No matter whether you choose to believe Sarah Silverman or Al Martin over who paid whom what and how much several years ago, believe this: Martin’s former club, New York Comedy Club, is a supporter of fair and equal wages today. Literally.
Tonight’s lineup at Martin’s club: Bonnie McFarlane, Chris DiStefano, Joe Matarese, Emma Willman, Zainab Johnson and Dean Obeidallah. Tickets are $20.
Today — April 14, 2015 — is being called National Equal Pay Day as a way to rally support, funds and awareness that businesses should not pay women less than men for the same jobs. In New York, activists note that the state Senate already has passed equal pay legislation.
Silverman recorded a video message posted last week by Levo Group urging women to #Ask4More, and relayed a story about performing many years ago at New York Comedy Club, having followed fellow stand-up Todd Barry there — only to be paid $10 to Barry’s $60 after both performed 15-minute comedy sets.
Martin’s memory of that night differs greatly from Silverman’s. He claimed that Barry had a booked spot, while Silverman merely dropped in for a guest set. The $10 he offered her wasn’t meant to equate to a regular booking. “I gave you some car fare, which actually is more than almost any club would have given for a GUEST Spot,” he wrote on Facebook.
Martin later told the PJ Tatler that he was taken aback by Silverman’s video: “I was shocked. I don’t get why she took things the whole wrong way. I didn’t think she equated this with a man-woman thing. She comes out with this video and turns it into a whole gender thing. It’s not believable. Everybody knows what the going rate is.”
“New York Comedy Club prides itself on presenting diverse lineups,” says the club’s current co-owner Emilio Savone. “Not only when it comes to gender, but also keeping shows racially and ethnically diverse and providing stage time to performers at all stages of their development. So it was natural for us to support this important cause.”
P.S. Silverman today told Salon that she didn’t mean to drag Al Martin’s name into the cause for Equal Pay Day. Her updated statement:
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?