Comedian Louis C.K. is in hot water again, this time for seeming to make fun of survivors of the Parkland school shooting and their effort for stricter gun control.
In the audio, reportedly from a recent comedy set, the audience is heard laughing as the comedian mocks the students for testifying before Congress.
“Testify in front of Congress, these kids, what the f***? What are you doing?” asks the man in the audio clip. “Cause you went to a high school where kids got shot, why does that mean I have to listen to you? Why does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way and now I gotta listen to you talking?”
Seventeen teens and adults were killed in the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Clips of the audio started popping up on social media over the weekend. James Dolce, the owner of Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown, New York, told CNN that the performance took place at his club in December.
The comedian performed six shows over 14 days at three of his clubs, Dolce said. Each show was sold out, he said.
“People love him. The crowds love him. He played to standing ovations for all six shows,” Dolce said. “He’s a comic genius. He’s the top, a legend in the business.”
Dolce said he was not sure how a portion of the performance was recorded, because the club has a strict no filming or recording policy. During the performances, “there was not one bit of controversy, no one said he shouldn’t be on stage,” he said.
Dolce said he is not paying much attention to the backlash. “I don’t get too involved with that. I’m not his producer or his agent. I’m just a comedy club owner,” he said.
Will he book Louis C.K. again? “Of course. Sure. Without a doubt,” Dolce said. “He’ll be back. I don’t know exactly when, but without a doubt.”
Parkland survivors respond
Survivors of the shooting and others affected by the massacre expressed their dismay with the comments.
“To anyone who knows Louis C.K., please deliver this message for me. My daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting. My son ran from the bullets. My wife and I deal with loss every day. Why don’t you come to my house and try out your new pathetic jokes?” Parkland father Fred Guttenberg said on Twitter.
“It’s a shame when you sink so low that your comeback plan is to make fun of school shooting survivors for speaking out,” Stoneman Douglas graduate Ryan Deitsch said on Twitter.
Later, Deitsch urged people to stop bringing attention to the comments by discussing them.
“While I appreciate members of the press for doing their duties, I & hopefully others will decline to speak more on this subject. This will only grant further attention to an individual whose deplorability belongs left behind as we all ascend into a brighter new year.”
Former student Cameron Kasky said he used to enjoy the comedian’s popular show, “Louis.” Now, it seems like “he’s becoming more of a Milo-style provocateur as opposed to just a non-PC comedian,” Kasky said on Twitter, referring to former Breibart news writer Milo Yiannopoulos.
“No, it’s not my job to police comedy just because I find it offensive. Comedy is supposed to be offensive. My feelings have no place in it. Yes, Louis is an ass for the jokes he’s making which sucks cause he used to be really funny and not just a professional jerk,” Kasky said on Twitter.
Others pointed out that their brush with death gave them a perspective on life that’s different from that of other teens.
“Although taking jello shots & eating mushrooms might have been ideal for you when you were 18, that is not the luxury that we have after having to see our friends and classmates in caskets because of preventable gun violence,” Parkland survivor Kyra Parrow said on Twitter.
Other gun control activists weighed in.
Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, criticized the comedian not only for his gun violence comments, but also for other comments on the recording that dismiss common pronoun etiquette in transgender and nonbinary communities.
CNN is trying to reach Louis C.K. for comment.
Just last week, the comedian found himself under scrutiny after an old video surfaced that showed him using the N-word. Louis C.K. says the word in a 2011 video while joking around with fellow comedians Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais.
And in November 2017, just as the #MeToo movement was gaining steam, five women came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against the comedian. Louis C.K. acknowledged the accusations were true and apologized.
“These stories are true. At the time, I said to myself that what I did was OK because I never showed a woman my (penis) without asking first, which is also true,” he said in a statement obtained by CNN at the time.
“But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your (penis) isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
Louis C.K. went on to say that he is “remorseful” and has “tried to learn” from his irresponsible behavior.
FX cut ties with him shortly afterward. He was the executive producer of several shows on the network, including “Better Things,” “Baskets” and “Louie.” Netflix also announced that it was scrapping plans for a stand-up special starring the comedian.
CNN’s Linh Tran, Chloe Melas and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.