Hannah Gadsby quit comedy after Nanette, the Netflix stand-up comedy special that skyrocketed her to international acclaim last year – or so we thought.
Gadsby is currently touring the United States with a new stand-up set, Douglas. In the show, notes the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview with the comedian, Gadsby justifies the contradiction by joking that she “quit comedy the same way Louis C.K. said he was sorry.”
In November 2017, Louis C.K. admitted to and apologized for his sexual misconduct, including his masturbation in front of female comics. When he returned to stand up in late 2018, he did so with a flurry of controversial jokes, mocking the transgender community, the Parkland shooting survivors, and individuals with disabilities. He also poked fun at his own predatory behavior.
Gadsby thinks C.K.’s jokes stem from his inability to see a shift in his own power and privilege. “He is a joke now. And I think it’s important to keep making that joke,” she told the LA Times, “What the issue is, for a long time Louis C.K.’s comedy platform was that he was this hopeless guy bumbling through the world. And at some stage, he was no longer that, but that was still his voice. And I think he still believes that. He has not reassessed his position of power, and that is why he was able to abuse it. He still honestly thinks he’s the victim in all of this.”
She believes that C.K.’s material hasn’t changed and that neither has he. “He’s just angry and bitter,” Gadsby says, before asking, “why are we trusting a man who has a compulsion like that where it diminishes the humanity of the people around him? Why do we care what he thinks about the human condition?”
According to Gadsby, however, that doesn’t mean C.K. has no right to perform. “I could never advocate censorship. Censorship is useless because it leaves a gap where we learned a lesson.”
This is not the first time Gadsby has criticized C.K. In Nanette, Gadsby poignantly noted how as a society we care more about the reputations of problematic men like Louis C.K., Bill Cosby, and Harvey Weinstein than we do about their accusers.