In a gender “wage gap” public service announcement for Levo League, comedian Sarah Silverman recalled the time she was paid $10 for a 15-minute spot at the New York Comedy Club when her friend and fellow comic Todd Barry was paid $60.
Silverman said she went back inside the club to confront the owner, Al Martin, who seemed to be caught off guard.
“It was symbolic, I didn’t need $60. But it’s, um, you know, it’s pretty s****y,” Silverman said in the PSA. Watch the video below (Warning: strong language)
That incident occurred roughly 15 years ago. Shortly after the video featuring Silverman was published online, Martin called out the comedian in a scathing Facebook post:
Are you kidding ? You come in to my club 15 years ago and ask me for a guest spot , I did not ask you to perform and you were not booked, and Then you ask me for pay ? You asked to work out some material ..
Then you make this a gender pay thing ? Sarah great cause I am with it, but I did not pay you less cause of gender .....I paid you less because Todd Barry was booked and you weren't...It was a GUEST SPOT, so I gave you some car fare, which actually is more than almost any club would have given for a GUEST Spot...Funny how in your attempt to become a super hero with a noble cause, you forgot that little fact...GUEST SPOT ....GUEST SPOT
Well, after Martin spoke up, Silverman eventually apologized for mentioning the club owner by name and admitted her story was not a good example of the “wage gap.”
“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. 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,” she wrote in a statement to Salon.
Giving her the benefit of the doubt, Martin later wrote that he “fully” accepts Silverman’s apology in another Facebook post.