Louis C.K.’s first advertised stand-up performance at Manhattan’s Comedy Cellar Monday night drew two protesters, lots of tweets and a fairly lukewarm sorta-review in The New York Times.
Though there was talk that C.K. would return to the Cellar tonight, his name is not listed on the comedy club’s website roster.
“We’ve taken a lot of criticism for surprising people with his unannounced performances,” said Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman to The New York Times culture writer Sopan Deb. “I’m afraid now we will be criticized for the opposite.”
C.K.’s two Monday evening sets at the Greenwich Village club were not his first since the sexual harassment allegations that torpedoed his career, but they were the first announced by the comedy club on the sign outside.
And while the New York Post tweeted that protestors “descended” on the gig, Deb, who was there, provides a considerably less dramatic account: Two apparently unrelated protestors picketed the club, one carrying a sign reading “When you support Louis C.K., you tell women your laughter is more important than their sexual assaults and loss of their careers.” The other sign read: “Does this sign make you uncomfortable, Louie?”
According to Deb, C.K. opened his set asking, “So what kind of year have you guys had?”
Other C.K. observations: “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.” Telling the audience that he lost $35 million in an hour, C.K. said, “I need to make jokes because I need an income,” and “Hard things, you survive them or you don’t. I think even hell you can survive. Hell is not that bad. I’ve been there.”
The Times culture writer continued: “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.”
Outside of the club, one of the protestors told Deb, “Frankly, I was furious. Every female comedian he has harmed deserves a place on the Comedy Cellar stage one hundred times before he should be allowed back on the stage.”
Though Comedy Central recently greenlighted a This Week At The Comedy Cellar stand-up series, C.K. is not expected to be featured.