Both appearances were surprises, and neither, reportedly, met with resistance. “He just went and told the emcee that he wanted to go on, and it’s pretty much autopilot at that point — the emcee let him go on. It’s not an open mic, but it’s Louis C.K., somebody famous like that,” Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman told the Hollywood Reporter.
“He was at my club first and then he jumped into the city after that,” Governor’s owner James Dolce tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
“It wasn’t planned — he just stopped by,” Dolce says. “Louis has been playing my clubs for a long time. And he just stopped by. I was at one of my other clubs and I got the call that he was there and I shot over to see him.” Dolce said the comedian performed for about 10 minutes and “destroyed the audience,” adding, “He was very funny.”
Like Dworman’s emcee, Dolce didn’t think twice about letting C.K., who in 2017 admitted to sexual misconduct with women, take the stage. The club owner says he “without a doubt” gave him the go-ahead to perform as soon as he heard he was there.
C.K.’s set got a standing ovation at the Comedy Cellar, and he met with the same support at Governor’s. “He just went up and did some comedy. Left with a standing ovation. Headed out the front door,” Dolce recalls. “The audience responded unbelievably well. He got offstage because he wanted to make it to the city, but there were so many people looking to take pictures or get autographs.” He also notes that no one booed or got up to leave when they found out C.K. was there and would be performing.
While comedy show-goers seemed happy to see him, his comeback has also met with wide criticism. But Dolce doesn’t feel he should be making decisions about C.K.’s career. “I’m not his agent or PR person. I’m just a club owner. It’s for him and his team to work through what is best for him to do,” he says in regards to his comeback being possibly premature. “I can only do what’s best for my club and my audience. It’s a comedy club, he’s a great comic. He’s one of the best, if not the best, that steps up on stage. The fans love him.”
Dworman seems to agree. “On principle, I believe that the man is entitled to his livelihood and that it’s up to the audience to go or not go, I believe that in principle,” he told the Hollywood Reporter. “I have other comedians work here who I’ve heard accusations of worse things than Louis, worse than sexual harassment. If everybody we know that has done something they’re really ashamed of, like that last scene in [Avengers:] Infinity War, we’d see people disappearing all around us.”
Dolce reasons, “He’s made a numerous amount of apologies.” And while he does believe “it’s a terrible thing that’s taken place,” he thinks C.K. is a good person. “I’ve known Louis a long time; he’s always been nothing but a gentleman in my company, and everyone else that works for me. He’s one of the kindest and greatest guys I’ve ever met.”
This isn’t the first time Dolce has hosted a disgraced comedian. T.J. Miller performed at Governor’s in July. Last December, a woman came forward with accusations that the Silicon Valley star hit and sexually assaulted her. He was also arrested in April for a fake bomb threat and was cut from Silicon Valley for unprofessional behavior.
But Dolce only has good things to say about the performer. “T.J. Miller, that was the first time I worked with him, but he’s a great comic. The audience loved him. The show sold out,” he recalls.
“It’s a tough thing to navigate through, and I guess that’s what they’re trying to do,” he says in reference to Miller’s and C.K.’s comebacks.
To comedy club owners, it’s just not that complicated, though. Dolce reiterates that when booking talent, he considers what is best for his comedy club, and “they both slay an audience.”
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