Michael Ian Black Faces Backlash For Supporting Louis CK’s Comedy Comeback

The disgraced comedian's comeback sparks a debate in the media about accused men returning to their careers.

Louis CK at Tribeca Film Festival.
Ben Gabbe / Getty Images

The disgraced comedian's comeback sparks a debate in the media about accused men returning to their careers.

Michael Ian Black faced backlash on Twitter after he defended Louis CK for making a return to stand-up comedy, nine months after the disgraced comedian was ousted in the Me Too movement. Louis CK surprised an audience at the Comedy Cellar with a brief 15-minute set.

In his tweet, Black said, “Will take heat for this, but people have to be allowed to serve their time and move on with their lives.”

Last November, allegations circled from several female comedians about several acts of sexual misconduct by Louis CK. The New York Times released a report in which comedians Dana Min Goodman, Julia Wolov, and Rebecca Corry, the writer Abby Schachner, and a fifth anonymous woman stated that Louis CK undressed and masturbated in front of them or masturbated during a phone call with them.

As several media companies severed ties with the comedian, including the distributor for an anticipated film, I Love You, Daddy, Louis CK released a statement also reported by the New York Times admitting to the allegations.

“These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my d**k without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your d**k isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”

After the statement, Louis CK largely withdrew from public life. He was one of many male figures in Hollywood ousted in the Me Too movement, but only one of a few who admitted the truth and issued an apology.

Exterior of a Paris showing of 'I Love You Daddy'.
Louis CK’s film, ‘I Love You, Daddy,’ was withdrawn by his distributor following his sexual misconduct allegations. Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images

Sunday night, he surprised the audience at the Comedy Cellar, says the New York Times. The famous cellar, which is known to have surprise performances by comedy’s elites, had mixed reviews about the appearance by Louis CK. The owner, Noam Dworman, said the comedian looked at ease during his 15-minute set that covered “‘typical Louis C.K. stuff’ — racism, waitresses’ tips, parades.” Though the audience was said to regard him warmly and applauded, some expressed they wished they had been warned.

His seeming return to comedy has sparked a debate in the media about whether or not a man accused of sexual misconduct should be “allowed” a comeback at all. In May, the Inquisitr reported Sarah Silverman’s comment that men like Louis CK deserve a second chance and she doesn’t “see any reason why they can’t continue being artists.”

Others were angry that he returned to comedy. Caroline Frink of Variety issued an opinion yesterday titled, “We Don’t Owe Louis C.K. Anything,” claiming the comedian’s return “revealed exactly how little he and so many others have learned from the #MeToo reckoning.”

Many on Twitter were angry about the comeback, noting that the comedian has not issued restitution to his victims nor seen any punishment even though he admitted to the claims. Many called the nine-month reprise far too short. See some reactions to Black’s tweet as well as Louis CK’s return below.