Andy Dick Film Banned by Chicago Comedy Film Festival in Light of Sexual Harassment Allegations


This morning our writer Sara Dahms broke the news that the comedic documentary “Everybody Has an Story” is being pulled from the Chicago Comedy Film Festival where the film was expected to be screened later this month, on November 11.

Sara was working with Cathy Carlson, the creator and director of the film which screened at Just for Laughs in Montreal this summer. The film features big names like Ben Stiller, Pauly Shore and Nick Swardson telling Andy Dick stories. Dahms had connected with her to help put together a live, stage version of “Everybody Has An Andy Dick Story” while she and Andy Dick are would be in town. Andy, of course, got his start in Chicago.

Then last week, news came that Dick was being let go from two independent film productions based on allegations of sexual assault that included alleged groping, licking people, and propositioning people. Dick denied the allegations saying that he did not grope anyone, and while he is prone to outrageous behavior, and certainly has flirted or asked people out, but he is not a sexual predator. “I might have kissed somebody on the cheek to say goodbye and then licked them. That’s my thing” — but denies that he did anything that would rise to a level of sexual harassment. “It’s me being funny. I’m not trying to sexually harass people.”

Whether there is more to the story or Dick was just swept up into the Weinstein effect remains to be seen. But in the meantime, The Chicago Comedy Film Festival wants no part of the controversy.

In a statement, the festival’s artistic director said that they will not contribute to a culture of victimization, and they aren’t waiting for the dust to settle to make a decision, and is leading the charge to start expecting more integrity in comedy.

“With the accusations being investigated we do not feel it is appropriate to showcase the documentary and have him attend our event. This goes beyond Andy Dick. Society and the film industry has been dealing with a black cloud of harassment and silence for too long. Chicago has had numerous allegations in our comedy community recently come to the surface with little public recognition. There are too many victims asking to be heard. Our festival does not want to be part of perpetuating or silencing this negative culture,” festival director Jessica Hardy said in her statement. “Comedy is often revered as an art form where you can cross the line. Andy Dick was known for doing just this,” she added. “Blurring lines and pushing boundaries can be funny. But sexual harassment is not, and never has or will be, funny. Now is the time to start expecting more integrity in entertainment, comedy and society. Our festival’s mission since day one has been to ‘champion comedy as a vital art form’ and we will continue to do that.”

Single ticket purchasers will be notified and given the option for an exchange or refund.

Despite the setback, the director of the film Cathy Carlson is still coming to Chicago with Andy and with the film, and will be showing it at another venue.

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