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Louis C.K. embraced by crowd at NYC comedy club during try at comeback: report


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Controversial comedian Louis C.K. was largely embraced Sunday night at New York’s Comedy Cellar, marking his second comedy performance since sexual misconduct allegations forced him out of the spotlight for nearly a year.

A source who confirmed C.K.’s appearance to The Hollywood Reporter, said the 51-year-old was greeted warmly by the audience and only two patrons walked out.


Listen to the reception Louis C.K. received when he returned to New York's Comedy Cellar for another surprise set late Sunday night:


C.K. has remained mostly absent from the public spotlight since the publications of a New York Times article in which he was accused by five women of sexual misconduct. He later confirmed the allegations in a subsequent op-ed. The sexual misconduct allegations against C.K. and Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein the month prior became catalysts for the burgeoning #MeToo movement.

C.K. made a surprise appearance at the Comedy Cellar in August to mostly positive reception. In either appearance, he reportedly did not acknowledge the controversy. After that appearance, the Comedy Cellar implemented a full-refund policy, THR reported. Ticket purchases now come with the disclaimer: "If an unannounced appearance is not your cup of tea, you are free to leave (unobtrusively please) no questions asked, your check on the house."

The club’s owner Noam Dworman said he was unaware of C.K.’s August appearance and remained apprehensive about allowing the comedian to return.

It wasn’t clear whether he was aware of C.K.’s Sunday night appearance.

“Somehow I don’t think he’s going to be back tomorrow, but when he decides that he really wants to go into this with two feet, I’m hoping that he’ll take about it with me so it can be done in a way that people feel it’s not dismissive of the seriousness of what he’s accused of,” Dworman said.

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In 2002, a Chicago comedy duo, Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, landed their big break: a chance to perform at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colo. When Louis C.K. invited them to hang out in his hotel room for a nightcap after their late-night show, they did not think twice. The bars were closed and they wanted to celebrate. He was a comedian they admired. The women would be together. His intentions seemed collegial.

As soon as they sat down in his room, still wrapped in their winter jackets and hats, Louis C.K. asked if he could take out his penis, the women said.

They thought it was a joke and laughed it off. “And then he really did it,” Ms. Goodman said in an interview with The New York Times. “He proceeded to take all of his clothes off, and get completely naked, and started masturbating.”

In 2003, Abby Schachner called Louis C.K. to invite him to one of her shows, and during the phone conversation, she said, she could hear him masturbating as they spoke. Another comedian, Rebecca Corry, said that while she was appearing with Louis C.K. on a television pilot in 2005, he asked if he could masturbate in front of her. She declined.

Julia Wolov, left, and Dana Min Goodman said they felt “paralyzed” during an incident with him in Aspen, Colo. CreditEmily Berl for The New York Times

Now, after years of unsubstantiated rumors about Louis C.K. masturbating in front of associates, women are coming forward to describe what they experienced. Even amid the current burst of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful men, the stories about Louis C.K. stand out because he has so few equals in comedy. In the years since the incidents the women describe, he has sold out Madison Square Garden eight times, created an Emmy-winning TV series, and accumulated the clout of a tastemaker and auteur, with the help of a manager who represents some of the biggest names in comedy. And Louis C.K. built a reputation as the unlikely conscience of the comedy scene, by making audiences laugh about hypocrisy — especially male hypocrisy.

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