Louis CK Dropped in at a Saugus Comedy Club

"I believe people deserve second chances," Giggles Comedy Club owner Mike Clarke says.

louis ck

2017 photo via Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In a move that has brought the controversial re-emergence of the comedian close to home, Louis CK dropped in at a Massachusetts comedy club over the weekend.

CK, who is from Newton, reportedly tried out some new material during a set at the Giggles Comedy Club in Saugus, and briefly touched on the allegations of sexual misconduct that derailed his career last year, according to the Boston Globe.

CK had been in exile since November of last year, after several women came forward with stories about the comedian masturbating in front of them—stories that had bounced around the comedy community for years, but were uncorroborated until a report in the New York Times. CK then admitted to doing what the women alleged.”These stories are true,” he said, and he vowed to “step back and take a long time to listen.” In the fallout, his TV show and a movie were canceled, and the prodigious stand-up stopped performing.

That is, until August, when he dropped in at the Comedy Cellar, a legendary venue in New York. His decision to do so, only nine months after admitting to misconduct and without a warning to audience members who might not be comfortable seeing him live, led to some controversy (He didn’t help himself, making a joke about a “rape whistle”). It also posed serious questions for comedy fans and the entertainment industry in general: Should Louis be allowed to get back to work so soon? Should he come back at all?

Comedy club owners have been willing to let him test the waters in New York, where he has been popping in for sets at local clubs over the past several weeks and in some cases talking about having been “to hell and back” over the past year.

In an interview with The New York Times podcast The Daily, Comedy Cellar owner Noam Dworman defended the decision to let CK perform on his stage, explained the venue’s new “swim at your own risk” policy, and said it was up to audiences to decide whether to support the comedian, or not. “People who feel that he should never work again, when they hear the ovation that has been recorded and released of him going onstage, they will feel repulsed by a society that seems to not take what they feel seriously enough,” Dworman said on the show. “Other people who believe in redemption, who believe in forgiveness, in second chances and these kinds of things, they might take the message that ‘Good, we have a society that manages to dole out punishment while at the same time forgiving sinners.’”

In Saugus, Giggles owner Mike Clarke was quick to come to the comedian’s defense. “He’s a good friend, he’s a good guy, and I believe people deserve second chances,” he told the Globe. “He did a great job last night.”