Louis C.K. played not-suprise Comedy Cellar shows; 2 protesters stood outside
Louis C.K. has been making his return to stand-up comedy over the last few months, less than one year after admitting to sexual misconduct. His recent appearances, which have been usually of the surprise guest drop-in sort, have been met with controversy; Comedy Cellar, who has hosted him multiple times since his "return," responded in part by instating a "Swim At Your Own Risk" policy. Comedy Cellar hosted Louis again on Monday (10/29) night, but this time with his name listed on the bill posted outside the Greenwich Village club. As Gothamist reports, word spread online, and two women held signs in front of the club in protest.
One of them, Lana McCrea, a housing lawyer and the legal director of Safer Campus, told Gothamist, "So much horrible news has come out in the past week. I felt despondent and impotent. But here was something happening in my backyard that I could impact. I’ve been going to the Comedy Cellar since I was a kid — over a decade. It’s a happy place for me. So as a survivor and activist, it hurt me to see the owner prioritizing Louis C.K. over the comfort of the community. It felt personal." She continued, "a few people were hostile—at one point I started videotaping a guy who was getting really aggressive with the other woman protesting. I was worried it would escalate. But for the most part, people were thanking us. I got a lot of hugs. A few people who bought tickets ahead of time stayed outside in solidarity. Some people walked out when he got on stage."
“So what kind of year have you guys had?” Louis C.K. said, starting off his set. “They tell you that when you get in trouble you find out who your real friends are. It’s black people, it turns out. They’ll stick by you.”
He went on to say that he didn’t read much about himself on the internet and that he was there to jest.
“I need to make jokes because I need an income,” Louis C.K. said. He told the crowd that he lost $35 million “in an hour” as a result of the original report on his misconduct.
“Hard things, you survive them or you don’t,” Louis C.K. said. “I think even hell you can survive. Hell is not that bad. I’ve been there.”
The rest of his set veered from raunchy to observational. There were no hecklers. He often consulted his notes, and mentioned that he had worked on the material “all year.” He asked the audience if anyone ever wondered how many sexual partners their mothers had and he discussed how much he enjoyed ice cream.
General manager of Comedy Cellar Liz Furiati sent Gothamist a statement about last night's set. "Last night we took the chance of putting Louis on the lineup in order to grant full disclosure and alleviate any 'surprise' the audience may have by his appearance," it reads. "We had two women protest his appearance last night outside of our venue. We fully support and respect the rights of these women to have their voices and protests heard. We tried very hard to make that clear to the women protesting and they were very kind in return."
Other comedians who played or hosted on Monday night include Nikki Glaser, Dave Attell, Ron Bennington, Cipha Sounds, Godfrey, and Michelle Wolf. According to Gothamist, one of the protestors approached Michelle on the street after the show at 2 AM as she was leaving. The disappointed protester allegedly asked Michelle why she would share a bill with CK.