Sarah Silverman appeared on the October 22 episode of Howard Stern’s SiriusXM radio show and was inevitably asked about her friend, Louis C.K., who has started making stand-up comedy appearances in New York City a year after admitting to sexual misconduct. C.K. came forward last fall to say the claims that he masturbated in front of several female comics were true, and Silverman told Stern that C.K. masturbated in front of her, albeit with her consent.
“I know I’m going to regret saying this,” Silverman said. “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, ‘Fuck yeah I want to see that!’… 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. Sometimes, yeah, I wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘Fucking no, gross,’ and we got pizza.”
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Silverman said these encounters happened when the two comedians were younger and “letting our freak flags fly.” The comedian shared another story in which the two would strip naked in C.K.’s apartment building and throw their clothes out the window onto the street and proceed to go down the elevator naked to retrieve them. Silverman was clear these were consensual moments between the two and were not comparable to the experiences of the women who accused C.K. of sexual harassment.
The overall point Silverman was making hinged on how C.K. initially failed to realize the inappropriate predicament he was putting younger comics in by asking to masturbate in front of him once he became well-known and more powerful within the comedy world. “Once he became powerful, even within just his [comedy] community, he felt like he was the same person, but the dynamic was different and it was not OK,” Silverman said.
Silverman said C.K. eventually did realize he could no longer act this way, even before The New York Times story with the allegations against him was published. “Even in that article they talk about how he went on tried to connect with some of these women to say he fucked up and wronged them,” Silverman said.
“I’m not saying everyone should embrace Louis again,” the comedian continued. “I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it on stage. He’s going to have to find his way or not find his way.”
Silverman told Stern she hasn’t spoken to C.K. in nearly three months. She also remembered being sexually harassed when she was younger after her boss at a Mexican restaurant called her into his office and started masturbating in front of her. Silverman’s encounter with her boss was not consensual.
“When I talk about Louis, it was a very different dynamic,” Silverman said. “The dynamic between Louis and the other women is what I’m talking about with the owner of the restaurant.”
Silverman is the host of the Hulu talk series “I Love You, America with Sarah Silverman,” which has been airing new episodes this month. The comedian reprises her voice role of Vanellope von Schweetz in “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” in theaters nationwide November 2. You can listen to Silverman’s entire appearance on Stern’s radio program here.