Louie C.K. has a new stand-up special that can be found only on his website. It’s appropriately titled Sorry.
But a quick read of the trending headlines—and their first paragraphs—suggests that the apology is not being accepted by the Twittering class, even though it’s been a while since we took the love away from Louie C. K.—five years and counting.
It’s worth remembering Louie’s public standing before his masturbatory sins against humanity. He was crushing it professionally. A star draw for FX. Sold out venues. Louie C. K. was the Ed Sheeran of comedy—a not-great-looking ginger with stand-out talent that deserved to be handsomely rewarded.
Meanwhile, how is it that Jeffrey Toobin, the CNN legal analyst, and a former Justice Department lawyer, gets caught on Zoom pleasuring himself in front of his work colleagues and he gets a six months time-out (and is now back on the air), while LCK is apparently banned for life.
One difference is consent. Louie offered an opt-in and respected the opt-out. My recollections could be colored by the passage of time, but if I remember well, LCK would ask women if he could pleasure himself in their company. And, I don’t believe there was a moment where a hard “No” was confused with a soft “Maybe.” If you said no or hung up—which many did—there was no retribution: LCK realized the power-dynamic errors of his jerkoff ways and zipped it.
Another, more important difference is timing. Louie was swept up at the dawn of the #MeToo movement and its poster villain: Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein—a pile of shit the size of Jabba the Hutt, the guy who held Princess Leia on a leash—was busted and the #me-too movement was born.
For the record, I think Harvey Weinstein and quid-pro-blow casting couch economics that this toad-of-a-man personified are both reprehensible and illegal.
In contrast, what Louie did was just stupid and gross. Of course, if my daughter or wife worked for him and were subjected to his antics, I would have broken his dick-beater off at his wrist. But what Louie did was different from what Harvey did.
Things have calmed down a bit—as you’d expect and hope. Evidence: Jeffery Toobin going to the HR penalty box for 6 months.
As a nation, we have pivoted from overcriminalization to under-criminalization. Regardless of where you flop, LCK has served enough time and should be allowed to feed himself again while making us laugh. Five years of doing gigs in the backwaters of Eastern Europe is enough punishment.
If you think that I am a fan of LCK, you’d be wrong. Bill Burr is more my ginger cup of comedy tea.
The #Me-Too movement is far from over but thankfully it has matured. As Gov. Cuomo found out, it no longer gives a pass to its purported lip-service champions. It’s one thing to excuse ten thousand nursing home deaths, but if you act like a 1950’s Mad Man relic in the Governor’s office, you are going down.
If you think that I am a fan of LCK, you’d be wrong. Bill Burr is more my ginger cup of comedy tea. My dearly departed grandmother was fond of saying that there is a seat for every ass out there. A lot of folks loved LCK and were made better by his comedic insight. LCK is at core an underdog, a basically good man struggling through life’s challenges—and in the process of that struggle finding and serving up laughter.
We should let him back in the public funhouse. Check out louisck.com and instead of paying $15 just to watch Sorry, for $25, you get Sorry and six more, lightly seen but hilarious prison-house musings. If you ask me, the LCK library should be part of my monthly Netflix offering. It’s time to redeem this man because all of his act is good but seen only by a few of us. I’m sure, LCK would not drive a hard bargain to get these in the Netflix library and him out of the Gulag.
The only old lifetime ban LCK deserves is in the form of our custom of reciprocal handshakes. So apology accepted, Louie—but sorry, no handshakes for you.