It's not uncommon for comics to work out jokes in small venues to see what gets a laugh. That's what Louis C.K. did — and it appears he may want to take a step back and rethink his material.
A leaked audio recording of a small club performance by comic Louis C.K. is setting social media on fire, but not in a good way. C.K. recently returned to the public eye after issuing a statement in November 2017 after five women came forward with sexual harassment allegations.
"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. Thank you for reading."
It doesn't appear he took any time to listen. In the leaked audio, C.K. is performing at New York City's Comedy Cellar and, while the audience appears to be laughing heartily, social media isn't finding the jokes funny.
In a bit aimed at pointing out the differences between teenagers and the youth of his generation, C.K. manages to insult non-binary people and survivors of mass shootings.
In the routine he says:
"They testify in front of Congress, these kids, like what the fuck, what are you doing? You're young, you should be crazy, you should be unhinged, not in a suit saying 'I'm here to tell' ... Fuck you."
"You're not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot. Why does that mean I have to listen to you? How does that make you interesting? You didn't get shot, you pushed some fat kid in the way and now I need to listen to you talking?"
In regard to gender identification, he said:
"They're just boring. Telling you, 'you shouldn't say that'... what are you, an old lady? 'That's not appropriate' – f*** you, you're a child. They're like royalty, they tell you what to call them. 'You should address me as they/them because I identify as gender neutral.' OK. You should address me as 'there' because I identify as a location, and the location is your mother's c***."
You can hear a snippet of the set below.
i mean he's like a RW comic now. hes milo https://t.co/QYOGI7TrGa— jack allison (@jack allison)1546216931.0
People on social media are not seeing the humor.
This hacky, unfunny, shallow routine is just a symptom of how people are afraid to feel empathy. It’s much easier… https://t.co/bi50mBQDHt— Judd Apatow (@Judd Apatow)1546268727.0
To anyone who knows Louis CK, please deliver this message for me. My daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting.… https://t.co/48JIwFOoUa— Fred Guttenberg (@Fred Guttenberg)1546266220.0
That Louis CK audio isn’t even edgy, it’s an old conservative ranting about how in his day no one was woke and things were great— Nathaniel Friedman (@Nathaniel Friedman)1546228522.0
this has been said before but letting louis ck do comedy again is a basic workplace safety issue for female comics… https://t.co/JaHxOisCOS— Kath Barbadoro (@Kath Barbadoro)1546236479.0
So Louis CK reinvented himself as a dirtbag MAGAt. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Now slap yourself with it.— Imani Gandy (@Imani Gandy)1546271514.0
Louis CK is a sexual predator who mocks school shooting survivors, delegitimizes trans people, and could not work t… https://t.co/ppyeYblCIc— The Volatile Mermaid (@The Volatile Mermaid)1546260988.0
Because if there’s one thing the Parkland survivors crave, it’s being interesting to Louis CK. https://t.co/G0Fg6N5ckz— Jon Cryer (@Jon Cryer)1546270576.0
I listened to the Louis ck clip and im proud of being part of a generation that pisses off old white dudes and trie… https://t.co/yyEwi3zRJW— |L I Z Z O| (@|L I Z Z O|)1546237075.0
#LouisCK’s new set apparently has a section attacking #nonbinary people. He thinks it’s wrong to use “they” as a si… https://t.co/EVzA0BX8IX— Emily C. Heath (@Emily C. Heath)1546223918.0
Louis CK's therapist told him, "You've got to be yourself. People will love you or hate you, but it's time to let i… https://t.co/Rw6rGJW4O5— John Levenstein (@John Levenstein)1546239096.0
Update: Louis CK still belongs in the shed. Probably forever now! Thanks for coming to my TED talk. https://t.co/lWwVP3c4M1— Chuck Wendig (@Chuck Wendig)1546264148.0
This is not the first time Louis C.K. made people mad and uncomfortable. Fellow comic Jerry Seinfeld was not at all amused during this 2011 episode of the HBO show Talking Funny.
It may be time for a little more reflection. Or perhaps a lot more.