Disgraced comic Louis C.K., who was forced to apologize after being exposed for masturbating in front of multiple women without their consent, made another unannounced appearance at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village on Sunday night (which also recently hosted Aziz Ansari).
There are reports that several women in the audience walked out of the show in protest; it is also being reported that his appearance on stage was greeted with cheers and applause.
C.K.’s first appearance at the Cellar on Aug. 26 fueled the national debate about how, whether, when, and if men working in the entertainment field who are accused of predatory sexual acts and harassment can return to public life.
After his August gig, C.K. was criticized in many quarters for completely failing to address or even acknowledge his behavior, which he himself admitted was totally unacceptable, and according to a report in the New York Post, Sunday’s gig made no mention of his travails either.
The club’s owner, Noam Dworman, was previously both praised and criticized for providing a platform for C.K.
Critics argued the surprise nature of C.K.’s performance implied a troubling lack of consent that would not be an issue if a person had deliberately bought a ticket for a C.K. gig, but Dworman brushed off such concerns by saying that anyone who left because they were offended by C.K.’s presence would have their bar tab waived.
Page Six reports that “a few women walked out” of the show on Sunday.
IndieWire said it had heard audio of C.K.’s performance and the reaction at the start of the set was enthusiastic. Audience members could be heard clapping and cheering for the comedian.
Tweets from people claiming to be present at the show are not particularly enthusiastic.
Others were quick to recall the behavior that got C.K. consigned to celebrity prison in the first place.
“When [Louis C.K.] got up, he expressed gratitude for the cellar/audience having him, and that he knows not everybody is happy about him performing,” one audience member, James Richards, wrote in an email to HuffPost, adding that the comedian never specifically apologized or addressed his sexual misconduct against a number of female comedians.
C.K.’s routine included bits about “his kids, his physical health, a story of watching a professional ice skater dying during an act,” and “a surreal and wacky bit about a Freaky Friday scenario.”
Another person at the show told HuffPost that C.K. “made a joke about how it wasn’t ‘unanimous’ that people were excited to see him,” adding, “He talked about how he took a ‘really long break’ and was coming back now, but beyond those two mentions, didn’t really acknowledge his past / the allegations.
“There were a few jokes that I thought made people uncomfortable mainly because of the context,” the person said.
“One was a joke about taking his 9-year-old daughter to Old Navy and seeing that they have boyfriend shirts for 9-year-old girls, and then graphically describing, ‘Oh, is my 9-year-old supposed to be f-ing her boyfriend all night and taking his shirt?’ and another was about how much he liked ‘his doctor touching him.’ He had a Freudian slip, saying ‘I love it when my father touches me’ (instead of doctor).”
Last time he performed, there was outrage in some quarters that he received a standing ovation before even beginning his set.