Louis C.K. returned to the comedy world for the first time since admitting to sexual misconduct last November by making an unannounced appearance at New York City’s Comedy Cellar on August 26. The New York Times spoke with Cellar owner Noam Dworman about C.K.’s appearance, which lasted 15 minutes and touched on the comedian’s “typical” topics like racism and waitresses tips.
“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,” Dworman said.
C.K. has been a staple of the Comedy Cellar over the last decade. The club has even been featured on C.K.’s FX series “Louie” numerous times. Dworman said C.K. was met with a standing ovation when he appeared on stage. Mo Amer, the comic who performed after C.K., described the appearance as a “wow moment” for the audience and called C.K.’s set “really really good.”
While the sold out crowd at the Comedy Cellar responded favorably to C.K., not everyone was too happy with the comedian’s unannounced set. The Comedy Cellar faced backlash from one male audience member who called the club the day after C.K.’s appearance to object to the fact that he had no idea the polarizing comedian would perform.
“He wished he had known in advance, so he could’ve decided whether to have been there or not,” Dworman said. On the other hand, the club also received emails from audience members who shared favorable opinions of the show.
Dworman told The Times he expected some backlash as deciding whether or not to allow C.K. to perform put him in a difficult position.
“I understand that some people will be upset with me,” Dworman said. “I care about my customers very much. Every complaint goes through me like a knife. And I care about doing the right thing…[but] there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.”
C.K. was accused of sexual misconduct by five women in a report published by The Times on November 9. The comedian admitted the accusations against him were true the day after the article’s publication, writing in statement, “These stories are true…I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them.” C.K. has remained out of the spotlight since November.