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Stand-up comedian Louis C.K. on Tuesday night gave a 70-minute performance at Le Theatre de L’Oeuvre in Paris, where he was the main billing on an English-language showcase called “New York Comedy Night,” headed by expat comic Sebastian Marx.
The show, which was discreetly announced earlier in the day, was the first official Louis C.K. performance after two advertised sets at the Comedy Cellar in New York last week.
After admitting to masturbating in front of multiple women, the former Louie star gradually began returning to comedy stages this summer. The fact that those appearances had not been announced sparked criticism over his attempted comeback and the effect he could have on unsuspecting patrons. He then performed his first official sets at New York’s Comedy Cellar and was greeted by two female protestors.
There were no hecklers or protestors outside the Paris venue, which was filled to the brim with fans who gave the comic a warm welcome and even brought him back onstage for an encore.
One member of the audience was Louis C.K.’s new girlfriend, 41-year-old French actress and stand-up Blanche Gardin, whose provocative Netflix special Je Parle Toute Seule (I Talk to Myself) and various TV appearances — including a sketch at 2017’s Cesar Awards ceremony where she wore a Louis C.K. button on her dress — have turned her into a local sensation.
Photos of C.K. and Gardin holding hands appeared in the French press a few weeks ago, with the American comic acknowledging the relationship during his Paris set. “I’ve been dating this woman, and she’s French,” he said before going on to make several jokes about France, including that “any shitty American is welcome here.”
Louis C.K. began with material that he has been trying out during surprise sets performed in New York over the past few months, making reference to the fallout from sexual misconduct charges he faced a year ago in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
“So what kind of year have you guys had?” he began, after which he admitted that he “had a lot of trouble in the PR department” and “lost $35 million in an hour,” comparing his financial calamity to a bout of uncontrollable diarrhea.
The rest of the set, which lasted a full hour and was followed by a 10-minute encore, had the comic joking about everything from Adolf Hitler taking selfies to a visit to Marcel Proust’s grave and the way wheelchairs are advertised in the windows of pharmacies.
Throughout the performance, the comedian kept referencing a stack of loose-leaf papers he brought with him onstage, testing one new joke after another and launching into the raunchier material that he’s been famous for.
“Why do black guys have such big dicks?” is how he started one part of the show. “It’s a philosophical question,” he quipped.
Other topics included: “Do you ever wonder how many people fucked your mom?” and “Do you think there are some people who miss when it was wrong to be gay?” There was also a bit where C.K. pondered how he would behave in a world where having sex with children was considered legal.
The crowd, which was a mix of Parisians and expats, reacted enthusiastically to his set, with some spectators offering him a standing ovation as he left the stage. Gardin watched the show from the balcony and was thanked at the end by host Marx, who mentioned in closing that C.K. was only supposed to perform for 20 minutes, but wound up doing more than three times that.