Louis C.K. was always talking about himself.
In his 2010 HBO special “Oh My God,” C.K. discusses the oddities of dating before launching into a bit about how men pose the biggest threat to women’s safety and existence.
“How do women still go out with guys, when you consider there’s no greater threat to women than men?…we are the worst thing to ever happen to them.”
Now, it’s easy to wonder how many times Louis C.K. asked himself that.
Like a lot of C.K.’s material, those words have a different ring to them in light of last week’s New York Times report detailing the comedian’s sexual misconduct with five women. The story confirms longstanding rumors about C.K. that I didn’t want to believe.
But they were true all along. C.K. confirmed as much in a written statement released a day after the Times story. The overall tone is regretful, but like his pseudo-feminist bits, it’s almost entirely meaningless.
In the apology, C.K. framed himself as a man who abused his power and status. Without actually apologizing, he admitted to taking advantage of women he said “admired him” (a phrase many rightfully cringed at).
Now that his fans are faced with the truth of his actions, it’s time to explore and question what was appealing about C.K. in the first place.
Louis C.K. was relatable. He held progressive views and appeared as an unglamorous everyman. For me, a chubby, average-looking white guy, it was comforting to hear a chubby, average-looking white guy come up with such insightful and funny takes on race, religion and gender. He seemed to be a sincere and thoughtful comedian who sought to inspire both laughter and introspection. C.K. became a legend among a certain sector of comedy fans, myself included.
But it was based on a lie that covered disgusting behavior.
I was conflicted about being a C.K. fan when the rumors were still just rumors. Now that they’re proven fact, I guess I still don’t know how to feel. There’s sadness for the women he violated, but happiness they found a platform for their story. There’s shame for idolizing a funnyman who was basically shilling garbage all along. And there’s anger that all men, even the most seemingly noble and funny, are capable of vile shit like this.
Of course, my feelings are not the point here. I was not directly affected by Louis C.K.’s actions, and I can’t imagine his victims’ suffering or courage in speaking out. Instead, I need to perform a fairly simple task: accept that my comedic hero is a perverted asshole.