, he’d suddenly decide to drop the gig today.
It’s all about picking your battles. And hosting the RTCA dinner is something that Louis CK decided wasn’t worth a public political fight.