Louis C.K. performed an unannounced, 15-minute set at the Comedy Cellar in New York on Sunday night, marking his stage return after admitting last year to sexual misconduct against multiple women. C.K. appeared around 11 p.m. ET, with the crowd of roughly 115 offering an immediate ovation, club owner Noam Dworman told The New York Times.
The “very relaxed” comedian, Dworman said, covered “typical Louis C.K.” subjects like racism, waitresses tips and parades. “It sounded just like he was trying to work out some new material, almost like any time of the last 10 years he would come in at the beginning of a new act,” he noted.
Comedian Mo Amer, who also performed at the Greenwich Village club on Sunday, called C.K.’s appearance a “wow moment” and said the material was “classic Louis – really, really good.” C.K. did not mention or reference his past misconduct during the set.
While Dworman told the Times he received several positive follow-up emails from customers, one patron reached out with a moderate complaint. “He wished he had known in advance, so he could’ve decided whether to have been there or not,” the club owner said.
C.K. has remained out of the public eye since last November, when five women, including fellow comedians, shared stories of C.K. masturbating in front of them and other inappropriate behavior. C.K. admitted in a subsequent statement that the accusations were true, writing, “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
The comedian’s career suffered a severe blow after the news broke. Indie film distributor The Orchard canceled the theatrical release of C.K.‘s controversial film I Love You, Daddy, and FX, the home of C.K.-produced shows like Baskets and Better Things, cut ties with the Louie creator.
As Vulture notes, Aziz Ansari has also been returning to standup after facing a #MeToo accusation in January via a polarizing article that had many debating the definition of sexual misconduct. In the piece for the website Babe, an anonymous New York photographer shared details of a date with the comic that she described as the “worst night of [her] life.” Ansari issued a response saying that their “sexual activity” was “by all indications … completely consensual.”