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Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
April 16, 2015 07:10 AM

Proving it’s never too late to say, “I’m sorry,” comedian Louis C.K. earned a warm response from former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin after apologizing to her for the vile things he Tweeted about her – almost five years ago.

In a Twitter rant that made news in 2010, Louis C.K. was drunk on a plane when he unleashed several obscene tweets about Palin.

“Maybe it surprises people, but I was sincerely humbled and appreciative,” Palin tells PEOPLE of her encounter with the comedian at the Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary special’s after-party in February.

As Louis C.K. told the story to Howard Stern on Wednesday, Palin was with her nephew, Payton McCann, a young stand-up comic waiting tables by day, when she told the professional comedian, “My nephew told me I have to say hi to you and you re the one guy I have to meet.”

Louis C.K. told Stern that he’s “never in a million years” apologized for any of his jokes before, but added that that night, “something came over me emotionally and I said, ‘Well, I owe you an apology.’ ”

That’s where Palin picks up the story: “I had to ask C.K. what it was he was apologizing for. …C.K. explained he’d said some things about me and was sorry, and went on with such a nice, humble apology. I laughed and said he didn’t need to apologize, for I hadn’t even heard it. Then I teased him that, ‘If you really did say nasty things about me, well, then you’re the only person to have ever said mean things about me, so for shame!’ ”

Sarah Palin and her nephew, Payton McCann
D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Palin says McCann, a “huge fan” of Louis C.K., subsequently sent her some of his material – “though Payton may have censored it before forwarding the bits” – and she found the Louie star to be a “very funny talent.”

The conservative firebrand, who doesn’t often find anything redeeming about Hollywood, is now a fan – of more than Louis C.K.’s stand-up.

“I wish I could have spoken with him longer. And again, I sincerely appreciated his unexpected and character-revealing apology,” she says. “I think he’s the only one in Hollywood who’s ever done that.”

And, the offer she made him at the party still stands: “Come fishing with me next time you’re in Alaska!”

Maybe it’s a mutual affection. Louis C.K. says he’d do it “in a heartbeat.”

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