Sarah Silverman says she is among the roster of female comedians who witnessed fellow comic Louis C.K. masturbate, but for Silverman the act was consensual.
Silverman, appearing today on Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show, suggested that the absence of a power differential between her and C.K. precluded the behavior from being abusive. The incidents occurred early in the careers of the longtime friends.
“I don’t know if I’m going to regret saying this,” Silverman told Stern. “I’ve known Louis forever. I’m not making excuses for him, so please don’t take this that way. We are peers. We are equals. When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go, ‘F*ck yeah, I want to see that!’”
Silverman continued: “It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. So sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘F*cking no, gross,’ and we got pizza.”
Last year, five women told The New York Times about how C.K. masturbated either in front of them or while he was on the phone with them. C.K. later issued a statement acknowledging the behavior, and Silverman’s sister Laura Silverman subsequently tweeted that her ex-boyfriend C.K. had masturbated in front of her approximately 20 times before he was famous, acts Laura Silverman did not consider criminal (“Not criminal,” she wrote. “But compulsive, rude & gross.”)
On the Stern show today, Sarah Silverman said: “I’m not saying what he did was OK. I’m just saying at a certain point when he became influential, not even famous but influential in the world of comedy, it changes. He felt like he was the same person, but the dynamic was different and it was not OK.”
She said she believes C.K. “has remorse” and that she thinks he should address the subject onstage. C.K. has appeared at least twice in recent weeks with drop-in sets at New York’s Comedy Cellar.