After publicly apologizing for masturbating in front of women without their consent, comedian Louis C.K. claimed he was going to take some time out of the spotlight for serious self-reflection. However, less than a year later, he returned to the stage and has since been performing new material at a handful of comedy clubs (though he has not addressed the controversy in any of his latest sets). And now, audio of a recent C.K. performance in New York City has leaked—and it’s appalling.
The set, which is apparently from a December 16th standup show, entails the use of derogatory and homophobic language, laments overly-PC culture, and even targets the Parkland shooting survivors. While describing a visit to his doctor, C.K. said,
The set up of the “joke” and the joke itself hinges on the concept that C.K. loves ice cream so much that he would use language he normally deems totally unacceptable when someone tells him to stop eating it (i.e. C.K. technically is acknowledging that he knows such words should never be used, which is what is supposed to make the bit “funny.”). However, as Slate’s Matthew Dessem points out, “There’s no payoff here except for the slur itself. […] It’s cheap and it’s hacky.” Not to mention, it further normalizes the use of a hateful and regressive word—for laughs.
He then goes on to bemoan the fact that it’s no longer okay to use the word “retarded” when talking about other human beings.
We might expect such an offensive (and honestly, lazy) joke from a schoolyard bully, but the fact that this is coming from an established comedy “professional” is downright embarrassing (for him). C.K. is also catching flack for claiming we shouldn’t respect or listen to the Parkland students currently advocating for gun safety laws.
It almost seems as though C.K. is attempting to offend for the sake of offending at this point—a kind of public tantrum and “screw you” to the factions who condemned him. And it’s not a good look. In our opinion, all the comedian has succeeded in doing is prove that he has learned zero from his experience and “time off,” and that he has nothing of value or interest to contribute at this point.
So maybe take another (long) hiatus. Thanks.