The 2022 Grammy Awards ceremony had not even begun yet, and some of the most notoriously “canceled” men in Hollywood were already having a fantastic evening. On Sunday, ahead of music’s biggest night, disgraced comedian Louis C.K. took home the statue for Best Comedy Album for Sincerely Louis CK. And Kanye West, who was banned from performing at the Grammys for egregiously harassing his ex Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend, Pete Davidson, won two pre-show Grammy Awards for Best Rap Song for “Jail,” the second song on his controversial album Donda, and Best Melodic Rap Performance award for the song “Hurricane”—making him now tied with Jay-Z as the rapper with the most Grammy Awards in history. (Both he and Jay-Z currently have 24 awards.)
Ye was up for five Grammys on Sunday night, including Album of the Year.
The Louis C.K. special was significant for several reasons, most notably that it was the comedian’s first special since he was accused of sexual misconduct by five women in 2017. C.K., who later admitted that all of the “stories were true,” disappeared from the public eye for what seemed like only a moment after the allegations made headlines. In the summer of 2018, C.K. began appearing at comedy clubs around the country in an attempt at public redemption, which has obviously not been super difficult for him.
In Sincerely Louis CK, C.K. does address the allegations waged against him and joked to the crowd: “How was your last couple of years? How was 2018 and 2019 for you guys? Anybody else get in global amounts of trouble?” He claimed to have “learned a lot” from being publicly accused of sexual misconduct and even quipped that he “would have left the planet if they had another one of those.”
Clearly unable to not dig himself into a deeper hole, C.K. addressed consent and seemed to suggest that he now understands what the word means: “If you want to do it with someone else, you need to ask first. But if they say yes, you still don’t get to go ‘Woo!’ and charge ahead. You need to check in often, I guess that’s what I’d say. It’s not always clear how people feel. Men are taught to make sure the woman is okay. The thing is, women know how to seem okay when they’re not okay.” He also made a pretty fucked up joke in which he compared women having sex against their will to slaves who sing while working against their will.
“It’s kind of like a Negro spiritual. It’s sort of similar. So to assume that she likes it is like if they heard slaves singing in the field and you’re like, ‘Hey, they’re having a good time out there,’” he said in the now-Grammy Award winning special.
As Jezebel columnist Zeba Blay wrote, cancellation is a scam: These artists know “that with outrage will always come counter-outrage — people who want to signal their intellectual freedom or social individualism by steadfastly applauding artists who spout harmful or outdated ideas.” They actually want to be “canceled” and depend on it for relevance and attention. And their careers usually pretty quickly bounce back.
While we’ve already addressed how deeply screwed it is that men like C.K., Kanye West, Marilyn Manson, and Dave Chappelle were even nominated for major awards like the Grammys, there’s something very different about watching them win. Sure, the prestigious show could’ve awarded Lavell Crawford for The Comedy Vaccine, Chelsea Handler for Evolution, Lewis Black for Thanks for Risking Your Life, Nate Bargatze for The Greatest Average American, or Kevin Hart for Zero Fucks Given, but it made a choice and a statement by selecting C.K. And perhaps we should be less surprised that this might happen after last week, when Will Smith won the Best Actor award at the Oscars just moments after slapping Chris Rock across the face on stage for making a joke about his wife.
I don’t want to hear about the “horrors” of cancel culture ever, ever again.