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Louis C.K. Sexual Harassment Doc Lacks Depth – The Hollywood Reporter

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In some unspecified time in the future in our tradition, we started to see male comedians as philosophers. Invoking the legacies of George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Invoice Hicks, comedy followers have labeled humorous males as paternalistic fact tellers that all of us should revere. By no means thoughts the truth that these males are not alive and thus don’t have any alternative to problem the way in which their work has been framed and which residing comics they’re in comparison with.

Louis C.Ok. is one such comic who has typically been spoken of in the identical breath as these males, regardless of missing the customarily political fringe of their work. C.Ok. and comics like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle are the confirmed gold commonplace of comedy, standing on the prime of the mountain trying down at the remainder of us. There’s no denying their expertise and perception, however they’re very a lot nonetheless human, regardless of the prevailing want to see them as otherworldly and past reproach just because they’ve made us snigger. 

Sorry/Not Sorry

The Backside Line

An info piece looking for a thesis.

However how is it that we discover ourselves, many times, prioritizing highly effective males above all else? That’s the query that needs to be on the coronary heart of the documentary Sorry/Not Sorry, which chronicles the rise and fall of C.Ok. with a give attention to his sexual harassment of feminine comedians all through his profession. The movie, directed by Caroline Suh and Cara Mones, relies on a New York Instances article by Melena Ryzik, Cara Buckley and Jodi Kantor. Combining speaking head interviews with comedy footage, article excerpts and tweets, the documentary makes an attempt to create a transparent timeline of C.Ok.’s conduct slowly being uncovered to the general public. From whispers to blind objects to The New York Instances, C.Ok.’s rising fame mirrors the media’s increasing curiosity in exposing abusive office conduct.

Inevitably, there are echoes of final yr’s She Mentioned, Maria Schrader’s dramatization of Kantor and fellow Instances reporter Megan Twohey’s efforts to interrupt the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault story. However right here there’s a clearer sense of journalistic take away from the extra emotional facets of the narrative. Fairly than increase a lot on the investigation into the comic himself, Sorry/Not Sorry makes use of its supply article as a pretense for a considerably muted dialogue of comedy, gender and the cult of character that allowed C.Ok. to benefit from his feminine colleagues. That includes interviews with comedy figures like Mike Schur and Michael Ian Black in addition to writers like comedy journalist Sean L. McCarthy and Instances critic Wesley Morris, the movie struggles to create a cohesive understanding of C.Ok. and his actions.

A lot of the main target of the movie is on comic Jen Kirkman, who grew to become infamous for being one of many first feminine comedians to say something publicly unfavorable about C.Ok. Like most individuals within the comedy neighborhood, Kirkman wasn’t aspiring to make waves, however that was precisely what she did. Her commentary, together with the contributions of artist and comic Abby Schachner and comic and author Megan Koester, serves to articulate the problem of navigating comedy’s intricate boys’ membership. The movie fortunately spends no time with the foolish query of whether or not or not ladies are humorous, as an alternative revealing the mechanisms that work to stop them from doing what they love.

Sadly, these ladies are trapped in a documentary that feels undercooked. Divided into seven narratively ill-defined elements, Sorry/Not Sorry strikes like the primary draft of an article that has all its sources, however doesn’t fairly have a thesis but. Fairly than considering the nuances of C.Ok.’s rise and fall, it’s merely an info piece, including footnotes to the story we already know. We all know that he was widespread for a few years. We all know that the rumors have been swirling round, maybe from the start. We all know that C.Ok. did what he was accused of as a result of he’s admitted to it. The middle of the discourse was not about whether or not he did it, however moderately whether or not we as a society ought to care in any respect. 

Maybe simply as perverse because the sexual harassment itself is the way in which individuals publicly evaluated whether or not or not these ladies ought to care about what occurred to them. Comedy personalities like Invoice Maher and Joe Rogan weighed in, opening the floodgates for everybody out and in of the comedy neighborhood to share their take a few scenario they don’t have anything to do with. In a clip from his 2020 Netflix particular The Fowl Revelation, Chappelle accuses Schachner of getting a “brittle ass spirit” for supposedly permitting C.Ok.’s actions to discourage her profession ambitions. By no means thoughts the truth that comedy is, actually, a job, and the neighborhood is ostensibly a office, which suggests it theoretically needs to be protected for everybody. Greater than Rock or C.Ok., Chappelle has introduced himself because the patriarch of American comedy, and his uncritical acceptance of C.Ok.’s actions bolsters the concept that ladies’s participation within the comedy neighborhood is of little significance. Even worse, they’re apparently anticipated to proceed realizing that’s the case.

Within the movie’s last sections, the main target is on cancellation. However at this level, it needs to be clear that cancellation for human beings doesn’t exist. Audiences have all the time chosen whose work they need to observe and help based mostly on their very own worth techniques. After a long time of social media, individuals have change into hyper-fixated on the consumption habits of not solely these round them, however everybody on the earth. It’s merely not potential for there to be full settlement, so C.Ok.’s return was inevitable. Contemplating the messiness of its topic, it’s no shock that Sorry/Not Sorry offers no satisfying solutions to the query of the place to go from right here. And although the uncertainty is true to life, there’s an air of pointlessness to the movie. As a result of on the finish of the day, right here we’re, speaking about this man once more, questioning if something will change.

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