Disgraced comedian Louis C.K. continued his comeback tour Monday night in New York City, but this time it came with a couple of new twists: First of all, his set was publicized instead of being a surprise at the end of a show like his previous appearances since he resurfaced had been; and because word got out about his performance, a couple of protesters were on hand to give him a piece of their mind.
C.K. appeared at the Comedy Cellar, the iconic West Village club where he first gave an unannounced performance in late August after spending about nine months out of the public eye. Unlike his previous appearances, this one was advertised on the bill in front of the club, and two women showed up to protest as well, Sopan Deb, a New York Times correspondent and stand-up comic, reported.
The two women were 37-year-old Jennifer Boudinot and 27-year-old Lana McCrea, who describes herself as an “activist lawyer” in her Twitter bio. She carried a sign that read, “Does this sign make you uncomfortable, Louie?” and Boudinot held a sign that read, “When you support Louis C.K., you tell women your laughter is more important than their sexual assaults and loss of their careers.”
“Frankly, I was furious,” Boudinot told the Times. “Every female comedian he has harmed deserves a place on the Comedy Cellar stage one hundred times before he should be allowed back on the stage.” McCrea was dismayed that C.K. was performing also. As she noted on Twitter, comedian Michelle Wolfe also performed at the same show, another thing that left her disappointed, she said, though she allowed that “I don’t think women should continue to suffer for men’s actions.”
— Lana (@outlawlana) October 30, 2018
According to Deb’s report, C.K. received a warm welcome from the audience and touched on some of the similar material he’s been working on in his previous performances, including telling jokes about having squandered $35 million “in an hour” and asking the audience: “So what kind of year have you guys had?” He followed up that question by observing, “They tell you that when you get in trouble you find out who your real friends are. It’s black people, it turns out. They’ll stick by you.” C.K. performed in both the 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. shows, as a photo of the bill in front of the club showed.
In November 2017, C.K. apologized for masturbating in front of several women colleagues over the years without ever obtaining their consent. His foray back into the comedy world has been controversial, though some, like Noam Dworman, the owner of the Comedy Cellar, have defended C.K.’s return to the stage. “We’ve taken a lot of criticism for surprising people with his unannounced performances,” Dworman said in a statement about Monday’s advertised show. “I’m afraid now we will be criticized for the opposite.
One woman who was in the audience told the Times afterward that she admired the demonstration by Boudinot and McCrea, but that she enjoyed the performance nevertheless. “I respect those women for doing that,” 36-year-old Maria Bocanegra said. “We respect that, totally. But was I ready to, like, leave a show for that? I don’t think so.”
Back in August, after news of his first surprise performance emerged, we ran a Twitter poll to gauge people’s response to his attempt at a comeback and 56 percent of Women in the World readers responded that it’s time for him to retire, while only 14 percent were ready to give him the green light to return.
Read the full story at The New York Times.