Brow Beat

A Comedy Cellar Comedian and a Protestor Sat Down to Talk About Louis C.K.

After publicly admitting to sexual harassment, Louis C.K. decided to launch his comeback at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village. Owner Noam Dworman has defended allowing C.K. return to the stage in spite of confirmed reports that C.K. masturbated in front of women without their consent, telling Slate’s own Mike Pesca, “It’s not a safe space. It’s a comedy club. You may not approve. Close friends of mine don’t approve. But if you come, that’s the way it is.” That attitude has led to walkouts and protests at the venue that have persisted as surprise, drop-in sets have given way to appearances by C.K. that have been announced beforehand.

One of the protestors of the club is lawyer Lana Pelletier McCrea, who spontaneously showed up outside C.K.’s set on Oct. 29 with a sign that read “DOES THIS SIGN MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, LOUIE?” Now, the Comedy Cellar has released a video in the spirit of “open dialogue” in which McCrea and comedian Pete Lee sit down to—civilly!—discuss the controversy and C.K.’s continuing appearances. After McCrea explains her opinions about the role the Comedy Cellar has played in C.K.’s comeback, Lee asks her if there’s anything the disgraced comedian could do to make things right.

“I don’t know,” replies McCrea. “I’m not his mommy. I’m not the one who’s gonna say, ‘Well, Louis, you need to stand up here and apologize.’ I’m not gonna do that. That’s not my role. I don’t know what he needs to do, I just know that he needs to do something. And what he’s doing right now is not it.”

As for whether she’d prefer the Comedy Cellar continue with C.K.’s unannounced drop-in sets or put C.K.’s name on the lineup so that audience members know what they’re getting into, McCrea had a simple response: “I’m gonna have to say, not putting him on at all.” Instead, she suggested that the Comedy Cellar put the women C.K. harassed, like Abby Schachner and Rebecca Corry, onstage instead. The open dialogue here is a great way for the Comedy Cellar to let critics know they’re being heard. Whether management actually takes McCrea’s suggestions to heart remains to be seen.