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“IN LONDON LAST WEEK, Mr. Thomas Reay dropped his defamation suit against Ms. Louise Beamont, which Reay had begun last February. He was demanding £30,000 for “breach of privacy and data protection.” Usually in this sort of set-to, one’s sympathy tends to drift toward the doxxee, not the doxxer. But in this case, the plaintiff was the husband of the defendant. No, it’s not a case of revenge porn. Louise Beamont is a stand-up comic, and her ex was suing her for using their married life as material in her act.
Until Reay’s suit, one would have thought comedians bitching about their spouses onstage was settled law. If there were a magna carta of comedy, it’s in there. Certainly U.S. precedent dates back to that 1960s landmark, Fang v. Phyllis Diller, or the Jurassic Period’s “Take my wife . . . please,” Henny Youngman v. Humanity. Marrying a comedian once meant giving up all right to dignity. For readers too young for the oeuvres of Diller and Youngman, see Amazon’s hit series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, loosely based on the early career of Joan Rivers. The everything-is-material clause also extends to children, parents, in-laws, pets, and any amusing dates the comic might have once endured. As the saying goes, “nobody’s safe.”
This past year was a big one for comedy divorces. The Beamont case coincided with another high-profile split: that of comedians in general and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and its once-coveted gig of hosting the Oscars. After news leaked a few weeks ago that the Academy was struggling to find a host for what’s now widely considered a lousy gig, comedian Kevin Hart took the job. Within days, he was forced out when the Twitter hivemind dug up a string of homophobic tweets and a 2010 routine from his Seriously Funny special riffing on the horror Hart assumes all straight men feel when they suspect their son might be gay. Hart offered an arrogant dismissal, basically saying that to bring up the issue at all meant you were the problem, not him. After he was swiftly cashiered, he did offer a somewhat sincerer apology.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."