Louis C.K. surprised the audience at a comedy show over the weekend with a 15-minute set, and two women in the crowd told New York magazine’s Vulture that they were “uncomfortable” with the whole ordeal.
“It felt like he was being thrust upon the audience without telling them,” one woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Vulture.
Just 10 months after the disgraced comedian admitted to sexual misconduct against a number of female comedians, he appeared unannounced at New York’s Comedy Cellar. Club owner Noam Dworman told The New York Times that the set “sounded just like he was trying to work out some new material.”
Vulture reported that Louis C.K.’s material that night “included a joke about the phrase ‘clean as a whistle,’” which led to one about rape whistles not being clean.
“When he said ‘rape whistle’ people were laughing, and I was just sitting there like oh my fuck. This is so uncomfortable and so disgusting. Everyone around me was laughing. That was just depressing,” one woman told the publication.
The other woman, identified only as S.B., said the Comedy Cellar audience was “mostly white, with lots of couples.”
The other woman said the impromptu set really upset her. “It was an all-male set to begin with. Then, it’s sort of exacerbated by [C.K.’s] presence,” she said. “If someone had heckled him, I think they would’ve been heckled out. It felt like there were a lot of aggressive men in the audience and very quiet women. It’s the kind of vibe that doesn’t allow for a dissenting voice. You’re just expected to be a good audience member. You’re considered a bad sport if you speak out.”
The set was also ill received by many members of the comedy world, with many female comedians coming out on social media to share their feelings about Louis C.K.’s attempt at redemption. To that end, Kathy Griffin said in a thread on Twitter that if this is how we are making people pay “penance in the
#MeToo era,” it’s “fucking pathetic.”