Louis C.K. returned to the comedy stage Sunday night for the first time since admitting to sexual misconduct in November.
The New York Times reported Monday that Mr. C.K., whose real name is Louis Szekely, performed at the Comedy Cellar in New York City’s Greenwich Village over the weekend.
Owner Noam Dworman confirmed with The Times that the controversial comedian came to the club and performed a 15-minute set of “typical Louis C.K. stuff,” which included racism, waitresses’ tips and parades.
The New York Times first reported the accusations against Mr. C.K. Five women comedians Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, Abby Schachner, Rebecca Corry, and one that remained unnamed said Mr. C.K. tried to masturbate in front of them.
Mr. C.K. admitted to the accusations and said he “irresponsibly” misused his power over the women he worked with.
“These stories are true,” Mr. C.K. wrote. “There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for. And I have to reconcile it with who I am. Which is nothing compared to the task I left them with.”
The audience mostly welcomed Mr. C.K.’s return, Mr. Dworman told The Times.
Twitter users did not. Several prominent writers and comedians spoke out against the performance, arguing that accepting Mr. C.K. undermined the gravity of his actions.
Allie Goertz, an editor at Mad Magazine, said Mr. C.K.’s quick return to the comedy world sent “a bad message.”
One of my fondest memories is singing my song about loving Louis CK right before he did a drop-in. The idea of him doing a drop-in now feels awful.I believe people can grow and change, but this urgency to bring him (and others) back SO soon just sends such a bad message. Allie Goertz (@AllieGoertz) August 28, 2018
Fellow comedian Bris Farley said Mr. C.K. now presents a working place safety issue by returning to comedy clubs.
I think some of you think that because we’re alone on stage, that stand-up is a completely solitary line of work, but it’s not. You spend tons of time with other comedians, often in situations where there’s an imbalance in power. Bris Farley (@IanKarmel) August 28, 2018
“Letting these creeps go with a slap on the wrist has wide reverberations and creates a climate that just isn’t f--king safe for comedians, and especially comedians who are women but also comedy club staff,” he tweeted.