Comedians divided on Louis C.K. making standup comeback

While Louis C.K. reportedly received a standing ovation upon his standup return at the Comedy Cellar on Saturday, not everyone was thrilled to see the comedian’s comeback so soon — or at all.

In November 2017, the 50-year-old confessed to masturbating in front of or while on the phone with several women, some of whom he worked with.

“Louis CK getting a standing ovation for dropping in to a comedy club less than a year after admitting to sexual misconduct tells you all you need to know about how society applauds powerful men for doing less than the minimum of decency,” comedian Aparna Nancherla tweeted Tuesday.

Standup comedian Elayne Boosler concurred, writing, “Louis CK, the comic known for ‘exploring reality,’ last nite performed ‘typical Louis C.K. stuff’ — racism, waitresses’ tips, parades.’ WTF?”

Comedy writer and TV producer Owen Ellickson claimed that C.K. hadn’t actually made amends for how deeply his offenses allegedly went within the comedy community, tweeting, “… he HASN’T acknowledged the fifteen years he & his team spent lying, story-killing and (in at least one case) intimidating.”

Others pointed out that comics who were accused of stealing jokes, like Dane Cook (who was of accused lifting from C.K. himself, which they acknowledged on “Louie”), faced longer backlash than C.K. did for masturbating in front of women without consent.

“If Louis CK had stolen jokes, he’d be a f—king pariah. But instead he stole careers and passion and trust from possibly brilliant comedians — women that we’ll never get to hear from — and that is worse. Or it should be,” writer Jason Fillatrault quipped.

Standup comic and late night writer Laurie Kilmartin, who previously wrote an essay about C.K.’s sexual misconduct titled titled “Being a Female Comic in Louis C.K.’s World,” weighed on by tweeting, “You know how white people sound when they tell black people, ‘just do what the cop tells you to do?’ That’s how men sound when they tell women to ‘just leave’ if they’re cornered in a room by a famous guy who starts masturbating.”

Still, some believe that the free market should ultimately decide the professional fate of the disgraced “I Love You Daddy” star.

Comedian and actor Michael Ian Black became a trending topic when he wrote, “Will take heat for this, but people have to be allowed to serve their time and move on with their lives. I don’t know if it’s been long enough, or his career will recover, or if people will have him back, but I’m happy to see him try.”

He added, “I will say only that I’m not going to defend what he did or what he lost or what his punishment ‘ought to be.’ I’m only saying that we’re in uncharted waters and we need to figure out how to move forward … I’ll just make the point that, unlike other careers, when he does stand-up, Louis works for the audience. They will determine if he’s welcome or not. And the answer may very well be that he’s not.”

Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman wasn’t present for C.K.’s set, but told the New York Times that he was surprised C.K. came back to the comedy stage this quickly.

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