SNL Host Louis C.K. during a monologue on April 8, 2017. Photo: Will Heath/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank (Getty Images)
You may have heard the news. Comedian Louis C.K. appears to be making a comeback. It’s up to the public whether or not it goes anywhere.
It was last fall when Louis C.K. admitted to the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in a New York Times piece. Five women came forward to describe the comedian‘s incredibly gross and despicable actions. It was a brave moment for them and a stunning blow to Louis C.K. and his fans.
Louis C.K. was one of the first high-profile men to go down in the wake of the revolutionary #MeToo movement. Although not handcuffed, Louis C.K. disappeared from the public spotlight, lost his TV show and a film, and became a prisoner of his own past. Until now.
A Polarizing Re-Appearance
The controversial comedian performed an unannounced set at the Comedy Cellar in New York City on Aug. 26, his first appearance since he admitted to previous sexual misconduct.
From the New York Times:
He appeared around 11 p.m., said Noam Dworman, the owner of the Cellar, the Greenwich Village club with a long tradition of surprise appearances by famous comedians. Dressed in a black V-neck T-shirt and gray pants, he did a 15-minute set that touched on what Mr. Dworman called “typical Louis C.K. stuff” — racism, waitresses’ tips, parades. “It sounded just like he was trying to work out some new material, almost like any time of the last 10 years he would come in at the beginning of a new act.”
Some have reported Louis C.K. paid a lot of money to make the appearance. He also allegedly received a large ovation before walking onto the stage. As you can imagine, the comedian’s reappearance was polarizing.
Dworman told the Times, “There can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.”
SNL star Michael Che also supported Louis C.K.’s comeback.
“‘omg! can you believe that guy went on with his life?!’ yes, megan. i can.” https://t.co/BCepTU20ab
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) August 29, 2018
As did fellow comedic actor Michael Ian Black.
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. https://t.co/QmqdGJnIjy
— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) August 28, 2018
However, Dworman did acknowledge he received at least one complaint from an audience member the following day. Many others weren’t having it.
Will take heat for this, but Louis C.K. is an admitted sexual predator and performing standup is a privilege, not something a sexual predator gets to take a break from until enough sanctimonious male comedians decide on Twitter that it’s time for his redemption. Bye!
— Megh Wright (@megh_wright) August 28, 2018
Just thinking out loud here, but I feel like Louis C.K.’s hiatus from comedy for what he did should have lasted longer than the bottle of ketchup in my fridge.
— L.D. Supreme (@DustyDrehmer) August 30, 2018
Everyone keeps asking WHEN Louis C.K. is allowed to have a career again.
Okay, I’ll decide it. Never. He never gets to have it again. He used his career to be a predator. He used it to sexually assault women and destroy their careers.
So since you ask, I’ll decide.
— Emma Evans (@TrancewithMe) August 29, 2018
This riveting piece on The Outline shares why Louis C.K. doesn’t deserve a second chance at all.
Here’s What Louis C.K. Should Do
So what’s next for Louis C.K.? Who knows. But what shouldn’t be next for Louis C.K. is comedy. Louis C.K. should do something else with his life. Continuing with stand-up comedy isn’t only inconsiderate, it’s reckless. Forgiveness is important, but so is responsibility. How can anyone in their right mind trust Louis C.K. around female employees or comedians ever again? Having him backstage in the presence of women is a workplace safety issue. There’s also nothing funny about a sexual predator, no matter how much time has passed.
Louis C.K. needs counseling. He needs a large support system of people to help him work through his issues. And even then, he needs to make a public effort, with his time and his money, to help non-profits that support victims of sexual assaults and their families. RAINN would be a good place to start.
Louis C.K.’s days as a comedian are over. And that’s okay. He has wealth. He’s experienced fame. Now, knowing what we know, it’s time he used all his fame and infamy to make a positive impact. While he wouldn’t be an appropriate spokesperson, there are other ways for him help his community.
Louis C.K. should move on with his life, but “moving on” shouldn’t include trying to pretend his past didn’t happen.