As part of the #Ask4More campaign, Sarah Silverman recently shared a heartfelt video about her experiences with the wage gap, detailing a time when she was paid less for performing at the New York Comedy Club than her friend Todd Barry, despite the fact that they were both performing back-to-back 15-minute spots.
Now, club owner Al Martin (who now owns the Broadway Comedy Club) has spoken out against Silverman’s claims, explaining that he didn’t pay her less because she was a woman — rather, it’s because Barry was booked to perform, whereas Silverman just showed up hoping for a guest spot to work on some material.
"I did not pay you less cause of gender .....I paid you less because Todd Barry was booked and you weren’t,” wrote Martin on Broadway Comedy Club’s Facebook page. "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."
Regardless of the details of the particular incident Silverman cited, the larger problem she meant to highlight still exists. The wage gap is real, and no discussion of the issue of unequal pay for women ought to hinge on a single example. As the #Ask4More campaign hopes to illustrate, there are countless instances where the wage gap negatively effects women, not just in the entertainment business but in every walk of life.
As Silverman put it: "We don’t get what we want. We get what we think we deserve. And I think, as women, as a whole, if we can understand what we deserve… we deserve quality lives, with equality, maybe control over our own human bodies without the government getting involved, to do whatever we get great at and do; it has to come from inside. And understanding that you deserve it and work to deserve it.”