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Entertainment & Arts

Louis C.K.'s jokes about Parkland shooting victims stoke outrage

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Comedian Louis C.K. is facing backlash over jokes he made about Parkland, Fla., shooting victims and non-binary youth.
(Michael Nagle / For The Times)

Louis C.K. is back in hot water after cracking jokes about non-binary youth and survivors of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

The embattled comedian, who fell from grace last year after a series of sexual misconduct allegations were levied against him, continued his rounds on the stand-up circuit (and has for some time). But some of his new material had many up in arms when leaked audio was posted online this weekend.

According to TMZ, the audio first appeared on YouTube, noting that the set took place on Dec. 16, though it did not specify a location. The clip has since been removed, but former “Jimmy Kimmel Live” writer Jack Allison shared a particularly coarse snippet on Twitter on Sunday that highlighted some of C.K.’s offending remarks. (Allison also got heat for posting the bit.)

“I’m a little disappointed in the younger generation,” C.K. said, explaining that today’s youth should be up to no good and getting high. And, as a man in his 50s, he was excited to see 20-year-olds be crazy.

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The Emmy Award winner then skewered them, calling them boring and too politically correct, and mimicked those who prefer to be addressed in gender-neutral ways.

“They’re like royalty. They tell you what to call them,” he mocked in the expletive-laden rant. “‘You should address me as ‘They/them,’ because I identify as gender neutral.’ Oh, OK. You should address me as ‘There’ because I identify as a location.” (He then specified a vulgar location.)

“They testify in front of Congress, these kids… What are you doing?! You’re young. You should be crazy. You should be unhinged, not in a suit,” he said, singling out the politically active survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting massacre in Florida, though he did not address them by name.

“You’re not interesting because you went to a high school where kids got shot. Why does that mean I have to listen to you? How does that make you interesting? You didn’t get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way. Now I gotta listen to you talking?” he said.

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The backlash on social media was swift.

Fred Guttenberg, a father of two Parkland shooting victims, was among those who railed against the comic.“My daughter was killed in the Parkland shooting. My son ran from the bullets. My wife and I deal with loss everyday. Why don’t you come to my house and try out your new pathetic jokes?” he tweeted.

“This hacky, unfunny, shallow routine is just a symptom of how people are afraid to feel empathy,” producer Judd Apatow tweeted. “Louis CK is all fear and bitterness now. He can’t look inward.”

Responding to Apatow, actress Rosanna Arquette had even less sympathy: “He’s a disgusting excuse for a man. right there with trump as far as I’m concerned.”

“Well, this erased any lingering hope I had that he would bounce back and try to truly make up for his behavior,” another person wrote on Twitter.

“‘I identify as a place’ nah man, how about as a sex offender,” another tweet said, referring to the multiple women who accused C.K. of sexual misconduct.

However, some came to C.K.’s defense, saying that he always made jokes of that ilk, and others said they were excited to hear more from him.

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“Hand us a list of what we can joke about and what is off limits. Any ‘comedian’ who agrees to your list is probably really, really bad at their job,” argued one tweet.

Representatives for C.K. could not be reached for comment.

Twitter: @NardineSaad


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