Louis C.K. is back on the road. Starting Saturday night in Richmond, Va., the onetime comedy king, who’s been in comeback mode for more than a year, is taking further steps to reestablish his career after admitting to sexual misconduct in 2017.
On Sunday, he sent a message to fans and others on his email list, letting them know about his plans to tour and to bring back his website. (The first sentence in the missive asks those who don’t want to be on the list anymore to “scroll now all the way to the bottom of this email and click the unsubscribe option down there.”)
On Friday, his website’s home page read: “Hey. Hello. I am on the road doing professional stand-up comedy. Which consists of sharing jokes, stories, observations, lies, non-lies, and being generally ridiculous for the benefit of a laughing audience.”
His directs visitors to his list of tour dates currently through January — which include performances in North Carolina, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan, as well as in Israel, Italy and Slovakia. “Click on the links to buy tickets so you can be there,” he says. “Or don’t.”
But those looking for a casual night of comedy might want to read the fine print before attending. The tickets come with a host of stipulations: Not only will the performances be phone-free experiences (Yondr cases will be provided and required, an increasingly common practice in comedy and theater), but attendees will not be allowed to take notes, even on paper.
“Recording of any kind, including note taking,” is not permitted, the rules say. And no part of Louis C.K.’s “materials” — a.k.a. his jokes and sketches — are allowed to be “copied, translated, transmitted, displayed, distributed or reproduced verbatim,” in any form. Those who violate these rules are subject to legal repercussions, it reads.
It’s not the first time Louis C.K. has tried to eliminate leaks with the threat of legal penalties. Similar language was used in May for his four-night surprise residency at the Acme Comedy Company in Minneapolis.
It was just weeks after the October 2017 takedown of Harvey Weinstein, triggering the #MeToo movement, that Louis C.K. was accused by several women in the comedy world of sexual misconduct, including instances in which he masturbated in front of them. Shortly after, he admitted in a statement, “These stories are true.”
The revelations led to the end of his production deal with FX Networks and Productions and the canceled release of a film he directed and starred in. For months after, the comedian kept a low profile. But in August 2018, he made an unannounced appearance at the Comedy Cellar in Manhattan, performing for apparently the first time since he admitted his wrongdoing.
He did a 15-minute set to a sold-out crowd of about 115, who greeted him with an ovation. For the next couple of months, he performed sporadically at the club, and by that October, he was no longer simply popping in, but making scheduled appearances — marking a new phase of his comeback attempt. “Hell is not that bad,” he told the crowd. “I’ve been there.”