Usually a standing ovation means a performance was really good. In Louis C.K.’s case, it might mean the audience prepared to run for the exit in the event he decided to pull out his penis. But of course we’re talking about the kind of standing ovation that involved enthusiastic clapping.
The point here is that Louis C.K. has tip-toed out of wherever he’s been hiding since the #MeToo allegations against him broke last November, and appears to be slowly working his way into a comeback. Almost 10 months ago, five women accused Louis C.K. of a variety of allegations, like forcing them to watch him beat his own meat, or audibly masturbating on phone calls. He later admitted to it, and was dropped by FX and his team. His film I Love You, Daddy was never given a wide release.
Louis’s friends Sarah Silverman and Dave Chappelle made it known they didn’t think he deserved to be out on his ass for good, so I’m sure this news will bring a smile to their faces today. The New York Times says that Louis made an unannounced appearance at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village on Sunday night, and he was greeted with a standing ovation before he even began his set. Louis did a 15-minute set to a crowd of about 115 people, on a variety of “typical Louis C.K. stuff” like racism, waitresses’ tips, and parades.
Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman tells The Wrap that Louis didn’t address any of the #MeToo stories, and that he stuck to regular jokes. Noam says that the next day, he received a phone call from one customer who explained that he wished he’d known ahead of time that Louis would be there, so he could decide if he wanted to see him. But Noam also says he has heard from others that were very happy Louis made a surprise pop-in. And as for whether or not it’s the right time for Louis’ comeback, Noam says it’s not his decision. He’s just there to provide a mic.
“I understand that some people will be upset with me. I care about my customers very much. Every complaint goes through me like a knife. And I care about doing the right thing. But there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong….I think we’ll be better off as a society if we stop looking to the bottlenecks of distribution – Twitter, Netflix, Facebook or comedy clubs – to filter the world for us.”
I can only imagine how surprised some people in that audience were when they saw Louis walk in and take to the stage. A good chunk were obviously very excited. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there were at least a handful that turned to the person next to them and asked: “So…I know he never went to court, but like – is this one of those things where the creep has to go door-to-door and introduce themselves to everyone?”