Comedy club responds after Louis C.K. set is met with protests

"We don’t censor artists"

The owner of the San Jose comedy club that hosted a Louis C.K. show this week has defended the decision in the wake of protests.

A statement released by Improv Comedy Club, the owner of San Jose Improv where the comedian performed on Wednesday (January 18), read: “we don’t censor artists.”

Louis CK

Louis CK

“We see comedy as the final frontier and we don’t censor artists. We want them to perform without scrutiny.”

The statement continues: “We trust that our audiences can decide for themselves what their limits are. We understand that not everyone will agree with our decision and we respect their right to protest. We also respect Louis C.K.’s right to perform.”

San Jose Improv’s response comes after demonstrators gathered outside the Californian comedy club in protest against C.K who in 2017 admitted to masturbating in front of women. On one occasion, this was over the phone without consent.

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Peter Hartlaub said on Twitter that protesters were shouting “Shame!””and “San Jose, not Man Jose,” as ticketholders entered the venue.

As The Hollywood Reporter notes, a man who called himself “George Doe”, told Hartlaub that he was punched in the face whilst protesting. Harlaub wrote that police arrived at the scene and took a statement (the San Jose Police Department has not yet responded to a request for comment from The Hollywood Reporter).

C.K. has performed several routines over the course of the last six months, including at New York’s Comedy Cellar.

In December 2018, a woman who was watching part of a surprise comedy appearance by C.K. heckled him during his set , yelling “Get your dick out!”

Klaire Randall was hailed as a “hero” on social media and explained her actions to Vice, saying that people should not be subjected to “nonconsensual performances”.

“If Louis C.K. wants to keep performing, if he wants to give people notice, that’s his right as a human being. Be my guest,” she said. “But I want him to know—and that’s why I said what I did—you might take this platform, but it is not going to be a platform that is unobstructed. People are going to say what they have to say to make it hard.”