Comedian harasses lesbian couple, sued for $22,500

Going to comedy shows can be painful. Once, I followed my date to the bathroom to make out mid-show, less because I liked him, and more because I was bored. But this story takes things to new extremes: a Vancouver restaurant was ordered to pay $22,500 by a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal because the comedian harassed a lesbian couple in the audience.

The comedian, Guy Earle, claims that the couple was heckling him on stage and threw a drink in his face. The couple denies this; they say Earle pointed to them and declared them

The "dyke table" and "went on to describe lesbian acts involving her and her partner [...] [One woman] said she booed him in an attempt to shut him up and this caused him to leave the stage and come to their table where he loomed over her, swearing and asking her derogatory questions. She told the tribunal she didn’t want him near their table so she picked up a glass of water and threw the water in his face. As she was leaving, she said Earle intercepted her, took the sunglasses from her head, broke them and threw the pieces on the floor.

Now, you could say that comedians make fun of everyone, and that it's not homophobia — since presumably, he was being a dick to everyone. In either case, twenty grand seems a little stiff. That said, I've been to enough stand-up in my life that it's hard not to take the two ladies' side. I mean, look at that guy. You know he's a jackass. It's like, "Hey buddy, John Corbett called. He wants his hair from My Big Fat Greek Wedding back." Rimshot!

Tags homophobia

Commentarium (36 Comments)

Apr 22 11 - 12:47pm
Alex Heigl

Man, and people thought Sam Kinison was in your face.

Apr 22 11 - 12:55pm
Moops

One important aspect of being an insult comic is to know when to back-the-fuck off. This guy obviously doesn't know how to do that.

Apr 22 11 - 9:33pm
John

You weren't there, so don't judge.

Apr 23 11 - 12:32am
nope

Really? I wasn't going to make a call until I got to the part about him breaking her glasses. I mean, I can't imagine how that's excusable.

Apr 25 11 - 10:53am
Critic

You mean you don't get the lowlife insult, followed by breaking her glasses bit? It's a comedy classic right up there with "Who's on First?"

Apr 22 11 - 12:59pm
WithAnInotAnE

Hehehehe. My big fat greek wedding. Hehehe.

Apr 22 11 - 1:24pm
Grady LaLa

For a moment there, I thought that was a picture of the plaintiff.

Apr 22 11 - 1:49pm
Piper

me too!!!

Apr 22 11 - 6:11pm
WTFTinyPenis

You mean it isn't?

Apr 22 11 - 6:32pm
Grady LaLa

Maybe "he" is really a self-hating lesbian?

Apr 22 11 - 1:35pm
allentinypenis

Funny that no one got in trouble for assault (sunglasses, glass of water) but for what was said. Orwell is alive and well in Canada.

Apr 22 11 - 1:59pm
WTF?

Yeah, Big Brother was totally watching that show, then re-wrote some jokes for him.

Apr 22 11 - 6:10pm
WTFTinyPenis

Yeah, it was a reference to the Thought Police. Are you familiar with the book?

Apr 22 11 - 8:46pm
bossHIggs

Liberals = Fascists
Freedom of Speech is NOT a Human Right in Canada

Apr 22 11 - 11:40pm
so-what

I'm a liberal you jerk off, but I believe in free speech. You know the old saying, the one conservatives always seem to forget, free speech protects the speech you hate as well as the speech you love. now thats paraphraised, and i'm sure I'm sure I misspelled a couple things here and there, but fuck it I'm making a piont, grammar does not mean shit.

Apr 23 11 - 10:35am
ConservativeIcon

Conservatives protect Constitutional liberties, including the speech you reference. It's the left that embraces speech codes, limiting "hate" speech, etc.

We all make spelling and grammar mistakes. I don't worry about them.

Apr 23 11 - 3:10pm
Alex

It's not just funny that there were no assault charges, it's sketchy. If this comedian did what they are claiming it's clearly assault. Methinks they didn't enjoy his shitty comedy and decided to have the case heard where it didn't have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt

Also, people fighting to put labels on themselves are hilarious. Your team is definitely better then their team.

Apr 22 11 - 6:31pm
Grady LaLa

Obviously this asshat was trying to get the audience on his side. "If I rag on these dykes", he thought, "this drunken crowd will cheer me on!"

(Yeah, I have no way of knowing this, but this is what it feels like to me).

Apr 23 11 - 10:36am
ConservativeIcon

I pretty much thought the same thing. A proper reaction, imo, would have been to boo, get up and leave and/or complain to club management. That the government marches in and lands on the club with both feet is wrong.

Apr 22 11 - 6:37pm
Quizzical mama

A lot of queer bashing going on this week apparently; I just posted about a gay couple being kicked out of pub in London after kissing, spurring a Kiss-in attended by hundreds: http://www.lovesexfamily.com/p/featured-news.html#Kiss-InOrganizedInSupp...

Apr 22 11 - 9:37pm
John

The fact that the restaurant was held liable and not the comedian compounds how ridiculous this all is. How many clubs in Canada would face lawsuits if Louis C.K. was on tour? I wasn't there, maybe this was a Michael Richards moment...or maybe this couple had it coming. Who knows? No video clips?

Apr 25 11 - 3:12pm
katesanfran

The fine was actually spilt, I think the restaurant/bar ended up having to pay $17,000 or something.

Apr 22 11 - 11:49pm
Olli

I do standup but I wasn't there. Either way, you never, ever leave the stage to deal with hecklers. It's unprofessional. I'm troubled by the $20,000 plus fine (especially with the current exchange rate); I'm a big proponent of free speech at a comedy show since customers paid/chose to see an unpredictable performance.

Tip to the fans: heckling and booing are not the best way to show your dissatisfaction; the best method is to simply stare and not laugh. I've heard plenty of comics say they'd rather get a negative reaction than no reaction at all. A quiet crowd is the feedback comics need to fix their material. Need a more relatable example? When you have a huge fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend; what freaks you out more: when he/she yells back or when he/she sits there and doesn't say a word?

Apr 25 11 - 4:25pm
thinkywritey

I was recently at a sold-out comedy show and watched this happen, as the comic slowly, inexorably lost his audience to silence. It was chilling (and, to me, hilarious, because he's pretty famously dooshy [if you're wondering, I was there covering on a press pass, so I have an excuse]).

Apr 23 11 - 3:15am
Jujubee

I think I had sex with this guy!

Apr 23 11 - 8:56am
MBlueI thought the s

Replace dyke with niggar something like"this is the bigger table I'll bet they're going home to bone his woman with his big dick look at her huge lips you know that niggar wants to suck it" see how over the line and offensive that is? He totally crossed hemline when be left the stage ni hope the venue can sue him for the money.

Apr 23 11 - 10:38am
ConservativeIcon

Isn't that what Kramer (yeah, yeah, the actor who played him) did in LA? No possibility of the government trying to sanction him. Freedom of speech is (partly) still alive in the US. That Canada has lost its way is a warning to all freedom loving people.

Apr 25 11 - 3:14pm
katesanfran

The Canadian Constitution does not protect Freedom of Speech as a specific ammendment.

Apr 25 11 - 4:41pm
ConservativeIcon

...to the shame of Canadians everywhere.

Apr 23 11 - 8:58am
MBlue

See how good I am at hate speech? I misspelled nigger. Fail On Apr 14, 2011, at 7:29 AM, Gail OBrien wrote:

Shana,
 
Oh glad to hear nothing like that!. Enjoy that new office. I call my office a cave with a window, a/c and heat. Can't beat it. Take care of the headaches and hope you are feeling better soon.
 
Love,
 
Gail

From: Shana OBrien
To: Gail OBrien
Sent: Wed, April 13, 2011 11:06:14 PM
Subject: Re: Whats up, Shana

Gail,

No, no, nothing like that. I get pretty bad migraines, they're mostly under control (thanks the state for to good BCBS and a great doctor) but this weather has been really unkind. I think it has to do with barometric pressure? Not to mention I just got a better office with a window but they hadn't taken out my florescent lights yet- also a trigger. Feeling better now though. Glad tomorrow is Thursday :)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

On Apr 14, 2011, at 7:29 AM, Gail OBrien wrote:

Shana,
 
Oh glad to hear nothing like that!. Enjoy that new office. I call my office a cave with a window, a/c and heat. Can't beat it. Take care of the headaches and hope you are feeling better soon.
 
Love,
 
Gail

From: Shana OBrien
To: Gail OBrien
Sent: Wed, April 13, 2011 11:06:14 PM
Subject: Re: Whats up, Shana

Gail,

No, no, nothing like that. I get pretty bad migraines, they're mostly under control (thanks the state for to good BCBS and a great doctor) but this weather has been really unkind. I think it has to do with barometric pressure? Not to mention I just got a better office with a window but they hadn't taken out my florescent lights yet- also a trigger. Feeling better now though. Glad tomorrow is Thursday :)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apparently I fail hate speech and misspelled nigger

Apr 23 11 - 9:51pm
Phee

And apparently you cut & pasted something utterly irrelevant and unnecessary too.

Apr 24 11 - 3:01am
Rj

Agree with Phee. Also, am I the only one who has a problem with people linking their blogs and personal links in comments?

Apr 24 11 - 10:55pm
MB

Yea phee totally noticed that. I emailed and asked for assistance removing it and no dice. So I guess I'm condemned to having my name on the fucking Internet in such a douchy context.

Apr 26 11 - 5:02pm
b

Why $22,500? Those must have been expensive sunglasses.

Apr 28 11 - 1:07pm
canada babys

WOW what a joke, these dumb babys go to a comedy show and get made fun of and go cry!!! wow these are adult?????

Apr 16 12 - 6:58pm
jomama

You canadiens are acting like a bunch of fruitcakes,,,carpet munchers are so gross and angry