Padma Lakshmi hosted a comedy show in direct retaliation to Louis C.K.’s return to stand-up

We already knew that Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi was a dedicated advocate for equal rights. But we didn’t know she’s a certifiable comedy aficionado. In fact, she recently hosted a supremely diverse and inclusive comedy show in protest of men who abuse their power.

In late August, Louis C.K. performed a surprise comedy set for the first time since his November 2017 admission that he masturbated in front of women without their consent. Lakshmi responded to reports of C.K.’s return by tweeting that we should pay attention to “people who are actually funny.” She followed up her comment with a list of female, queer, and nonwhite comics she loves.

But she didn’t stop there. According to Vulture, Lakshmi proceeded to organize two (sold-out) comedy shows with the help of Vulture senior editor Jesse David Fox. Michelle Wolf headlined the first show and Nikki Glaser the second. Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang hosted. Other performers included John Early, Catherine Cohen, Ziwe Fumudoh, Jo Firestone, and Pat Regan. There was even a surprise appearance by Lakshmi’s friend, Chris Rock.

Lakshmi reportedly began the night by sharing some choice words for C.K.

"I’ll make this brief: F*ck Louis C.K.," she said. "To be honest, I just couldn’t think of any other jokes. It was that lame."

She continued by acknowledging that her “ire about what happened” led her to organize the show.

"The thing that annoyed me most about [Louis C.K.’s] particular case was that he tried to stifle and bury the careers of various female comedians who called him out on his sh*t," she said. "And it’s just like, it’s so hard as a woman, as an actor, as a director, as a comedian, as a writer, to even get noticed. And then to have the courage and bravery to speak the truth, and be slapped down and punished for it in such a cruel way, really spoke to me."

Lakshmi said she felt there could be redemption for men like C.K., but that he and many others like him “haven’t really demonstrated any remorse or deeper understanding about what they did.”

The shows, called “Padma Puts on a Comedy Show” took place on October 24th at the Bell House in Brooklyn, and all proceeds were donated to the Movement Voter Project.

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