It's been just under ten months since Louis C.K. admitted to masturbating in front of several women and publicly apologized, promising that he would "step back and take a long time to listen." But on Sunday night, C.K. was back onstage at New York City's Comedy Cellar for a surprise set, the first gig he's done since being accused of sexual misconduct.
The club's owner, Noam Dworman, told the New York Times C.K. performed for about 15 minutes, rattling off jokes about racism, parades, and other everyday shit—"typical Louis C.K. stuff," Dworman said. But he never once mentioned the allegations against him, conspicuously (and conveniently) dodging the topic that made it pretty weird for him to be onstage Sunday in the first place. Still, the crowd was apparently happy to have him: He got an ovation before he even started performing, the Times reports.
"Every complaint goes through me like a knife. And I care about doing the right thing,” Dworman told the Times, but added that "there can’t be a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong."
C.K. is just one of several men accused of sexual misconduct trying to work their way back into their old, pre-#MeToo lives—if they haven't managed to already. Aziz Ansari has been quietly doing standup for a few months now since he was accused of making a woman feel "really pressured" into sex after a date, and—just like C.K.—he's reportedly keeping any mention of the allegations against him out of his set. Meanwhile, James Franco is still starring in season two of The Deuce, Kevin Spacey just appeared in a new movie, and Matt Lauer reportedly said that he'd be "back on TV" soon, though there's no word on what the hell that means.
Just because C.K. stepped back into the literal spotlight on Sunday doesn't necessarily mean his days of exile from Hollywood and the comedy circuit are coming to an end. Tons of his projects crumbled after the allegations against him surfaced, from stand-up specials, to a new series, to I Love You, Daddy, the now-shelved film that apparently included scenes depicting the kind of behavior he admitted to. And even if he does manage to make it onscreen and onstage again, that doesn't mean his old fans or the comedy world will take him back.
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