'How do you think the women in that room felt? It’s just really frustrating.'
For the first time since being accused by five women of sexual harassment last year, stand-up comedian Louis C.K. has returned to the stage. It was revealed that C.K., who owned up to the allegations, performed on Sunday night at the Comedy Cellar in New York and people have been incredibly divided about the situation.
So, what actually happened? Well, according to a The Hollywood Reporter interview with the club’s owner Noam Dworman, the comedian showed up at the club without warning and ‘told the emcee that he wanted to go on’ despite it not being an open mic night. Apparently, Dworman said C.K. had performed at an earlier gig at another comedy club called Governor’s of Levittown which ‘he apparently wasn’t happy with’ before showing up at the Comedy Cellar.
The New York Times claims that Louis C.K. performed for a total of 15 minutes for a crowd of 115 people. Dworman (who wasn’t there, but heard audio and spoke to staff after the performance) said that the comedian was greeted by a standing ovation even before he began to perform and was received warmly, however he did receive a complaint from somebody who was there on the night.
As for how his performance played out? Disappointingly, as it seems like he fell back on his own material. He even kept in a joke about rape whistles according to two women who were in attendance on the night, which sounds like sheer arrogance to us. The women confirmed to Vulture that the room was incredibly warm and one characterised the room as being full of ‘aggressive men in the audience and very quiet women’.
One of them said, ‘There were at least four to five females that I could see, and three or four of them were not having it. They were just looking at him, deadpan, straight, not having it.’
‘Our voice is definitely not going to be prioritized in that space,’ she continued. ‘[Dworman] says we can’t [have a discourse] properly. How do you think the women in that room felt? It’s just really frustrating.’
Unsurprisingly, many on Twitter were not having it. Some pointed out how Louis C.K.’s sudden appearance at the club was troubling in itself, as he it seems like he used his power as a famous comedian to forcibly create stage time for himself and also didn’t give the audience a choice in the matter. (Dworman revealed that one customer ‘felt really upset by it and said he felt ambushed’ in his Hollywood Reporter interview.)
And well, it wasn’t hard for people to draw parallels with the allegations against him in which he apparently cornered his female staffers and other comediennes and forced them to watch him masturbate.
Others also gave advice on what we as an audience can do when placed in a similar situation.
And others also criticised Louis C.K. for failing to address the allegations against him at all in his set, as well as the fact that there haven’t actually been any legal repercussions.
Dworman also weighed in on the fact that falling back on his own material was ‘a missed opportunity’ for Louis C.K.. C.K., who was accused by five women of sexual misconduct in a New York Times article in 2017, admitted that the allegations were true in a Twitter statement and said he would now ‘step back and take a long time to listen’.
Dworman said to The Hollywood Reporter, ‘What [Louis C.K.] didn’t do is that he didn’t go on and address the issue — he just went on and did a regular set. And I think that was a missed opportunity for him. I think that for a man who signed off from the public with this promise to, “I’ve talked for a long time, now I’m going to listen,” he created the expectation of, “Well, now you’re back after nine months, what did you learn?”’
And well, we’re asking the same question. What did you learn, Louis C.K. – if anything at all?