Comedians react to the Louis C.K. scandal with surprise, anger, hope for change

Louis C.K. speaks at the 2017 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour. (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

After comedian and Louie star Louis C.K. was accused of sexual misconduct, hosts of late-night talk shows and other celebs quickly spoke out. C.K. himself issued a lengthy statement Friday acknowledging “these stories are true” and that he was taking a “step back” from public life.  But before he addressed the situation, his Hollywood peers had much to say.

Stephen Colbert, in his monologue, made light of the fact that C.K. had been scheduled to appear on Thursday’s edition of The Late Show. “For those of you tuning in to see my interview with Louis C.K. tonight, I have some bad news,” said Colbert, who worked with C.K. on The Dana Carvey Show in 1996. “Then I have some really bad news. Louis canceled his appearance here tonight because the New York Times broke this story today: Five women are accusing Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct.” Colbert then made a joke referencing Jesus, whom he had mentioned earlier, “When reached for comment, Jesus said, ‘La-la-la-la-la. I don’t want to hear about it, I was a big fan!’”

Colbert then turned the conversation to all the prominent men being accused of sexual misconduct and parodied Keith Urban’s new song “Female,” which is the country singer’s response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Trevor Noah, on The Daily Show, made a joke about C.K. while discussing a new Facebook policy requiring nude photos to be submitted for review. “When I saw this story, I thought, man, this is the most pervy story of the day, and then Louis C.K. said, ‘Hold my penis.’ Like, at this point, we’re going to need a new Oscar category this year — Best Actor Whose Movies We Can’t Watch Anymore. Now that I think about it, all women in Hollywood should win double Oscars for acting like all the men were cool all along, every single one of them. I’m just f***ing saying.” He added, “It’s getting to the point where I see a beloved celebrity’s name trending on Twitter, and I’m like, ‘Please tell me they’re dead, please tell me they’re dead, please tell me they’re dead. Ah, dammit.’ Every day!”

On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Meyers included a reference to C.K. while talking about Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with an underage girl. “Man, politics is so full of perverts and deviants; I’m just so glad I work in comedy,” he said before a photo of the story on C.K. flashed on screen. “Ahhhh, dammit!”

Charlie Day, who appears in C.K.’s new movie, I Love You, Daddy, gave a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “I was as appalled as everyone to read the allegations made in the New York Times,” Day said. “I do not condone sexual misconduct and, in light of the allegations, will not be promoting the movie further.” Likewise, Chloë Grace Moretz, who also stars in the controversial film, told the newspaper she would not promote it. However, the distributor announced Friday that it would not release the film at all. C.K. directed and wrote the movie, which includes a romantic relationship between a 17-year-old girl (Moretz) and a 68-year-old man (played by John Malkovich).

Other celebrities gave their take on the C.K. story via social media.

Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander was to the point: “Gentlemen, comedy is often inappropriate. It is sometimes daring and audacious and shocking. But our behavior, in the real world, toward women — that doesn’t get a pass on inappropriate.”

Michael Schur, an actor on The Office and a writer on shows such as Parks and Recreation and The Good Place, likened sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry to cancer. “Misogyny is a cancer. Harassment and abuse are that cancer metastasizing and going untreated,” Schur wrote. “Stories like this being reported and printed are the first steps toward a cure.”

He also apologized for C.K.’s appearances in six episodes of Parks and Rec.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creator and star Rachel Bloom applauded the women who spoke out against C.K. “F*** yes they’re brave,” she tweeted. “NO MORE SILENCING.”

Comedy producer Judd Apatow lamented the effect C.K.’s actions had on young comedians. “This to me was one of the saddest parts of the Louis CK story in the @nytimes,” he wrote of one specific line from the story. “When you disrespect and sexually harass young, vulnerable people you become a dream killer,” he wrote. In a sweet exchange, Girls alum Lena Dunham then assured Apatow he was “a dream maker.

Rosie O’Donnell expressed shock. “Wow, she wrote. “I guess nothing will ever surprise me again
regarding men.”

Comedian and podcaster Michael Ian Black declined to defend someone he considers a friend. “For everybody asking, I know and like Louis C.K. I won’t defend him. This is inexcusable and he needs to address it,” Black shared.

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger offered a string of tweets, predicting that C.K. would be forgiven by fans.

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