Fox News' own Greta Van Susteren isn't feeling comedian Louis C.K.'s humor these days, but more especially his filthy potty mouth. On her GretaWire blog Thursday night, Greta called on her colleagues to boycott the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner this year, because C.K. is headlining. Let's see what has Greta so riled up:

"The headliner of this year's Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner is 'comedian' Louis C.K. Comedian? I don't think so. Pig? yes. 

He uses filthy language about women... yes, the C word... and yes, even to describe a woman candidate for Vice President of the United States. It isn't just Governor Palin he denigrates. He denigrates all women and looks to the crowd to laugh.

I refuse to show any support for this guy or for the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner Committee who hired him. I think the organization that hired him is just as bad as he is. It is no secret that he denigrates women."

They just didn't talk like that back in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Louis C.K. never stopped being an hilarious and sui generis comedian, but since his divorce in 2008, darker, more bitter elements have crept into his routines. The use of derogatory language towards women has been an especially contentious topic of late, thanks to Rush Limbaugh's unfiltered gasbaggery, with an issue of sexism being exploited for political gain. Earlier this week, Sarah Palin, nursing an old grudge against Bill Maher, subtly implied that President Obama was a hypocrite by writing on Facebook:

"Pres. Obama says he called Sandra Fluke because of his daughters. For the sake of everyone's daughter, why doesn't his super PAC return the $1 million he got from a rabid misogynist?"

In an earlier GretaWire post Thursday, Van Susteren also showed solidarity with Palin, calling Maher a "serial pig." She wrote:

"Bill Maher can't hide behind, 'I am [sic] comedian.' Being a comedian is not license to be a bigot or degrade women. Seinfeld is more successful and never degrading."

And here I thought Maher was a paragon of chivalry. The free-speech issue regarding comedians is another fiercely-debated one, and, these days, judgment is usually rendered in the court of internet opinion. The question continues: should comedians have carte blanche to say whatever they want (short of "fire" in a theater) in their acts, or should there be limits?

Tags louis c.k.

Commentarium (31 Comments)

Mar 09 12 - 12:52pm

So Rush calls Fluke a slut and we have complete outrage, calling for boycotts and demanding sponsors to drop the show.

A comedian who uses denigrating terms for women is starting a move to boycott the performer and this isn't taken seriously.

You like CK, you don't like Rush, but the words are the same.

Mar 09 12 - 3:24pm
Sam I Am

Are you looking forward to Spring Break, or is that F in English 101 really bumming you out?

Mar 09 12 - 11:19pm
quiet down

oh. so you're that asshole.

Mar 10 12 - 10:24pm

@quiet down: hi, meh!

Mar 09 12 - 1:59pm

Think Greta's practicing a bit of deflection here? Yeah, I'd say so

Mar 10 12 - 1:28pm
Tango Turner

Yesterday - Louis CK. was going to host the dinner.
Today - He is not.
Tomorrow - Gretta will still look like the south end of a north-bound baboon.

Mar 11 12 - 1:59pm

@Tango Turner, way to respond to a charge of misogyny (by insulting the appearance of the woman who made the complaint, and insinuating that a woman's looks are of the upmost importance).

Mar 09 12 - 2:21pm

This is what happens when you take CK out of context.

Watch his shows. He's not sexist.

Mar 09 12 - 9:04pm

I think he has some misogynistic ideas, but a lot of his comedy and show is just so fucking raw and bare -- he's not encouraging you to be like him, he's not saying he's right. He's just saying he's him. And he is thoguhtful and he examines himself deeply, which is way-way-way more than you can say about Rush or Maher, both of whom are pigs (and I think Maher too often falls into that "but I'm too cool to be a misogynist!" bullshit line of thinking).

Mar 09 12 - 11:29pm

Louis C.K. so obviously loves women. His whole shtick is that he realizes he has uncontrollable desires for women he wouldn't/shouldn't want to, like twenty yr olds who are way too young for him, and he's disgusted and frustrated by these desires, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have them. The same can be said about his jokes concerning his children: we're supposed to love our kids all the time, but sometimes we just wish we could strangle them. C.K. is about acknowledging and accepting these thoughts.

Mar 10 12 - 1:48pm

"C.K. is about acknowledging and accepting these thoughts."

Exactly. But apparently some people are too stubbornly sensitive. They just don't get it.

Mar 10 12 - 2:26pm

I don't disagree with you, @thisisnotamisogynist. I think that, for example, the scene in which he and his daughter talk about Lady Gaga, and he has difficulty imagining that she can both like Lady Gaga (which, in that conversation, was kind of code for becoming a sexualized, adult woman) and be an intelligent, independent, good person. That was raw as shit. He was wrong, and he owned that he was wrong within his own television show. That is so miles away from what Rush (and Maher) does -- and that's the point I was trying to make.

Mar 11 12 - 2:08pm

@thisisnomisogynist, I could accept your point if you hadn't opened with "Louis C.K. so obviously loves women." It looks as though your equating being heterosexual and having a high sex drive with "loving women" (and using the words "loving women" as code for "not a misogynist"). I see this logic used all the time by people like Gene Simmons, and it always makes me feel a bit icky. Hopefully you're just missing a connecting sentence?

Mar 09 12 - 3:26pm
Harry Lawrence

The question is not whether comedians should have "carte blanch" to say whatever they want. They have carte blanch to say whatever they want, and this can never be taken away. The question is how much criticism is warranted toward corporate or political entities when they associate or align themselves with comedians who use objectionable language.

Criticism of Louie CK by Van Susteren or of Maher by Palin is fine, that's their right, even though in my mind it's retarded. But it's a good example of why comedians and politicians should probably steer clear of direct association with one another, because it leads to a round and round argument that is not really winnable for either side.

Maher is a little more of a tricky argument than Louis, because he does try to influence the political debate. I like him very much, but it is difficult to argue he doesn't deserve the same sort of shrapnel that Limbaugh does. Personally, I am far more offended by Limbaugh's LOGIC, than his language, but that's not the case for everyone.

Mar 09 12 - 4:24pm

I agree with Maher most of the time and like him some of the time, but ultimately, he's as polarizing and damaging a figure as Bill O'Reilly or Rush Limbaugh. I don't think his trademark arrogance or caustic attitude does anything to help civil political dialogue. Ed Shultz is pretty douchey, too.

And it can't be stressed enough how a comedian's words must be taken in context. I don't think Louis CK has ever stepped over the line, and if you read any comedian's jokes in an un-nuanced vacuum, they'll probably sound pretty terrible most of the time.

Mar 09 12 - 5:30pm

I'm very much to the Left politically but I am not keen on the idea of Ed Shultz representing my "side." His entire act is pretty contrived, to me.
I don't think any of these other guys are anywhere near offensive as Limbaugh is, but how hard is it to make a point, comically or politically or both, without being a misogynist jerk? It shouldn't be hard at all.

Mar 09 12 - 5:32pm

Every job I've had that had an orientation session that include anything on harassment in the workplace, made it quite clear that the intent is always overridden by the impression made.

If someone felt that what you said was harassment or denigrating then that's what it was, your intent didn't matter a bit.

So yes Louis CK's use of denigrating terms for women is harassment because there are women who find it as such.

Mar 09 12 - 10:12pm
el profe

Fortunately, one company's misguided policies don't rule the world.

Mar 10 12 - 10:26am

Not one company's policies.
Four different companies including the a state government.

Mar 09 12 - 5:47pm

what a cunt

Mar 09 12 - 6:51pm
Al Gore

You win at Internets!

Mar 09 12 - 7:31pm
hnicge ycar

Sticks and stones may break my bones....

Mar 09 12 - 9:36pm

As a flaming liberal, I completely agree with Greta. There's plenty of ammo we can use against politicians without resorting to misogynistic hate speech. Just because it's coming from a "cool" comedian that liberals love doesn't make this language any less nasty, sexist or played out. Really, with all the things you could throw at Palin, the best attack you can come up with is on her gender?

Pathetic from Rush, pathetic from Maher, and yes...pathetic from Louis.

A feminazi who won't be posting any online sex videos

Mar 09 12 - 10:13pm
el profe

Double damn.

Mar 09 12 - 10:22pm

I think the mistake is thinking that Louis is misogynist when really he's a misanthropist. He hates everybody, including himself, equally.

Mar 09 12 - 11:14pm

I'm a diehard Louis fan and anyone who is even remotely familiar with his work would know he's got some of the most progressive comedy out there right now.

Mar 11 12 - 5:19am

So when a man calls a woman a cunt, it's reprehensible misogyny, but when a woman calls a man a pig, it's a heartwarming display of how far our society has come?

Mar 11 12 - 5:57am
Big Tony

Louis only likes the word cunt because of its rich, thick sound, he doesn't even think it should be used to describe a vagina. His standup is also brilliant because he deconstructs masculinity as a whole by contrasting his own ingrained responses and deeply-felt feelings about things like women and his kids with the way he knows he should respond and feel. And you can't compare that with calling Sandra Fluke a slut because Rush Limbaugh doesn't in any way intend that to reflect negatively on himself, while the underlying theme of almost all Louis' material of this type is how repulsive he finds his own behavior. Also the man has bits that would blow Greta Van Susteren's mind if she could grasp them at all.
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Mar 12 12 - 3:28pm
Sam in LV

Expect a lot more of this type of rhetoric if Hillary ever becomes President. Not because she is a woman, but because of her anti-male beliefs. Listen to her long enough and she'll make Greta seem open-minded.

Mar 13 12 - 10:59pm
Al Dente

Wow. As a woman, I have to say, I never insomuch as for a minute thought of Louis CK's work to be misogynist. Every comedian used derogatory words against EVERY group! Comedy is funny because it is the only outlet for political incorrectness. A female comedian can call a man an asshole in a sketch but he can't use the C-word? Really? People need to get over themselves.