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The Schmooze

Louis CK, Remorseless: ‘I like to Jerk Off, And I Don’t Like To Be Alone’

“I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want,” world-famous comedian Louis CK wrote in the New York Times in November 2017, in a statement acknowledging that he sexually harassed five women. “I will now step back and take a long time to listen,” he wrote.

Just over a year later, CK has been a fixture in the news, as reports of his return to the standup scene spark controversy — a leaked set just before the new year revealed CK joking about Parkland teens dying.

But according to the Daily Beast, on Wednesday night at a comedy club in San Jose, CK reportedly walked on stage, picked up the microphone, and said:

“I like to jerk off, and I don’t like being alone.”

It got a huge laugh.

The line is a reference to the fact that after a major report by the New York Times in November 2017, CK admitted that he removed his clothes and masturbated in front of women without their consent. All five of the women, notably, were significantly less powerful than CK — much younger comedians and co-workers. He also acknowledged that he went out of his way to discredit them and “bring hardship” to them so that they could not publicize their harassment stories.

CK’s gambit in San Jose is a fairly classic comic choice — he directly addressed the most uncomfortable thing about him. He drew attention to the most shameful thing about himself. He translated his actions into funny, remorseless, patter.

So remorseless it almost reminds you of these words, from CK’s statement to the New York Times about accusations:

“I have been remorseful of my actions. And I’ve tried to learn from them.”

What a difference a year makes! In his statement, CK wrote about his regret, his misuse of power, and the fact that he “disabled [the women] from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried.”

Now, the joke’s on us — Louis CK believes that sexual misconduct is nothing to apologize for.

Jenny Singer is the deputy lifestyle editor for the Forward. You can reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

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