Female Comic on Louis C.K.'s Latest Set: "He Addressed That He Did Something Wrong"
West Side Comedy Club host AMarie Castillo tells The Hollywood Reporter how C.K. "acknowledged how it's been tough for him" since being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
After two controversial sets at the Comedy Cellar in New York City, Louis C.K. finally addressed his #MeToo scandal during a recent stand-up performance at the West Side Comedy Club. Comic AMarie Castillo — who hosts regularly at the Manhattan establishment and welcomed C.K. to the stage last Wednesday — spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the comedian's latest comeback show.
"He didn't specifically address what he did, but he did seem to admit to doing wrong and it was clear that he's just trying to figure out his life. He talked about his life over the past year and acknowledged how it's been tough for him," Castillo tells THR. "And he spoke about how weird it's been. He talked about how everything, what happened to him in public, has affected his family. He spoke about losing lots of money because of everything."
She adds: "Louis was very sincere and genuine about it all."
After C.K. failed to address the sexual misconduct allegations that were leveled against him during his August performance at the Comedy Cellar, both C.K. and the club were widely criticized over the attempted comeback. When he returned to the Comedy Cellar in September, C.K. again did not address the claims made against him last fall. However, a source told THR that he received a "warm greeting" from the crowd during his second Comedy Cellar set.
Similarly, Castillo says that C.K.'s 15-minute set at the West Side Comedy Club was met with enthusiasm and acclaim. "People loved it. They were clapping. People were thrilled to see him back and they were very vocal about that," she recounts, adding that patrons "didn't receive a warning" about C.K.'s surprise set. "But they didn't need to because it was a really positive response. No one walked out."
Castillo learned of C.K.'s performance shortly before he arrived to the comedy club, but the owners checked in with her to "make sure I was comfortable" being around him. "Let me say, I was honored to introduce him," she says.
Castillo also reveals she had no prior conversations with C.K. or the West Side Comedy Club owners about the material that C.K. would cover during his set. "The only thing he seemed worried about was people recording him with their cellphones," she says. "He just said, 'Please make sure people don't record me.' But that's normal for comedians."
Before C.K. hit the stage, Castillo says she experienced some nerves given the Comedy Cellar backlash. "As a female, I just thought, 'Wow, this is going to be interesting,'" she says. "I was excited and anxious to see what he was going to do because he has this platform where he could make a difference in the world if he wanted. I think men can change. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and it was relieving when he addressed that he did something wrong."
Aside from addressing the #MeToo allegations, C.K.'s set was "dark and dirty," says Castillo. "He brought up his notebook and tried out some new jokes. It was like the old Louis C.K., weird, out-there stuff."
C.K. was accused by five women of masturbating in front of them in a New York Times story written by one of the journalists who wrote the first exposé on sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein last November. C.K. later admitted to the allegations. While the comic made an appearance at the Olive Tree Cafe restaurant above the Comedy Cellar in February, C.K. was largely shunned by comedy clubs after the allegations made headlines.
Castillo tells THR that it's "tricky" giving C.K. a platform, but she believes he "deserves" another shot. "I do believe he did abuse his power, but unlike other people, I think he's owning up to it and trying to move forward with his life," she says. "He's apologized. He's taken off a year. I do think he deserves another chance to prove himself."
Although she would like to see C.K. come back to the West Side Comedy Club, Castillo says she would also like to see him make a tangible effort to publicly support women.
"It would be cool if he performed with a female and raised money and then donated it to benefit women's organizations. I don't know if he wants to, but he could set an example for other men who have messed up," she says. "We need to move forward. I like that women are stepping up to make a change, but men need to as well. Louis C.K. could and should do that."