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Louis C.K. won’t quit.
If at first you can’t win back audiences’ affections after admitting to ruining the careers of several women by masturbating in front of them, try and try again.
This appears to be the mantra of Louis C.K., who performed his second set at New York’s Comedy Cellar club within a month-and-a-half of reappearing after a months-long hiatus in August. And despite being told, overwhelmingly, that his comedic services are no longer needed, nor welcome, in the entertainment industry, C.K. is driven to once again disregard the wishes of the people in the room with him.
According to the New York Times, C.K. performed his second Comedy Cellar set on Sunday, Sept. 30, amid a new “policy” “implemented” by club management for audiences to “swim at your own risk.” On club emails and inside the establishment, a message warns attendees that any comic may pop in at any time to crowd test their material. If the audience member does not like this surprise guest, they may choose to leave the club quietly, with their tab taken care of by the club.
The club ownership adopted this most neutral responsibility-onus-avoiding policy regarding the allowance of admitted sexual harassers and assailants inside the club after C.K.’s last performance in August. That show was C.K.’s first since he admitted to masturbating in front of several women, driving some of them from continuing their careers in comedy, in November.
According to HuffPost, C.K. didn’t specifically address his sexual misconduct but did say he took a “really long break” and is coming back, despite the crowd reaction not being “unanimous” excitement. While Page Six reported that at least two women walked out of the show, other audience members told HuffPost that they didn’t see anyone leave.
A recording published by the Hollywood Reporter appears to show the audience praising the performer’s introduction.
Listen to the reception Louis C.K. received when he returned to New York's Comedy Cellar for another surprise set late Sunday night: pic.twitter.com/7uBw846xIX
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 1, 2018
“I talked to a few women sitting near me afterwards, and they described a similar sense of tenuous discomfort, like, ‘Is it OK to laugh at this?’ especially some of the edgier jokes,” one of the audience members told the publication.
However, it seems not even the most vocal of protestations could keep C.K. from following his dreams of rebounding in a career that has wholeheartedly rejected him, after having served his time (read: hidden from the public while remaining uncharged for several sex crimes).
It seems comedy and entertainment Twitter is still maintaining a resemblance of accountability on the industry’s behalf.
so, as always, the burden is placed NOT on Louis CK (to just sell tickets to his own show instead of "dropping in" at the Cellar) or on the comedic establishment ("swim at your own risk!") but on the all-but-captive audience https://t.co/azn3Z9kLWs
— Jessica Goldstein (@jessicagolds) October 2, 2018
Apparently Louis CK is going to keep trying to force a comeback, and judging by the reaction in-house he'll probably succeed and I just hate every single thing about this. https://t.co/F3nMzsz164
— Disco Stu (@discostu) October 2, 2018
— amy bettys (@amybettys) October 2, 2018
JESUS CHRIST LOUIS CK, GO THE HELL AWAY
— Joseph Lamour (@lamour) October 2, 2018
Louis CK is back whether you like it or you just stand there laughing nervously because you can’t believe what’s happening to you.
— Vicky Kuperman (@vickykuperman) October 2, 2018
there are SO MANY women, poc, trans, lgbt+ etc comedians (and even just non-abusers!) you can go to bat for instead of louis ck, christ
— venice bitch (@marianne_eloise) October 2, 2018
Sure Louis CK can work again, I heard Walmart’s hiring. https://t.co/kkTYQ9ZwSS
— Katelyn Burns (@transscribe) October 2, 2018
Louis CK: "Now?"
Louis CK [5 minutes later]: "…OK, now?"
— Michael Boulerice (@Therealkfm) October 2, 2018
Alas, C.K.’s comeback tour, as well as those of other powerful men who also abused their power, is likely far from over.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.