Louis C.K. officially launched his comedy comeback tour in Virginia this week, his first since admitting to sexual misconduct in November 2017. The “Louie” creator’s return to stand-up comedy over the last year has created one controversy after the next (from jokes about the Parkland shooting victims to masturbating, which just so happens to be the act at the center of his sexual misconduct), and it prompted one heated response from Judd Apatow. Following C.K.’s Parkland jokes in January, Apatow took to social media to call out the controversial comedian.
“This hacky, unfunny, shallow routine is just a symptom of how people are afraid to feel empathy,” Apatow tweeted at the time. “It’s much easier to laugh at our most vulnerable than to look at their pain directly and show them love and concern. Louis C.K. is all fear and bitterness now. He can’t look inward.”
Apatow was recently interviewed by The Daily Beast and was asked to weigh in on Louis C.K.’s first major stand-up tour. Apatow maintained that he believes comedians should be allowed to discuss any subject, no matter how controversial, but it’s on the comedian to not talk about any subject “recklessly.”
“I don’t think anybody should be boycotted or not be allowed to work at a club if they make a terrible joke about it,” Apatow said about mass shooting jokes, before adding that C.K.’s jokes became “especially offensive because [the Parkland survivors] were underage kids and they have suffered in a way that no one can ever understand.”
C.K. has mostly avoided discussing his sexual misconduct on stage, which Apatow believes is a critical misstep. C.K. admitted to a history of masturbating in front of female comics but does not explicitly address his past during his comedy sets. Apatow says C.K. should learn from Aziz Ansari, who was also accused of sexual misconduct and confronted the allegation and his behavior during a tour that was filmed and released on Netflix in July. Ansari acknowledged the pain he caused the woman accusing him and expressed hope that the ordeal made him a better person.
“I appreciate what Aziz did and a lot of us feel like, we wish Louis said that on day one,” Apatow tells The Daily Beast. “And why wouldn’t you say it? Why wouldn’t you say, ‘I hope people feel better, I’m trying to learn, I hope something good comes from this, I don’t want people to be in pain.’ It seems like the natural thing to say.
Apatow continued, “I don’t know what he’s thinking. But he’s also made a point of not really telling people what he’s thinking. And when he doesn’t, it creates this vacuum and everyone has to try to debate it to figure out what he’s thinking. So that’s why there’s so much debate, because he’s not saying, ‘This is what I took from this experience.’”
Head over to The Daily Beast’s website to read Apatow’s interview in its entirety.