Comedian Louis C.K. made a surprise appearance at the New York City club Comedy Cellar on Sunday night, marking his first stand-up performance since five women leveled sexual misconduct allegations against him.
According to The New York Times, C.K. performed a 15-minute set at the venue, and the audience gave him a warm ovation before he even began the performance.
“It sounded just like he was trying to work out some new material, almost like any time of the last 10 years he would come in at the beginning of a new act,” club owner Noam Dworman told the Times, adding that C.K.’s set featured “typical Louis C.K. stuff,” including jokes about racism and tipping waitresses.
In November 2017, five women came forward to allege that C.K. had masturbated in front of them, which the comedian admitted in a statement.
“I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them. And run from them,” C.K. said at the time. “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.”
FX, HBO and Netflix all cut ties with C.K. shortly after the allegations surfaced.
Though Dworman acknowledged that “some people will be upset with [him]” for allowing C.K. to perform at his club, he said “there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong.”
He did, however, think C.K. would wait a while longer before returning to the spotlight: “I didn’t think it was going to happen as soon as it did. I had thought that the first time he’d go on would be in a more controlled environment. But he decided to just rip the Band-Aid off.”