Comedian Louis C.K.’s career was derailed in the fall of 2017 after he admitted to several instances of sexual misconduct, which had been rumored for years in the comedy community. This led to the cancellation of the release of his movie, I Love You Daddy, and Netflix and FX Networks to cut ties with the comic. He also lost the starring voice role in the sequel to his animated movie The Secret Life of Pets.
Throughout 2018, C.K. has been periodically appearing at comedy clubs, mostly in New York, leading to another round of controversy over what the process of forgiveness or redemption might look like, for those accused in the #MeToo era. The comic’s reputation took a further hit earlier this month when a clip from a 2011 HBO special re-surfaced in which C.K. used the n-word repeatedly.
Now, another controversial audio clip has surfaced of the comedian. A two-minute clip was posted online, first to YouTube and later to Twitter by writer and comedian Jack Allison, that features Louis C.K. mocking young people, including those who use nontraditional gender pronouns, before segueing into a rant against the Parkland shooting survivors.
“I’m a little disappointed in the younger generation, honestly,” the comedian says at the beginning of the clip.
“I’m 51 years old, and when I was like 18, [and] in my 20s, we were idiots. We were getting high, we were doing [expletive] mushrooms and [expletive]. Older people were like ‘you gotta get your [expletive] together and we were like [expletive] you!’ So I was excited to be in my 50s and see people in their 20s and be like ‘you’re crazy!’ But they’re not… they’re [expletive] boring, going ‘you shouldn’t say that.’ What are you? An old lady?”
C.K. then turns the topic to gender pronouns.
“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 [expletive.]”
i mean he's like a RW comic now. hes milo pic.twitter.com/QYOGI7TrGa— jacob used his mom's cell for his fake company (@jackallisonLOL) December 31, 2018
The routine then shifts to making fun of the teenaged survivors of the Parkland shooting.
“They testify in front of Congress, these kids? What are they doing? You’re young, you should be crazy, you should be unhinged, not in a suit… 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?… You didn’t got shot, you pushed some fat kid in the way, and now I’ve gotta listen to you talking?”
The since-pulled YouTube clip indicates that the routine was recorded on December 28 at the Comedy Cellar in New York. Most of the jokes are punctuated by laughs, presumably from whoever recorded it.
Much of the reaction online to the routine, including by Allison, noted that C.K. sounds like an explicitly politically conservative comic, which he never did pre-scandal. It was also much-noted that the material is much hackier than the majority of C.K.’s past work.
“Congratulations to Louis CK for writing the joke about preferred pronouns that your most reactionary uncle told after putting in no effort,” Twitter user Ugarles wrote.
“Louis CK’s only conceivable ‘comeback’ was to become the kind of hacky, sh-tty, ‘what is UP with GENDER PRONOUNS’ comic that rapists can see as ‘their voice’ and that his previous career was built on subverting. Here he is,” journalist Sady Doyle tweeted, noting that she had predicted such a turn earlier this year.