American comedian Louis C.K. performs a controversial stand-up act, in which he not only criticizes survivors of the 2018 Parkland Shooting, but also individuals who identify as non-binary. After being accused of sexual misconduct in 2017 and disappearing from the spotlight, C.K. (Louis Székely) has returned to comedy clubs in recent months, and with the same unapologetic style that made him famous.
At 51 years old, C.K. began his stand-up career in the mid-80s. His sharp writing skills and observational approach led to creative collaborations with Chris Rock, Conan O’Brien, and David Letterman in the 90s, but he mostly remained under the mainstream radar throughout the remainder of the 20th century. C.K. ultimately became a more recognizable figure after creating and starring in the short-lived HBO series Lucky Louie, which preceded the critically acclaimed FX series Louie (2010-2015), in which he served as the writer, director, editor, and star. On Nov. 9, 2017, an investigative report by The New York Times detailed numerous allegations of sexual misconduct against C.K., most notably a long history of masturbating in front of female peers and acquaintances. Nine months later, C.K. returned to stand-up comedy with a set at the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan, New York, thus sparking social media discussions about his comedic approach and relevancy.
Per Deadline, audio of C.K.’s Dec. 16 routine in Long Island has leaked, in which he questions the intentions of the most outspoken Parkland Shooting survivors, including their statements to Congress. He says, “Why does that mean I gotta listen to you? Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I gotta listen to you talk?” C.K.'s set can be heard in the below video.
C.K.'s set also included jokes on gender issues, suggesting that people who identify as non-binary are like “royalty.” Unsurprisingly, C.K.’s latest routine didn’t go over well on social media, though the comedian seems fully aware of his public persona at the current time, stating to an audience member, “What’re you gonna take away my birthday? My life is over, I don’t give a shit. You can, you can be offended, it’s okay. You can get mad at me.”
While The New York Times report offered an extensive look at C.K.’s long history of alleged sexual misconduct, it was preceded by on-the-record statements from female comedians such as Roseanne Barr and Tig Notaro, with the former noting stories of C.K. "locking the door and masturbating in front of women comics and writers.” C.K. acknowledged the NYT story one day after its publication with an official statement in which he admitted to sexual misconduct.
Given the polarizing nature of American politics, C.K. may have lost fans because of his recent statements. But one could also argue that he’s created a new fan base as well.