Michael Ian Black Defends Louis C.K. From Rush Limbaugh Comparison After Comedian Drops From RTCC Host Job

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The comedian's friend says that grouping together the TV star and the conservative host is a false equivalence.

According to Michael Ian Black, Louis C.K. may have once made offensive comments about Sarah Palin, but he's no Rush Limbaugh.

C.K. on Friday stepped down from a scheduled keynote speech at the annual Radio and Television Congressional Correspondents dinner; the day before, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren wrote on her blog that she wouldn't attend the event if he hosted, citing a drunken Twitter rant the comedian went on in September 2010 in which he made offensive, crude remarks about Palin. Black says comparing C.K. to Limbaugh, who has been embroiled in controversy over sexist remarks he made about Sandra Fluke, is a step too far.

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"Did Louis cross the line? Yeah. Did Bill Maher? Yeah. Have I at times? Yeah. Has Greta Van Susteren ever crossed the line? Have you, in your personal conversations? Yeah. We all have," Black wrote on his blog on Friday. "The difference is context. Do a Google search of the horrible shit Rush Limbaugh has said about women. Then do a search on Louis C.K. See if it’s comparable. Louis did use those words, and opted to drop out of an incestuous Washington dinner party rather than make himself the focus of this recurring debate on language."

Black's comments are the first admission that C.K. did drop out of the event because of Van Susteren's criticism and the potential firestorm it represented; previously, one of his representatives told CNN that he "just didn't feel like doing it anymore."

In an interview with GQ that ran in August, C.K. said he regretted the remarks, not because they were offensive, but because it lumped him in with political comedians and earned him partisan scorn. He said his tweets were motivated by his anger over Palin's treatment of her son Trigg, who has Down syndrome, and felt guilty about an e-mail he had received from the father of a child with the affliction.

"All that other shit, though -- saying Palin had a Chinese family in her vagina and whatever -- I don't regret that," he said." It's comedy. I have said many indefensible things onstage. It's f---ing comedy. Plus, I do believe if she got elected, she'd really Hitler up the place."