The plot thickens in the ongoing exchange between Sarah Silverman and Broadway Comedy Club owner Al Martin. While discussing the wage gap between men and women, Silverman brought up a time that Martin paid her less than male comedian Todd Barry for an equal set. Martin responded by saying that Silverman was a guest performer and not a booked performer, which Barry was; Barry got $60 for his set and Silverman got $10, or cab fare, for hers.
Silverman is now saying that while this was a time when she, a female comedian, was paid less than a male comedian, it doesn’t have anything to do with gender inequality or the wage gap, it was just, technically, one time she was paid less than a male colleague for equal work.
She released a statement exclusively to Salon, not only to clarify what she said, but also to apologize to Martin. She makes it very clear that the wage gap discussion is still one worth having, but not because of this story (emphasis ours):
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 sh*tty. Feel free to aim your vitriol at me but leave this issue of working women out of it, K?
So, there was probably some misunderstanding going on, not just in this exchange, but at the time of Silverman’s set. Now that’s it’s done, let’s let it be done and have a real conversation.