Louis C.K. made his comeback at the Comedy Cellar and several other New York venues, and now Cellar owner Noam Dworman is speaking out about the reaction his welcome has prompted. Predictably, many in the comedy world were thrilled when C.K. made his post-#MeToo return, while others were disgusted.
Nine months ago, C.K. famously admitted to sexual misconduct, saying at the time that he would "step back and take a long time to listen." Time’s up it seems. At his first appearance at the Cellar, C.K. did not address the misconduct at all. At the most recent one, he did, saying because of the scandal, he lost "$35 million in an hour."
On the New York Times’ podcast The Daily, the Cellar’s owner said: "I don’t know when he’ll be back. He’s not banned by any means. I think he will be back. That’s why we have the ‘swim at your own risk’ policy."
Dworman also broke down the dual perspectives in terms of forgiveness and redemption in the wake of #MeToo. "People who feel that he should never work again, when they hear the ovation that has been recorded and released of him going onstage, they will feel repulsed by a society that seems to not take what they feel seriously enough," he said. "Other people who believe in redemption, who believe in forgiveness, in second chances and these kinds of things, they might take the message that ‘Good, we have a society that manages to dole out punishment while at the same time forgiving sinners.’"
On The Slate’s podcast The Gist, Dworman spoke on stand-up comedian Ted Alexandro’s disparaging reaction to C.K.’s return: "I looked at him and I said ‘Ted, if you were to look me in the eyes right now and tell me that "Noam, 15 years ago I did something like what Louie did – I don’t do it anymore, I’m ashamed – but I did it,’" I said ‘Ted, would you expect me to say "Get your crap and get out of here, you don’t work here anymore"’? And I think the answer to that is obviously no. That doesn’t happen in the real world. Somebody admits something or confesses something, a boss gets wind of it – if it doesn’t concern his current behavior, you don’t throw somebody out for that. Now interestingly, he would not engage on the question. He looked away like a dog looks away when there’s danger. And that has been telling to me – that when I make an argument like that, they don’t refute it, or they don’t acknowledge it in some way and then integrate it ‘Yes you’re right, but however…’ like I could make the argument. But because everybody’s looking, we have to worry about the impact on #MeToo. That wouldn’t occur if nobody knew about it."