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Louis CK and the tale of the chronic masturbator; or How to separate comedy from the comedian

There are not many bald, schlubby single dads in their 40s who can make jokes about their ex-wife’s sad handjobs, their daughter’s vaginal rashes or their passionate enthusiasm for masturbation, and get away with it. Louis CK did. Until Thursday, 10 November 2017 — the day that laughter died.

A New York Times story detailed the accounts of five women who accused the comedian of forcing them to watch him masturbate. Following years of rumours about his sexually inappropriate behavior, these allegations hardly come as a surprise. Louis now joins Weinstein and Co as Hollywood plunges deep into a vortex of shame, disgust and gross misogyny.

With his career imploding over allegations of sexual misconduct, comedian Louis C.K. confessed Friday to masturbating in front of women and expressed remorse for wielding his influence "irresponsibly." YouTube

With his career imploding over allegations of sexual misconduct, comedian Louis C.K. confessed to masturbating in front of women and expressed remorse for wielding his influence “irresponsibly”

Meanwhile, we are left to reexamine our perceptions of a man we considered as one of the most subversive and treasured comedians of our time. Will the new-found context contaminate our experience of watching his stand-up specials or comedies?

This question is a matter of personal relativism and can only be answered when we understand why we fell in love with Louis in the first place and how much or little their misdeeds affect the way you see their body of work.

Louis learnt his craft through trial and error in the 80s and 90s. Unlike contemporaries like Jerry Seinfeld who recycled old material (despite promising they were telling us for the last time), Louis restocked every year constructing fresh material bit-by-bit much like his hero, George Carlin. This compelled him to explore new topics and poke fresh holes in the fabric of society. Carlin once said “it was the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.” Hung entranced upon these words, Louis set out to do exactly that. With material designed intricately to horrify and provoke, he constantly pulled the audience out of their comfort zones taking them on a journey of self-discovery and cheerful nihilism. He was ready to do a show for a lot less money if it gave him complete creative control.

However, if you revisit Louis’ old material — keeping in mind the allegations — it is hard to ignore the inappropriate and suggestive nature of his bits and dialogue. They seem like comedic iterations of Louis’ real-life behaviour.

For example, in a Season 2 episode of the FX comedy Louie, he has a debate about the morality of masturbation with a spokeswoman for a group named Christians Against Masturbation.

Louis reasons: “It keeps me sane. I’m a good citizen, I’m a good father, I recycle and I masturbate. And I’m proud of it. And God’s happy. And later I’m going to masturbate and I’m going to think about you! And there’s nothing you can do about it.”

In another episode on Season 4, the notorious chronic masturbator tries to force himself on his best friend Pamela, attempting to kiss her and lift up her shirt. The caustic Pamela jokes: “This would be rape if you weren’t so stupid. God! You can’t even rape well!”

His upcoming film I Love You, Daddy is a supposed homage to Woody Allen’s Manhattan. The film is set in New York and shot in lustrous black and white. Oh but the testimonial parallels don’t end there. Louis plays a divorced TV producer who has a relationship with a much-younger actress and Chloë Grace Moretz plays a teenage girl who has a fling with a 60-something director. And it only gets worse as Louis CK adds a personal touch to it. The film also reportedly features a scene where a character pantomimes masturbation in front of others.

So, no, the allegations do not look half as shocking when you scrutinise his material.

Chloë Grace MoretzThe New York premiere of Louis C.K.’s controversial new film “I Love You, Daddy” has been canceled amid swirling controversy over the film and the comedian

Louis CK and Chloë Grace Moretz in a still from the film, I Love You, Daddy. The New York premiere of the film has been cancelled amid swirling controversy over the film and the comedian

In fact, prior to the New York Times’ expose on Thursday, the blog Gawker in 2012, Roseanne Barr in 2016 and Tig Notaro earlier this year reported similar allegations against Louis CK. Notaro even referenced it in Season 2 of her show, One Mississippi, when a female character discovers her boss masturbating as she tries to pitch him an idea for a new show.

Fame and privilege allowed Louis and Co to do as they please with a clear apathy to the suffering of defenceless victims around them. A culture of systemic misogyny has made it possible for them to harass and assault without fear of punishment. The recent scandals have brought to light the magnitude and ubiquity of sexual harassment. So, it is vital to continue this conversation in order to weed out the Harveys and Louies.

Meanwhile, there’s no reason for us to feel guilty if we continue to enjoy their work. Our laughter does not implicate us in their crimes. We should not let their misdeeds interfere with our ability to gain our own meaning from their art.

Instead, we need to continue laughing at the comedic genius of Louis CK without experiencing any sort of moral dissonance. And to do that, we must separate the comedy from the comedian.


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Malayalam actress assault case: Trial against Dileep and other accused to begin a year after abduction

IANS

Feb,18 2018 13:45 28 IST

Exactly a year later, the much-anticipated verdict in the Kerala actress kidnap case, in which actor Dileep has been named as the eighth accused, is to emerge with the trial set to begin very soon.

Dileep. File Photo

Dileep. File Photo

And the question that is uppermost in people’s minds is — will Dileep walk free or be behind bars.

It was this day last year that the abduction incident took place while the actress was on her way to Kochi from her house in Thrissur.

Her driver allegedly joined hands with a group of ‘criminals’ led by Pulsar Suni, who is the prime accused, and drove her through the busy streets of the commercial capital of the state and after two hours she was dropped near the home of director-actor Lal.

After she told him about what had happened to her, Lal called the police. The driver was first taken into custody and in a few days the rest of the gang, including Suni, was arrested.

But the twist in the tale, in true cinematic style, came when superstar Dileep was arrested on 10 July, 2017, after two rounds of questioning. After spending 85 days in jail, he got conditional bail.

Since then the police probe team has been busy in tying the loose ends in the now high profile case.

The trial court in December accepted the charge sheet that names a total of 12 persons, including Dileep as accused, while his former wife Manju Warrier, is a key witness.

The 650-page charge sheet included secret depositions. Among the list of witnesses, are around 50 from the film industry.

Now all eyes are on the beginning of the trial as the police is burning the midnight oil to see if they can successfully recover the visuals of the kidnapping and alleged molestation, which is reported to have been filmed by the gang.

Published Date: Feb 18, 2018 13:45 PM | Updated Date: Feb 18, 2018 13:45 PM


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Drake donates $1 million to struggling Miami residents on set of his God’s Plan music video

Los Angeles: The song is called God’s Plan and Canadian rapper Drake dropped a music video to match on Friday in which he gave away almost $1 million in cash to people in Miami.

Drake, the world’s best-selling artist of 2016, followed it up with a challenge on Instagram urging his fans to “go out and be nice to each other.”

Drake gives away a wad of cash in God's Plan music video. YouTube

Drake gives away a wad of cash in God’s Plan music video. YouTube

The God’s Plan video upended the usual lavish efforts from music production companies, and instead showed Drake handing out wads of cash to struggling families, toys to children, scholarships to students and checks to a women’s shelter and a youth club in Miami, Florida.

“The budget for this video was $996,631.90. We gave it all away. Don’t tell the label,” says the message at the start of the video

Before its release, Drake, 31, called the video “the most important thing I have ever done in my career.”

Emotional fans took to Twitter with effusive praise.

“If you’ve seen Drake’s God’s Plan video and it didn’t hit your heart then I just don’t know. That man’s doing it right,” tweeted one man, Michael McGraw.

“Cried reaaaal tears looking at God’s plan music video. it’s a good life,” a user called Janae wrote on Twitter.

Hours later the Grammy-winning singer issued a challenge on his Instagram saying “let’s all watch the world be nice to each other even if it’s for 24 hours.”

God’s Plan has held the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the past three weeks.

Published Date: Feb 18, 2018 13:48 PM | Updated Date: Feb 18, 2018 13:48 PM

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Ram Gopal Varma appears before Hyderabad police in obscenity case filed over God, Sex and Truth

IANS

Feb,17 2018 18:22 14 IST

Hyderabad: Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma on Saturday appeared before Hyderabad police in connection with a case of obscenity booked against him for his movie God, Sex and Truth, and also for allegedly insulting the modesty of a woman.

Ram Gopal Varma. Image from Firstpost

Ram Gopal Varma. Image from Firstpost

The filmmaker, whose controversial movie with American adult entertainment star Mia Malkova was released on internet last month, appeared before the officials of Central Crime Station (CCS) in response to the notice served on him.

The police officials questioned him about the allegations made against him by women activists.

On 25 January, a day before the release of the movie, Varma was booked by the CCS. A case under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 was booked against him for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form.

The filmmaker was also booked under sections 506 and 509 of Indian Penal Code for allegedly making personal comments against women activists during the debate on the movie on some television channels. When activists accused him of promoting obscenity, Varma allegedly offered to make similar movies with them. He has been charged with insulting the modesty of a woman.

The CCS this week issued fresh notice on Varma as he could not appear before the officials earlier.

Women’s organizations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had staged protest last month demanding ban on the release of the movie on web and Varma’s immediate arrest.

The activists alleged that Varma released the movie on web to avoid the certification by authorities. They said the filmmaker is portraying woman as a sex object and promoting pornography.

Published Date: Feb 17, 2018 18:22 PM | Updated Date: Feb 17, 2018 18:22 PM

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