Nine months after Louis C.K. was struck by allegations of inappropriate behavior from five women, the comedic actor hit the stage again. In a purported unannounced appearance at New York’s Comedy Cellar, Louis C.K. avoided speaking about the 600-pound gorilla in the room and instead riffed on racism and waitresses, throwing in a rape whistle joke for more laughs, according to Holly Thomas, a London-based writer and editor in an opinion article for CNN.
Last November, Louis C.K. got caught up in the #metoo movement when he was accused of taking women he worked with into private rooms, taking his clothes off, and asking if he could masturbate in front of them. He later admitted to the accusations in a public statement. “There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for,” he said then.
But recently, Louis C.K. found forgiveness not only from himself but from several in the audience at the Comedy Cellar who felt compelled to give him a standing ovation. Some members of the audience did complain.
“All things considered, it’s no wonder that Louis C.K., a rich, white, middle-class man who has spent several decades talking about himself, found the confidence to get back on the horse so quickly… it’s even more telling that Louis C.K. was assured of a welcome,” Thomas wrote. “His entitlement was underwritten in the names of all the other comics on the entirely male bill.”
Mo Amer, another performer that night, cooed, “it was like a wow moment… like, classic Louis, really, really good.”
But in the entertainment industry, it has always been easier for men accused of wrongdoing to jump back in compared to women, Thomas remarked. For example, after actress Winona Ryder was found guilty of shoplifting in 2002, her career crashed as if she had never earned two Oscar nominations. But just months after Chris Brown beat his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, he released an album and sang at the BET Awards where he was lauded by the likes of P.Diddy and Trey Songz.
“Louis C.K.’s expressions of remorse might have sounded persuasive,” Thomas wrote, “but his behavior exhibits no shame.”