Louis C.K.’s Sarcastic “SORRY” Sign Is An Attempt to Court the Only People Who Will Still Pay Money to See Him

The sex pest/comedian kicked off his comeback tour with a giant, illuminated "SORRY" sign, but he showed no actual signs of remorse

Louis C.K. kicked off his new comedy tour with a sarcastic, tone-deaf apology. Pictured here, Louis C.K. attends Tribeca TV Festival's sneak peek of Better Things at Cinepolis Chelsea on September 22, 2017 in New York City.
Louis C.K. attending the Tribeca TV Festival in 2017.
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival

On Friday night, disgraced comedian Louis C.K. — who, as you probably remember, admitted to masturbating in front of multiple women and exploiting complicated power dynamics, while at least one woman also alleged that he had done so entirely without her consent — kicked off his big comeback tour at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater. As The Daily Beast reports, C.K. performed to a “packed crowd,” and when he first took the stage, the word “SORRY” was illuminated in giant letters onstage behind him, prompting the audience to laugh and give him a standing ovation.

Of course, Louis C.K. isn’t actually sorry. Aside from the “SORRY” sign, he made no mention of his past behavior during the set, and the sign itself was clearly a play for laughs — poking fun at the idea that he should be sorry — rather than any kind of genuine display of remorse. And as Jezebel points out, he’s never been sorry; during a 2018 Comedy Cellar performance, he addressed the scandal by defiantly insisting he’d suffered enough and then shifting to some tired, racist stereotypes about Black men: “Fuck it. What, are you going to take away my birthday?” he said. “My life is over, I don’t give a shit. You can be offended, it’s okay. You can get mad at me. Anyway. So why do Black guys have big dicks? Let’s talk about that for a minute.”

That kind of lazy, pseudo-edgy hack comedy appears to be a regular fixture of his work now. While he made no apologies at his New York City gig on Friday, per the Daily Beast, his performance did include “‘child fucker’ jokes that included a “very involved journey about being in possession of a little girl’s underwear, more pedophilia jokes with an emphasis on the Boy Scouts of America, COVID-19 jokes, jokes about staring into the human asshole, 9/11 jokes, gay jokes, Jew jokes, cancer jokes, a heavy helping of transgender jokes, and a sprinkling of additional race jokes. And tons of sex.”

Anyone who has followed Louis C.K.’s career knows that this is a noticeable shift from the introspective, self-deprecating comedy that used to be his calling card. The old Louis C.K. would have leapt at the chance to make himself the butt of the joke, but this new material is proof that he’s simply courting the only people who will still pay money to see him perform. He’s making his heel turn, leaning in to the kind of “anti-woke” material that appeals to folks who like to whine about “PC culture” or “cancel culture” running amok when they get called out for saying something racist or sexist. The people who would part with their hard-earned money to see a man who routinely took his dick out at work make jokes — and leap to their feet and applaud when he makes a sarcastic apology — are not the type of people who want to see self-reflection and growth. They’re his target demographic now, and he’s clearly determined to milk them for all they’re worth.

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