Comedian Louis C.K. reportedly performed sets at multiple New York City comedy clubs this week, where spectators said he briefly addressed the allegations that he abused his power to force several women comedians to watch him masturbate. C.K. hasn’t made public comment about the allegations him since issuing an apology for his actions last November.
According to Laughspin, C.K. performed at the West Side Comedy Club, Caroline’s, and the Comedy Cellar, the famous comedy club where he made his controversial return to the comedy scene in August. During his performance at West Side Comedy Club, host and fellow comedian AMarie Castillo said that Louis C.K. opened by saying that it had “been a weird year,” and that he had been to “hell and back” — before segueing into a joke about how he met Hitler while he was there. According to a source who attended the set, Louis C.K. also joked that he had “lost $35 million in an hour.”
While the comedian has largely been welcomed back into the male-dominated scene without too much protest — Castillo said that she had been excited to introduce him and that the audience was “in awe” of the “great comedian. C.K.’s return to the Comedy Cellar was controversial enough that the club introduced a policy to allow visitors to leave mid-set (without having to pay for drinks) after some patrons complained that they were blindsided by his unscheduled appearance. When Louis C.K. performed at the club in September, two patrons reportedly took advantage of the new policy.
Speaking with The New York Times’ podcast The Daily, Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman said that he felt it was impractical to expect C.K. to abandon his career.
“People who feel that he should never work again, when they hear the ovation that has been recorded and released of him going onstage, they will feel repulsed by a society that seems to not take what they feel seriously enough,” he said. “Other people who believe in redemption, who believe in forgiveness, in second chances and these kinds of things, they might take the message that ‘Good, we have a society that manages to dole out punishment while at the same time forgiving sinners.’”
While no comedy clubs have outright banned C.K. from performing, at least one club booker, Candi Clare of Stand Up NY, said that she “would say ‘no’” if he tried to casually walk in and perform a guest spot.
“As a comedy booker, I feel consistent pressure to not only put together the best lineup specific to our room for our audiences, but I also feel a loyalty to comics to create a safe and creative space,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I wouldn’t make a scene, I wouldn’t call attention to it. I would simply say, ‘I’m afraid it’s not possible.’”