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Michael Ian Black Defends Louis CK’s Stand-Up Return: ‘We Need to Figure Out How to Move Forward’

Comedian performed his first stand-up set since being accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women

Comedian Michael Ian Black defended Louis C.K.’s return to stand-up, his first since he admitted to sexual misconduct last year.

“Will take heat for this, but people have to be allowed to serve their time and move on with their lives. I don’t know if it’s been long enough, or his career will recover, or if people will have him back, but I’m happy to see him try,” Black wrote in a series of tweets on Tuesday morning.


C.K. performed his first stand-up set since he was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman told TheWrap. Dworman said that C.K. appeared at the Greenwich Village comedy club around 11 p.m. on Sunday night and did a 15-minute set.

The unannounced show was “typical Louis C.K. stuff” with jokes about racism, waitresses tips, parades, etc. according to Dworman. “It was very ordinary for him,” he said, describing the audience response as “sustained applause … It was a good reception. He went through an everyday list of jokes.”

Black’s first tweet was met with criticism, which he attempted to explain in subsequent tweets, clarifying that he wasn’t defending CK’s actions or even rooting for him to succeed.

“My empathy isn’t for Louis. It’s for the recognition that we’re in a cultural moment in which some men who do terrible things have no pathway for redemption. That lack of a pathway creates a situation in which we are casting people out but not giving them a way back in,” he continued. “The movement is incredibly powerful and important and vital. One next step, among many steps, has to be figuring out a way for the men who are caught up in it to find redemption.”

Last November, C.K. was accused of sexual misconduct by five women. Among the accusers in the New York Times article were comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, who according to the Times piece were invited by the comedian to his hotel room after their show at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, in 2002. According to the report, when they arrived at his room, C.K. asked Goodman and Wolov if he could take out his penis.

C.K. released a statement shortly after the story was published saying, “these stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was OK because I never showed a woman my d-  without asking first, which is also true.”