Louis C.K. returned to the stand-up stage Sunday night and was reportedly greeted warmly with a standing ovation from the audience, but it's a different story on Twitter Tuesday morning.
The comedian, whose career fell apart after admitting to sexual misconduct allegations from five women at the height of the #MeToo movement, is getting roasted on the social media platform after The New York Times published an article about C.K.'s first time back at NYC club The Comedy Cellar since saying in a statement a last November that he would "now step back and take a long time to listen."
For many reacting to the news -- including other comedians -- he has not stepped back long enough.
"Louis CK is spearheading the #MeTooSoon movement," comedian Melinda Hill tweeted. Another accomplished comedian, Ian Karmel, tweeted, "Louis CK being 'banished' from stand-up comedy wasn't some kind of petty punishment, it was a f--king workplace safety issue."
Another issue people have with the 15-minute set is the fact that it was unannounced by the club beforehand, effectively springing a comedian infamous for sexual misconduct on audience members that may not have wanted to see him.
Noam Dworman, the owner of the Greenwich Village comedy hot spot, told the Times C.K. was "very relaxed" as he riffed on "typical Louis C.K. stuff," including racism, waitresses' tips and parades. He described the crowd's reception as warm and appreciative, but did say he received an email from one patron who complained. "He wished he had known in advance, so he could've decided whether to have been there or not," Dworman said.
"I understand that some people will be upset with me," Dworman told the Times. "I care about my customers very much. Every complaint goes through me like a knife. And I care about doing the right thing."
He added, "There can't be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong," and that is also not sitting well with those speaking out on social media today. See the backlash brewing below.
If you are at a comedy club or a music venue and a celebrity accused of sexual harassment or assault like Louis CK shows up for a surprise performance, it is your ethical duty to LEAVE. Walk out. Punish him, and the business that hosted him, by removing your patronage.
"audiences should have the leeway to decide what to watch themselves." -- opinion from the comedy club owner that booked Louis CK but didn't tell anyone, thereby removing their ability to decide for themselves
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.
This shit isn't hypothetical. It isn't an argument on the internet. Letting these creeps go with a slap on the wrist has wide reverberations and creates a climate that just isn't fucking safe for comedians, and especially comedians who are women - but also comedy club staff.
If Louis CK had stolen jokes, he'd be a fucking pariah. But instead he stole careers and passion and trust from possibly brilliant comedians - women that we'll never get to hear from - and that is worse. Or it should be.
It's not that I think redemption is impossible, but he's literally done nothing to redeem himself. Louis CK last said, less than a year ago, "I will now step back and take a long time to listen," but it wasn't fucking long enough, buddy, and you didn't do shit to fix anything.
The club owner who booked Louis CK said "audiences should have the leeway to decide what to watch themselves." So you're saying they shouldn't be locked in a room and forced to watch something they don't want to see?
Louis CK is back performing standup. Matt Lauer promises to be back on television "soon." Our culture cares more about a predatory man's "comeback story" than it cares about victims, justice, or ending sexual assault, harassment, and violence.
But not everyone was piling on the disgraced comedian. "Wet Hot American Summer" star Michael Ian Black appeared to support C.K. testing the waters.
Will take heat for this, but people have to be allowed to serve their time and move on with their lives. I don't know if it's been long enough, or his career will recover, or if people will have him back, but I'm happy to see him try. https://t.co/QmqdGJnIjy
I expect a lot of this, so I will say only that I'm not going to defend what he did or what he lost or what his punishment "ought to be." I'm only saying that we're in uncharted waters and we need to figure out how to move forward. https://t.co/HWo8DjqxVo
That would have been your right. I'm sure they would have refunded your money. I'll just make the point that, unlike other careers, when he does stand-up, Louis works for the audience. They will determine if he's welcome or not. And the answer may very well be that he's not. https://t.co/5x7XlL9crC
My empathy isn't for Louis. It's for the recognition that we're in a cultural moment in which some men who do terrible things have no pathway for redemption. That lack of a pathway creates a situation in which we are casting people out but not giving them a way back in. 1/2 https://t.co/9o4U8TfniW