UPDATE: July 20
If Willard agrees to enroll in what’s called an Alternative Prosecution Program, Willard will not charged for lewd conduct, according to TMZ. The course runs two weeks and would cover the laws related to Willard’s alleged offense. No word on whether the comedian will enroll. We also wonder if PBS will change their mind about his firing.
Fred Willard, improv comic and 72 year-old veteran of film and television, was arrested for suspicion of engaging in a lewd act at an adult theater in Los Angeles last night, and as a result was quickly fired by PBS, on which he narrates a new show called Market Warriors.
“Given the unfortunate news reported today, effective immediately, Fred Willard no longer will be involved with the ‘Market Warriors’ series,” a PBS rep said. Mark Walberg, host of Antiques Roadshow will replace Willard, re-voicing all the episodes Willard already worked on, according to the New York Times.
An undercover officer caught Willard with his penis exposed during a screening, and arrested him at around 8:30 pm. He was booked and shortly after released from a Hollywood police station.
Willard is also currently the host of the new ABC improv show Trust Us With Your Life. No word yet on whether his job is safe there. Willard’s best known for his work in the Christopher Guest mockumentaries, like This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, as well as his roles in Anchorman, Wall-E and Everybody Loves Raymond.
The arrest and the firing is ridiculous. These adult theaters exist for a reason. Why else would you watch porn in a theater — and not on one of the 12 billion sites that exist online — if you weren’t going to tug it around a bunch of strangers? Either shut these venues down, or let Fred Willard (or whoever) drain the poison from his member. As long as the diddler brings along an absorbent cloth and is respectful of his fellow theater-goers and jerk-artists, I think it’s ok. And by the way, who can he possibly be offending by whipping his junk out at a room dedicated to the showing of people fucking?
UPDATE: Willard’s lawyer, Paul Takakjian says, “With all due respect to the individual officer, our belief is that Fred did nothing in any violation of any law. We will be working vigorously to clear his name in this matter.”