After nearly a year under the radar, Louis C.K. has been quietly attempting to mount a comeback after numerous women came forward about the now-disgraced comedian’s compulsion to ask women to watch while he pleasured himself. Appearing unannounced in New York City comedy clubs over the past few weeks, his appearances have generated controversy and outrage.
In a new interview with The New York Times, Jerry Seinfeld offers his opinion on why people aren’t ready for that particular comeback to happen — and it has nothing to do with not enough time having passed.
“It’s the way [C.K.] did it that I think people didn’t like. Some people didn’t like that he’s doing it at all,” Seinfeld tells the magazine of C.K.’s recent spate of comedy club appearances.
The way Seinfeld sees it, there’s a specific protocol the public expects disgraced celebrities to follow if they expect to be accepted back into their good graces — and the “Louie” star hasn’t completed all the expected steps.
“We know the routine: The person does something wrong. The person’s humiliated. They’re exiled. They suffer, we want them to suffer,” he continues. “We love the tumble, we love the crash and bang of the fall. And then we love the crawl-back. The grovel. Are you going to grovel? How long are you going to grovel? Are you going to cry? Are you going to Jimmy Swaggart. And people, I think, figured they had that coming with Louie — he owes us that. We, the court of public opinion, decided if he’s going to come back, he’d better show a lot of pain. Because he denied them that.”
As for how he thinks C.K. should attempt a comeback, Seinfeld has no advice to offer — other than that it needs to be done right.
“I can’t say what he should do. You do whatever you want. If he does it wrong, he’s going to suffer. And that’s his deal,” Seinfeld adds. “If there’s a crime here, and the law gets involved, that’s what the law is for. The laws of comedy, we kind of make them up as we go. Part of entertainment, sometimes, is the life of the person. We want that to entertain us, too, as part of the act. We like your show, and then we like your messed-up life. That entertains us as well.”
In the interview, Seinfeld also shares his thoughts on some other disgraced comedians, starting with Bill Cosby, currently serving a three to 10-year prison sentence after being found guilty of sexual assault.
Discussing Cosby, Seinfeld describes the sheer volume of accusations against him to be “too big a safe falling out of a window to ignore” after dozens of women came forward with similar stories of being drugged and then sexually assaulted by the once-beloved sitcom dad.
“The crash is too loud. The thing I think that’s new for people — let’s take Roseanne [Barr] and Cosby — is the suddenness and the precipitous fall,” Seinfeld says.
“So much work, gone so fast,” he adds. “We’re upset at the speed of it, because it’s new. I would say about Roseanne, I never saw anything that bad happen from a finger-tap on a screen. A whole career: gone.”