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The Louis CK comeback is starting. Does he deserve it? - Metro US

The Louis CK comeback is starting. Does he deserve it?

louis ck comeback sexual misconduct masturbation #metoo
Nine months after admitting to sexual misconduct against five women and no public effort to redeem himself, Louis C.K. is back on the comedy stage.
Getty Images

It was nine short months ago that Louis CK was accused of sexual misconduct by five women in the New York Times. His response was an open letter admitting “these stories are true” — that he masturbated or asked to masturbate in front of fellow comics and production staff — offering a half-baked apology and promises to “step back and listen.” As of last weekend, he’s deemed his stint in entertainment purgatory as sufficient and the Louis CK comeback is underway.

The comedian re-emerged at the Comedy Cellar in New York, a club known for surprise sets by famous comics, on Sunday, Aug. 27. According to the Times, his unannounced appearance was greeted with an ovation; he went on to perform a 15-minute set of “typical Louis C.K. stuff.” He did not mention the allegations against him or reference the #MeToo movement.

As a return to the comedy scene, the Louis CK comeback show had its own problems:

But the big issue is whether Louis C.K. deserves a comeback. Stepping in to serve as self-appointed judge, jury and pardoner is fellow comic Michael Ian Black, whose standard for a man who doesn’t deserve redemption is Bill Cosby: [Editor’s note: By the end of the day, Black acknowledged that his position is “not defensible.”] 

Thankfully, another entertainment icon brought enough tea for everyone. Twitter user @thecherness (no, not that Cher) explained that no, not performing in public for nine months does not count as time served:

louis ck comeback metoo masturbation scandal

Louis CK will not be getting a Father’s Day card for the next forever, anyway. Getty Images

The problems with a Louis CK comeback

To be clear: Louis CK admitted the allegations against him are true, even if he’s not being taken to court over them. They’ve cost him a production deal with FX on four TV shows, a Netflix comedy special, and Orchard Films canceled the release of a movie written, directed and co-starring Louis CK called I Love You, Daddy (in which a 17-year-old girl and a 68-year-old man start a relationship).

His actions are particularly upsetting given how aware he seemed of the danger men pose to women in his seemingly feminist comedy.

But what should be the “punishment”? And how much is enough? Can he and other #MeToo men deserve to “find a way back in,” as Michael Ian Black puts it?

The better question is, have they earned a way back in? There are many ways to do this! Rehabititation for self-control or other issues, education on appropriate behavior in the workplace, learning to understand the harm he caused his victims, and especially reconciliation by working to promote female comics. You know, using the fame and money he built while his victims’ careers suffered or ended to fund scholarships or other support for up-and-comers.

Whether he’s done any of this is unclear, but he certainly hasn’t said anything about it in public, or addressed it in his impromptu Comedy Cellar set.

Why Louis CK should earn his redemption

So what should have happened instead of allowing the Louis CK comeback to begin on one of the biggest stages in the stand-up comedy scene? Do these accusations even matter considering his talent? Why don’t we just let the free market sort it out!

Take a moment to swallow your bile at those particularly upsetting ideas, then read on for a few ideas on how to actually move forward:

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