It’s nearly been a year since #MeToo exposed many of Hollywood’s ugliest secrets last fall, with troves of women, and men, coming forward to reveal the names of their well-known sexual harassers and abusers. One of those names was Louis C.K., whose sexual misconduct had long been rumored in the comedy world. But 10 months since his downfall, the actor and comedian has begun to peek his head out of #MeToo jail, deciding enough time has passed for him to make his return.
After five women accused C.K. of sexual misconduct last fall, he soon admitted to the allegations, and was just as quickly wiped from Hollywood and the comedy scene. His upcoming film was shelved (a film that all-too-closely referenced the allegations), his Netflix special was canceled, and he was removed from the many series he served on as producer. But now he’s trying to make his comeback. The New York Times reports that on Sunday night, C.K. made a surprise appearance at Manhattan’s Comedy Cellar, the famous club seen in the opening credits for FX’s Louie.
According to the Cellar’s staff and owner, Noam Dworman, C.K. did a 15-minute set of his “typical Louis C.K. stuff,” which the Times cites as jokes about racism, waitresses’ tips, and parades. Dworman, who was asleep at the time of the unannounced appearance, but watched C.K.’s set later from a tape, said the material was “really, really good.” Perhaps most surprising (or maybe not if you’re aware of the kind of world we live in), the sold-out crowd greeted C.K.’s appearance “warmly,” even giving him an ovation before he began. An ovation to a man who had admitted to years of predatory behavior, and to forcing women to watch him masturbate. Are human’s great?
Last November, five women told the Times of various uncomfortable encounters they had with the comedian, which included C.K. exposing himself and masturbating in front of them. The next day, C.K. published a statement admitting that the stories from the five women were true. He closed that letter by writing, “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” Apparently that “long time” was a mere 10 months.