The board of The Canadian Association of Stand-up Comedians (CASC) has received multiple messages expressing concern about the decision by Yuk Yuk’s to book Louis CK for a series of headline performances this week at their Toronto club.
CASC was formed to work for better conditions for all comedians, regardless of status, wealth, or renown.
In response to complaints about sexual misconduct and harassment in the industry, CASC is developing policy action focused on establishing standards and, when necessary, responding to any breaches of such workplace standards by individuals and/or industry operators. While Louis CK is not a Member of CASC, Yuk Yuk’s is a comedy industry employer where many of our Members work.
Louis CK has admitted to instances of sexual misconduct. In some of those instances, there was an apparent power imbalance between he and less established, female members of the comedy community and industry.
Recent news reports about the Louis CK shows have outlined that strict intellectual property and security protocols have been taken by Yuk Yuk’s to protect the headliner, including seizing phones and prohibiting any note-taking during his performances over seven shows at Yuk Yuk’s Toronto location. Reference: Louis C.K. banning phones, note-taking at upcoming Toronto comeback https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/louis-ck-toronto-shows-1.5300706
What we have not seen outlined by Yuk Yuk’s, to the best of our knowledge, is if plans are in place to implement and enforce strict protocols to ensure the safety and well-being of performers and staff who will be sharing the space with Louis, or with any other comedy professional moving forward.
CASC believes that institutional changes need to be effected within the entire comedy industry to develop a more professional culture and safe workplaces with respect to claims of harassment, or sexual misconduct. For these reasons, even in advance of communicating our policy action on this matter, we are sharing the workplace safety concerns raised by our members about the decision by Yuk Yuk’s to book Louis CK.
As one of the country’s main employers of stand-up comedians, Yuk Yuk’s owes our shared community assurances of safety and security. The physical and emotional well-being of performers and club staff must be treated with the same forethought and even greater concern than that which has been afforded to the protection of Louis CK’s intellectual property.