Embattled Louis C.K. returns to the stage – and Tel Aviv

Many people are looking forward to enjoying the controversial comedian's humor again.

Louis C.K. 2019 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Louis C.K. 2019
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Stand-up comedian Louis C.K., known for his anything-goes, politically incorrect humor, is returning to the stage after having admitted to sexual misconduct and will be performing in Tel Aviv on November 23 at Hangar 11.
C.K. started doing his stand-up act again in the US recently in what has been described as a “non-apology” tour, and tickets have been selling out.
The comic, who was popular with millions both for his live shows and his television series, Louie, where he played a thinly veiled version of himself, was accused by several women of sexual harassment in 2017. He didn’t deny their allegations, and some felt that he did not express sufficient remorse for his actions.
Since the scandal, he became persona non grata nearly everywhere. His television series was canceled, and a movie he starred in was shelved and reportedly will never be released.
In a 2017 Washington Post article headlined, “Now that Louis C.K. has admitted he’s a pig, can we keep him? The answer is still no,” Hank Stuever wrote, “The end of Louis C.K. – who, at 50, is alive, but in a sense dead to us now – is a difficult but necessary loss.”
However, an unannounced stand-up appearance he made in 2018 at the Comedy Cellar in New York drew a standing ovation and Noam Dworman, the owner of the club, told The Guardian that only one person complained the following day. However, a few subsequent appearances at the club drew protests.
At a C.K. show in Chicago, audience members were asked to place their phones in a cell phone security pouch (as they will be in Tel Aviv) and even note-taking was forbidden, to prevent word leaking out about his controversial material. The Chicago Tribune’s Zach Freedman, who attended the show, wrote: “Anyone expecting an apology or remorse from comedian Louis C.K....will have to keep looking.” He said that C.K.’s set included plenty of politically incorrect and vulgar humor, including jokes about his mother’s recent death and a spirited defense of his use of the word “retard.”
Predictably, his return the stage has drawn criticism from some quarters. Comic Hannah Gadsby recently told IndieWire, “He’s being self-indulgent and he’s being a crybaby. That’s not a path to redemption. That’s just throwing a tantrum for the tantrum itself.”
But many are looking forward to enjoying his humor again.
“I believe he has remorse,” Sarah Silverman said on Howard Stern’s radio show last year. “I believe he can come back. I just want him to talk about it on stage. Comics don’t like to be told what to do, so he’s just going to have to find his way or not find his way, and people are going to watch him or not watch him.”
Even before the scandal, C.K. had a complex, self-destructive persona that put many off and he was well aware of that, saying, “Here’s how my brain works: It’s stupidity followed by self-hatred and then further analysis.”