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After a handful of unannounced and controversial stand-up appearances, Louis C.K. performed his first official set at New York’s Comedy Cellar Monday night. Outside, the comedian was greeted by protesters.
“When you support Louis C.K. you tell women your laughter is more important than their sexual assaults and loss of their careers,” read one sign held by a woman outside the Manhattan venue. “Does this sign make you uncomfortable, Louis?” read another, according to posts on social media.
Monday night marked the first time C.K.’s stand-up set was advertised since he was accused of sexual misconduct at the height of the #MeToo movement last fall. After admitting to masturbating in front of multiple women without their consent, the Louie star gradually began returning to comedy stages this summer. The appearances had not been announced, sparking criticism over both his attempted comeback and the triggering effect he could have on unsuspecting patrons.
For this latest appearance, however, C.K. was added to the bill for both the 9:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. shows.
After backlash over C.K.’s first surprise appearance at Comedy Cellar in August, owner Noam Dworman added a “Swim at Your Own Risk” policy where attendees could ask for refunds “if an unannounced appearance is not your cup of tea.” The owner, whose club has long hosted C.K., wouldn’t rule out inviting him back to the stage. It wasn’t until an October performance, however, that C.K. finally addressed his behavior and the allegations against him.
During Monday’s set, according to the New York Times, C.K. similarly made reference to his #MeToo scandal. “So what kind of year have you guys had?” he reportedly said to open his set. “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.”
The Times‘ Sopan Deb attended the set and spoke with the two female protesters and attendees after the show. The show was sold out, and excited pedestrians tried to get stand-by tickets. Inside, the crowd greeted C.K. warmly.
“I need to make jokes because I need an income,” C.K. said during his set, repeating the joke that he lost $35 million in an hour. “Hard things, you survive them or you don’t. I think even hell you can survive. Hell is not that bad. I’ve been there.”
Of the two women who protested the show, one patron told Deb, “I respect those women for doing that. But was I ready to, like, leave a show for that? I don’t think so.”
Comedy Central launched a weekly show with the Comedy Cellar, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, that features comics who perform during the week. The show premiered on Friday. C.K. will not be featured on any upcoming shows, THR can confirm.
C.K. had been listed as a performer for Tuesday’s 11:30 p.m. show, but he has since been removed from the lineup listed on the website.
A protester outside the Comedy Cellar tonight before Louis CK takes the stage for his second billed show of the night. pic.twitter.com/inNwuog1V3
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 30, 2018
Oct. 30, 11 a.m. Updated that C.K. has been removed from Tuesday’s lineup.
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