News of Louis C.K.’s surprise attempt at making a comedy comeback late on Sunday night has been met mostly with scorn and ridicule. And now a few details about what his material was like are surfacing, which will likely lead to more condemnation for the redemption-seeking comic who last November admitted to masturbating in front of women colleagues without their consent.
Vulture writer Hunter Harris spoke with two women who were in the audience at the Comedy Cellar in New York City when C.K. unexpectedly jumped behind the microphone. The two audience members declined to identify themselves, but one recalled the scene like so: “The audience was very loud when Louis C.K. walked in. They were clearly supportive and surprised when he showed up, but there were a number of women sitting in the front row.” She said some of the women in the front clearly appeared to be put off by C.K.’s surprise appearance.
As for the material, well, one of the women said, it was par for the course for a Louis C.K. comedy bit. Things got uncomfortable, she said, though when C.K. trotted out a rape whistle joke. “When he said ‘rape whistle,’ people were laughing, and I was just sitting there like oh my fuck. This is so uncomfortable and so disgusting. Everyone around me was laughing. That was just depressing.”
Noam Dworman, the owner of the Comedy Cellar, an iconic haunt in Manhattan’s West Village that he inherited from his father, has been in full damage control mode since word of C.K.’s abrupt return from exile began spreading. On dissatisfied customer who emailed Dworman to say he was unsubscribing from the club’s mailing list, posted the response he got from the owner on Twitter.
Responded to an old Comedy Cellar marketing email to say I was unsubscribing due to the Louis CK nonsense and the owner immediately responded with this (guessing that's all he's doing today). The thing is, though? Nah. pic.twitter.com/L8zeaNtyhD
— Bill (@Bill_TPA) August 28, 2018
“I apologize because I take absolute liability for any unhappy customer,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “I explained to [the one unhappy customer that emailed] almost in the same way as I explained to you why we did what we did and how it happened. I was sorry that he was ambushed and I invited him to come back and to meet me,” Dworman said. He also added that the debacle has left him wary about the state of free expression in the U.S., saying, “This is a dark period for discourse in this country.”
As for the two women, they thought the performance sent a bad message to female audience members. “How do you think the women in that room felt?” they wondered to Vulture. “It’s just really frustrating.”
Read the full story at Vulture.