Kathy Griffin, Padma Lakshimi and more are slamming Louis CK and the public's response to his recent performance, his first set since admitting to sexual harassment nine months ago

By Maura Hohman
August 28, 2018 05:04 PM
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Credit: D Dipasupil/FilmMagic

Actor and comedian Louis C.K. made a surprise appearance at New York City’s Comedy Cellar on Sunday night, his first set since admitting to sexual misconduct nine months ago. While the audience reportedly greeted him with a standing ovation, celebrities and fellow comedians are slamming his return to the stand-up circuit.

According to The New York Times, C.K., 50, took the stage for a 15-minute set around 11 p.m., performing for a sold-out crowd of roughly 115 people. Dressed in a black V-neck shirt and gray pants, the Louie star “was very relaxed,” the club’s owner, Noam Dworman, told the Times. He did not mention the allegations against him, and instead worked his way through “typical Louis C.K. stuff” like racism, parades and tips for waitresses.

Louis C.K.
| Credit: I Love You, Daddy (2017) Louis C.K. CR: Courtesy TIFF

“It sounded just like he was trying to work out some new material,” Dworman said. “Almost like any time of the last 10 years he would come in at the beginning of a new act.”

And to comedians who’ve struggled to earn time on Comedy Cellar’s well-known stage, the issue is just that. His comeback, as some are calling it, suggests nothing has changed for his career despite his actions. Here are the celebs saying Louis C.K. should disappear all over again.

The stand-up comedian Kathy Griffin took issue with “the boys club” that allowed C.K. back onstage so quickly.

Top Chef host and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi used the opportunity to encourage her fans to support other, lesser-known comedians, especially women and people of color, instead of C.K.

Corporate star and stand-up Aparna Nancherla also took issue with the role of men in society.

Elayne Boosler, one of the first women to build a successful career in comedy, implied C.K. was a “bully” and a “coward.”

Chuck Wendig, a popular comic book writer shared that C.K. was “once one of [his] favorite comedians” but called out the hypocrisy of his jokes about “white dudeness.”

Ian Karmel, the head writer for The Late Late Show with James Corden, worried about what C.K.’s return could mean for women in the workplace.

Another facet of the controversy developed when comedian Michael Ian Black tweeted in favor of C.K.’s behavior, admitting that he didn’t know if C.K. had “served his time” but was happy to see him try.

One of the first to respond was former Roseanne star Tom Arnold. The actor and comedian joked wryly that Black would be trying to helped disgraced former Today host Matt Lauer.

The New York Times reported on C.K.’s behavior in a November article, in which five women, including comedians Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov and Rebecca Corry, detailed their alleged experiences with him, which include him masturbating in front of them without their consent. The next day, C.K. responded with a lengthy statement in which he admitted that “these stories are true.”

He added, “The hardest regret to live with is what you’ve done to hurt someone else. And I can hardly wrap my head around the scope of hurt I brought on them … I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”

Since then, FX severed ties with C.K., whose shows Louie and Better Things aired on the network. C.K. was dropped by all his reps, too, while Netflix cancelled an upcoming stand-up special and HBO cut all of his content from its library. Orchard also canceled the release of his film I Love You, Daddy — though C.K. bought the rights to the title back.