Louis C.K. Reportedly Told a Rape Joke at His Comeback Show

"It felt like there were a lot of aggressive men in the audience and very quiet women"

BY Josiah HughesPublished Aug 29, 2018

Louis C.K. practically disappeared after admitting to sexual misconduct allegations last fall. Then, apropos of nothing, he stopped by for an unannounced set at the Comedy Cellar in New York earlier this week. The appearance has launched an online opinion war — and it will only get worse now that we've learned the contents of C.K.'s set.

Though C.K. didn't address any of the controversies surrounding his career, he reportedly didn't shy away from sexual assault as a subject matter. Vulture spoke with two women who attended the Comedy Cellar that evening (and have asked to remain anonymous). Among C.K.'s jokes was apparently an "uncomfortable" rape joke. 

Deconstructing the phrase "clean as a whistle," C.K. built to a joke about how rape whistles are not clean. "When he said 'rape whistle' people were laughing, and I was just sitting there like oh my fuck," one of the women recalled. "This is so uncomfortable and so disgusting. Everyone around me was laughing. That was just depressing."

Another woman, who asked to be identified as S.B., said, "It was an all-male set to begin with. Then, it's sort of exacerbated by [C.K.'s] presence..... If someone had heckled him, I think they would've been heckled out. It felt like there were a lot of aggressive men in the audience and very quiet women. It's the kind of vibe that doesn't allow for a dissenting voice. You're just expected to be a good audience member. You're considered a bad sport if you speak out."

The other woman concluded that the entire experience was uncomfortable for her. "You hear this big, loud guy sitting next to you, yelling, 'Oh, it's so great to have you back, Louis,' and people cheering and giving him a standing ovation," she said. "Our voice is definitely not going to be prioritized in that space. [Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman] says we can't [have a discourse] properly. How do you think the women in that room felt? It's just really frustrating."

Five women came forward last November, publicly sharing their personal experiences with the comedian, who had long been rumoured to masturbate in front of women without their consent.

After admitting to such behaviour, his film I Love You, Daddy was pulled from release, Netflix cancelled an upcoming special and Louie network FX severed ties with him.

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