Comedy Bar Owner Defends Louis CK’s Right To Perform After Comeback Set

The owner of the New York City comedy club where disgraced stand-up comic Louis C.K. performed a recent comeback set says he was disappointed by the comic’s set, but stopped short of outright condemning the admitted sexual harasser. Well short.

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Noam Dworman, owner of the Comedy Cellar, told The Hollywood Reporter that he was frustrated by C.K.’s lack of outright contrition during Monday night’s surprise set – which came ten months after he copped to multiple instances of sexual misconduct perpetrated against female colleagues and comedians.

“He just went on and did a regular set,” Dworman said.

And I think that was a missed opportunity for him. I think that for a man who signed off from the public with this promise to, “I’ve talked for a long time, now I’m going to listen,” he created the expectation of, “Well now you’re back after nine months, what did you learn?”

Dworman said that while he wasn’t present during the set, he heard audience reactions were largely positive, save for one person who said they felt “ambushed” after the set’s conclusion.

The owner added he would work to find ways to stop his audience members feeling that way in the future, but maintained that he would provide comics who have been accused of severe abuses a place on his stage.

“I don’t know what the standard is, and that makes me uncomfortable,” he said, before going further.

And before you know it, it becomes the automatic responsibility that all of a sudden it’s not the court system, it’s not the criminal justice system, it’s not even a procedural HR system, it’s that the guy who owns the comedy club is supposed to decide what happened, who’s guilty, what the punishment is and make sure the world never sees this guy again.

Confusingly, Dworman said “a few years ago I had a rule that no male could give a female a back rub because I understood the creepy dynamic,” which stands at odds with C.K.’s admitted history of masturbating in front of women.

He also mentioned C.K.’s apparent right to produce his art, while not mentioning the women who felt they were sidelined from the comedy industry due to the harassment perpetrated by C.K. in the first place.

The interview leads to Dworman’s admission he’d like to be a part of C.K.’s eventual fully-fledged comeback.

“I’m hoping that he’ll talk 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.

It’s a telling interview, which also covers Dworman’s involvement in Aziz Ansari‘s return to the public eye, along with a broader discussion about free speech. Have a gander HERE. 

This article discusses sexual misconduct and harassment. If you would like to talk to a counsellor about domestic violence, sexual assault or rape, please contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732.