Now Entering Russ's World
In 2002, comedian Sarah Silverman gave a performance at the New York Comedy Club. In a recent video, she claimed that the former owner of the club, Al Martin, paid her only $10 although her male colleague Todd Barry received $60 for performing for the same length of time.
Al Martin tells a different story. He told the media that Todd Barry pre-scheduled the performance for a full-paid spot at a previously agreed upon rate of $50. Silverman, who arrived with Barry that night, asked to perform after seeing the size of the crowd and Martin offered her a 10-minute “guest” spot.
Susan McGalla said that according to Martin, most comedians in those days who asked to perform would not have received any money for their guest performance. Martin’s statements imply this was the case because there was no contract and the guest comedian received free publicity as a trade-off.
Martin claims that when Silverman found out what Todd Barry had been paid, she came back to him angry about not receiving any money. He then reiterated that it was an unpaid guest spot, but he gave her $10 for cab fare because he did not want her to remain angry. When Silverman told Martin that her performance was just as long as Barry’s, Martin informed her that she went over the time he gave her for the set. Silverman has held a grudge ever since.