UPDATED with reactions from Parkland students, parent: In a stand-up set that leaked online, disgraced comedian Louie C.K. delivered an extended riff about 20-somethings that included jabs at the survivors of the Parkland High School shooting and those who identify as gender non-binary.
The comedian, who left the scene a year ago after admitting to masturbating in front of several female comedians without their consent, was quickly torched on Twitter for what was perceived as a sharp turn toward a right-wing world view. (Listen HERE to the whole set, which was reportedly recorded December 16 at Long Island”s Governor’s Comedy Club.)
The performance, which also included a long complaint about the word “retarded” and a smattering of punchlines about Jews, makes the controversy over C.K.’s appearances at New York’s Comedy Cellar earlier this year seem almost quaint. It is coming to light just a week after another of the #MeToo movement’s most prominent subjects of scorn, Kevin Spacey, filmed a bizarre video in his House of Cards character to respond to allegations against him.
“I was kind of excited to be in my 50s and see people in their 20s and be like, ‘You’re crazy! These kids are nuts,’ but they’re not!” C.K. complained in one bit. “They’re f—kin’ ‘nnyyeah.’ They’re just boring. F—kin’ tellin’, ‘You shouldn’t say that.’ What the—what are you? An old lady?! What the f—k are you doing?’
“‘Nyeeah, that’s not appropriate.’ F—k you. You’re a child. Why aren’t you finger-f–king each other and doing jell-o shots? Like, why aren’t you … ‘You should address me …’ — They’re like royalty! They tell you what to call them! — ‘You should address me as they/them because I identify as gender neutral.’ Oh, OK. You should address me as ‘there’ because I identify as a location. And the location is your mother’s c—t.’”
He continued, “They testify in front of Congress, these kids?! Like, what the f–k? What are you doing? You’re young, you should be crazy. You should be unhinged. Not in a suit saying, ‘I’m here to tell you…’ F–k you. That’s not interesting. Because you went to a high school where kids got shot? Why does that mean I gotta listen to you? Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I gotta listen to you talk?”
C.K.’s rant has sparked intense reactions, including from Fred Guttenberg, a parent of one of the victims. “My daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting. “My son ran from the bullets. My wife and I deal with loss everyday. Why don’t you come to my house and try out your new pathetic jokes?,” Guttenberg wrote on Twitter.
Parkland student Cameron Kasky, a co-founder of the March For Our Lives movement, also reacted on Twitter.
“Comedy is supposed to be offensive. My feelings have no place in it,” Kasky wrote. “Yes, Louis is an ass for the jokes he’s making which sucks cause he used to be really funny and not just a professional jerk.”
Fellow Parkland survivor Aalayah Eastmond, who attended a rally last May at the U.S Capitol to urge Congress to act on gun violence, referenced the comedian’s alleged misconduct in her response on Twitter.
“Hey Louis CK – since you like making fun of me and other Parkland survivors behind closed doors, I’m right here if you want to talk. Just try to keep it in your pants, ok?,” Eastmond wrote.
The 50-minute set drew steady laughter — a fact that also did not go unnoticed by the Twitterverse. At one point, though, one audience member appears to have given the comedian a disapproving look during a segue from one dicey routine to another. “What’re you, gonna take away my birthday?” he responded. “My life is over, I don’t give a s–t. You can, you can be offended, it’s okay. You can get mad at me.”
Shortly after taking the stage, C.K. acknowledged his precipitous fall from the top rung of show business. He spent much of this decade in the top echelon of stand-up and had basked in accolades from his Emmy-winning FX series and appearances in films like Blue Jasmine and the The Secret Life of Pets. “So what kind of a year did you guys have?” he asks. “I bet none of you had the same year that I had. You ever had a whole bad year? Did you ever have a year that sucks 365 … days in a row? Did you ever have a time that it was so sh—ty that it starts to get funny?”
He said he lost $35 million in a single day in late 2017, though he has not addressed any of the allegations against him since penning an apology last fall and pledging to “step back and take a long time to listen” to women. “When you get into trouble, you find out who your real friends are,” he joked onstage. “Who wants that?! … I like having a bunch of fake friends.”
More reactions follow below: