NEW YORK – Scandal-scarred comic Louis C.K. returned to the stand-up stage Sunday for his first performance since he owned up to committing sexual misconduct multiple times.
C.K. – who admitted last November to masturbating in front of multiple women without their consent – made a surprise appearance at the West Village’s famed Comedy Cellar, according to The New York Times.
The comedian, 50, performed for 15 minutes after taking the stage at approximately 11 p.m. in front of a sold-out crowd. The comedy club’s owner, Noam Dworman, told the newspaper that C.K.’s routine centered on “typical Louis C.K. stuff” such as racism and waitresses’ tips.
“It sounded just like he was trying to work out some new material, almost like any time of the last 10 years he would come in at the beginning of a new act,” he said.
C.K.’s surprise set was reportedly met with an ovation at the club, but Dworman says a patron called the next day and expressed that he would’ve liked to know about the comedian’s appearance ahead of time so he could consider whether to attend.
Five women came forward to accuse C.K. of sexual misconduct last year in a report published by The New York Times, including two who claimed the comedian masturbated in front of them and another who believed C.K. pleasured himself while he spoke on the phone to her.
C.K. confirmed shortly afterward that the accusations detailed in the report were true. He was subsequently fired by FX, and the release of his movie “I Love You, Daddy” was canceled.
Many on social media condemned C.K.’s return to performing, including actress Clementine Ford.
“It’s been 9 months since #LouisCK admitted to sexually harassing women,” she tweeted, referencing the ovation CK received from the audience. “Don’t worry though, allegations destroy men’s careers.”
Comedian Ian Karmel shared a similar sentiment, writing, “Louis CK being ‘banished’ from stand-up comedy wasn’t some kind of petty punishment, it was a f — -ing workplace safety issue.”
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