The actress starred with the disgraced comedian in I Love You, Daddy.
There were many women around the world who felt that Louis C.K’s surprise comeback tour at New York’s stand up club Comedy Cellar in October was wrong.
The event was protested by two women, who held placards aloft and yelled that comedy bookers should give the stage to the women that C.K had exposed himself in front of instead of to the man himself.
“Frankly, I was furious,” one of the protesters told the New York Times. “Every female comedian he has harmed deserves a place on the Comedy Cellar stage one hundred times before he should be allowed back on the stage.” (There were also some who were happy C.K was back, too. He received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at his show in late August.)
Rose Byrne is one of the women who were appalled by the comedian’s appearance, less than a year after claims of sexual misconduct were made against him. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, the actress said: “It’s too soon for him to have a surprise one, that’s for sure.”
“I think if he’s going to show up, just let everybody know so then they can make a decision, like, ‘I don’t want to see this guy. I’m out.’”
Byrne starred in I Love You, Daddy with C.K in 2017, but the film was never properly released as it coincided with the reports of the comedian’s misconduct. Which is probably a good thing, considering its subject matter: A TV producer and writer’s daughter becomes embroiled in a relationship with a much older director, rumoured in the industry to be a paedophile. (Hilarious, right?)
Byrne says her experience was “respectful”, but that “I think it will be a while before that film can be seen, and I think that’s right.”
Kathy Griffin and Padma Lakshmi also criticised C.K’s re-entry into comedic circles. “You know how many talented women and POC comics are knocking on doors trying to get some time in front of audiences or powerful people in this business? And Louis just gets to glide back in on his own terms? Gosh, does it payoff to be in the boys club..the white boys club,” Griffin tweeted.
But not everyone is against the comedian. His longtime friend and peer Sarah Silverman said that C.K masturbated in front of her, with her consent, when they were younger. “When we were kids, and he asked if he could masturbate in front of me, sometimes I’d go ‘F*ck yeah I want to see that!’” she told Howard Stern on his radio show. “It’s not analogous to the other women that are talking about what he did to them. He could offer me nothing. We were only just friends. So sometimes, yeah, I Wanted to see it, it was amazing. Sometimes I would say, ‘F*cking no, gross,’ and we got pizza.’”
“I’m not saying everyone should embrace Louis again,” Silverman added. “I believe he has remorse. I just want him to talk about it on stage. He’s going to have to find his way or not find his way.”
(Silverman’s sister Laura also said that C.K masturbated in front of her “about 20 times” on a road trip “before he was famous… not criminal. But compulsive, rude & gross.”)
Silverman later apologised for her comments after some of C.K’s victims spoke out against her. “I’m sorry. Ugh this is why I don’t like weighing in. I can’t seem to do press 4 my show w/out being asked about it,” she tweeted to victim Rebecca Corry. “But you’re right- you were equals and he fucked with you and it’s not OK. I’m sorry, friend. You are so talented and so kind.”