So many comedians are willing to die on the hill of Louis C.K. that it's practically an epidemic. After Michael Ian Black spent all day Tuesday defending the comedian's return — he dropped by New York City's Comedy Cellar unannounced to perform a 15-minute set on Sunday night — Saturday Night Live's Michael Che has taken to Instagram stories to give his own thoughts on the matter.
“OMG! Can you believe that guy went on with his life?! Yes, I can," he began. "What’s interesting to me about these articles against Louis C.K. performing again, is how important fame is to people. A lot of what I read says that C.K. shouldn’t get to be a ‘famous’ comedian anymore. Because to them, he’s still winning. Isn’t that strange? [Louis C.K.] can be shamed, humiliated, lose millions of dollars, lose all of his projects, lose the respect of a lot of his fans and peers, and whatever else that comes with what he did, but since he can still do a comedy set for free at a 200 seat club a year later, it means he got off easy. THAT’s how coveted fame is."
Blaming the negative reaction to the return of an admitted sexual predator on the public is certainly an interesting tactic. Unlike Che, I don't want to speak for everyone, but it feels disingenuous to reduce a complicated matter like this to "fame." It's not "fame." It's consequences, and if C.K. is able to walk on stage to a reported standing ovation, there clearly haven't been any. Plus, fame is important. Fame is what got C.K. his reputation and TV shows and his victims' silence, and it's what allowed his manager to allegedly hinder the careers of his accusers — something both Che and Black were unaware of. Representation for Che and Black did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
"Wait, whose careers were put on ice?" Che asked in response to a DM. "Genuinely asking."
In the end, Che manages to negate each of his two cents when he writes, “I don’t know any of his accusers. I don’t know what he’s done to right that situation, and it’s none of my business." But, he adds, "I do believe any free person has a right to speak and make a living."
Not personally knowing an accuser shouldn't bar you from believing them or genuinely listening to what they have to say, especially considering that's never been a factor in any kind of accusation before. A jury found Bill Cosby guilty without personally knowing any of the accusers — in fact, knowing them would have disqualified them from being part of the jury. I don't know Pythagoras, but I believe when he says a squared plus b squared equals c squared.
C.K. making a living is one thing, but a return to fame and accolades while his accusers' careers have been forever damaged? That's a different story.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).