After five women came forward in 2017 to accuse Louis C.K. of sexual harassment, the 51-year-old comedian said that it was time for him to “step back and take a long time to listen.” However, following a short-lived hiatus, C.K. has once again taken the stage, and rather than avoiding controversial subject matter in light of his defamed reputation, the comedian has managed to disgrace Parkland shooting survivors, gender-nonconforming people, and now, women who he masturbated in front of without consent.
According to The Daily Beast, when Louis stepped on stage in San Jose, California Wednesday night, the comedian began his set with a tonedeaf joke about his sexual past: "I like to jerk off, and I don’t like being alone." The crowd signaled their approval with a roar of laughter.
C.K.'s comeback tour has been riddled with controversy, to say the least. On Dec. 16, the comedian performed a set at Governor’s Comedy Club in Long Island where he made Parkland shooting survivors and gender identity the subject of his taunts. He called the courageous victims of the school shooting uninteresting before ridiculing individuals who prefer to be addressed with them/they pronouns.
Aalayah Eastmond, one of the students who survived the mass shooting, addressed C.K.'s comments on Twitter, writing, "Hey Louis CK—since you like making fun of me and other Parkland survivors behind closed doors, I'm right here if you want to talk. Just try to keep it in your pants, OK?"
The Louie star addressed the Parkland jokes during his performance on Wednesday, claiming, "If you ever need people to forget that you jerked off, what you do is you make a joke about kids that got shot."
However, mentioning his lewd history with sexual harassment was not the only instance in which C.K. resurfaced questionable actions of his past, prompting a shift in the audience's collective demeanor. Louis joked that he was supposed to be on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, but he didn't stay on the aircraft because he didn't want to sit next to the woman beside him. "And then the plane took off. And it hit the World Trade Center," he concluded.
C.K. has unabashedly entertained audiences with jokes about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the past. During a performance that surfaced on YouTube in 2011, he starts off a set by discussing the differences between men and women's ability to control their sexual impulses. "Women have another sexual skill," he explained. "They can decide not to have sex with their minds, which is amazing to me."
The comedian then admitted to the frequency in which he masturbates, claiming that a good person can be distinguished from a bad person based off of how long after 9/11 they waited to pleasure themselves. "I jerk off way too much," he admits to the crowd. "You can figure out how bad of a person you are by how soon after September 11th you masturbated, like how long you waited. And for me, it was between the two buildings going down." He continued. "I had to do it, I had to, otherwise they win."
During C.K.'s San Jose set, some notable members of the audience admitted that while they were troubled by the allegations put forth against him, their concerns were assuaged over time. Valerie Vernale, a New York-based comedian, attented the show, which then prompted her to pose the question, "Am I betraying women?"
C.K.'s long-held reputation as a modern comedic legend has forced men and women alike to grapple with their opinions of the comedian following allegations of sexual misconduct. Based off the audience's collective embrace of Louis when he initially stepped onto the stage in California, it appears as though the jury is still out.