A month after making a much-criticized return to the stage of the Comedy Cellar in New York, Louis C.K. made another appearance at the famed Greenwich Village comedy club on the weekend.
A favourite performance spot for many top comics, the Comedy Cellar was featured in the comedian’s FX series “Louie”. On Sunday, he jumped on stage for an unannounced set.
According to audio shared on Twitter by the Hollywood Reporter, the audience welcomed him with rapturous applause despite the sexual misconduct allegations — and his subsequent admission that “these stories are true” — that have kept him out of the public eye for nearly a year.
Huffpost contacted two members of the audience, who both pointed out that the comedian didn’t address the accusations that were levelled against him by several female comics.
“When [Louis C.K.] got up he expressed gratitude for the cellar/audience having him, and that he knows not everybody is happy about him performing,” audience member James Richards wrote in an email, noting the comedian never actually apologized or addressed his sexual misconduct charges.
Another person at the show, who requested anonymity, corroborated that, adding that he “made a joke about how it wasn’t ‘unanimous’ that people were excited to see him… He talked about how he took a ‘really long break’ and was coming back now, but beyond those two mentions, didn’t really acknowledge his past/the allegations.”
Meanwhile, a report in the New York Post quoted another source who said that there were some walkouts when he took to the stage.
“He went on around midnight,” said the source. “A few women walked out. He didn’t address [the #MeToo allegations against him]. He was a little arrogant … he made some comment like, ‘I’ve been off for a while, ‘cause everyone needs a break.’”
The anonymous source told Huffpost that some of his jokes “made people uncomfortable mainly because of the context,” particularly one joke about taking his nine-year-old daughter to Old Navy “and seeing that they have boyfriend shirts for nine-year-old girls, and then graphically describing, ‘Oh, is my nine-year-old supposed to be f**king her boyfriend all night and taking his shirt?’ and another was about how much he liked ‘his doctor touching him.’ He had a Freudian slip, saying ‘I love it when my father touches me’ (instead of doctor).”
According to that audience member, while some members of the crowd laughed and cheered, others appeared to feel “some discomfort because of his past and how some of his jokes kind of [came close to] the line… I talked to a few women sitting near me afterwards, and they described a similar sense of tenuous discomfort, like, ‘Is it OK to laugh at this?’ especially some of the edgier jokes.”
Australian comedian Hannah Gadsby, who shared her own experiences of sexual abuse in her critically acclaimed Netflix standup special “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette”, had some scathing words about the disgraced comedian’s latest comeback attempt.
In a tweet issued on Monday, Gadsby wrote that Louis C.K. is “still better at gripping his own genitals than the concept of consent,” comparing him to controversial Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh by lamenting a world in which “the punchline still gets to be the comedian and the criminal still gets to be the judge.”