Here's How Late Night Hosts Did (and Didn't) Respond to the Louis C.K. Allegations

The world of comedy is network of people giving each other jobs, promoting one another’s shows, and then giving each other more jobs. Louis C.K. has long benefited from this system, serving as a writer on shows that also employed many men who ended up as late night hosts, who, in turn, helped him promote whatever video he was selling for five bucks on his website. So, how would the men who love Louis respond to the allegations against him?


The answer is that they mostly didn’t. The clip above from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is weirdly edited; close to the very end he address C.K.’s cancelled appearance on his show Thursday night, but the bit is cut off in the middle, almost as though to deflect viewers from it. Eventually, Colbert briefly brings up the accusations that Louis C.K. forced women to watch him masturbate before turning it into a joke about Keith Urban:

“For those of you tuning in to see my interview with Louis C.K. tonight, I have some bad news. Then I have some really bad news.”

“Louis canceled his appearance here tonight because The New York Times broke this story today: Five women are accusing Louis C.K. of sexual misconduct,” Colbert said. “When reached for comment, Jesus said, ‘La la la la la, I don’t want to hear about it, I was a big fan.’ Now, these are disturbing allegations, and it’s just the latest in an avalanche of allegations against powerful and prominent men: Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Kevin Spacey. And a lot of men look at this misbehavior, and they feel, There’s nothing I can do. Well, last night, one man stepped up to do it: country music star and soul patch safe space, Keith Urban.

According to the Daily Beast, Colbert’s first TV writing job was on the Dana Carvey Show, where Louis C.K. served as head writer. That was in 1996, so it’s been almost 30 years of fun for these bros.

On Late Night with Seth Meyers, C.K. was also a throwaway gag, following comments about the allegations that Roy Moore instigated sexual relationships with teen girls.

“Politics are so full of perverts and deviants. I’m so glad I work in comedy,” says Meyers, before seeing an image of the New York Times exposé and yelling, “Damn!”

Trevor Noah was far more explicit on The Daily Show, following a story about how Facebook wants our nudes by saying, “I thought this would be the most pervy story I’d see today. And then Louis C.K. said, ‘Hold my penis.’”

“At this point, we’re going to need a new Oscar category this year: best actor whose movies we can’t watch anymore. And you know, in fact, at this point, now that I think about it, all the women in Hollywood should win double Oscars for acting like all the men were cool all along. Every single one of them. This sh*t is insane.

“Like, it’s getting to the point whenever I see a beloved celebrity’s name trending on Twitter I’m like, ‘Oh, please tell me they’re dead. Please tell me they’re dead... Ah, damn it!’”


The Opposition with Jordan Klepper also addressed the issue head on, folding Louis C.K.’s story in with Roy Moore. Klepper references C.K.’s film I Love You, Daddy and the reasonable demand that we separate a man from his creations:

“Good lord. It’s a confusing time—so we should return to what we know: good old-fashioned phrases people say when sexual assault allegations arise. Phrases like, ‘You should separate the man from the art.’ So please. When you are watching Louis C.K.’s movie I Love You, Daddy, a film about an old man dating an underage woman featuring a serial masturbator, please. Don’t think of Louis C.K.’s accusers.”


Neither Jimmy Kimmel nor James Corden mentioned the breaking news story. Neither did Conan O’Brien during his taping at the Apollo Theater, according to the Daily Beast. Jimmy Fallon is currently in reruns, following the death of his mother.


If we’ve learned anything in the weeks since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, it’s that these stories aren’t going away. In fact, it seems like there’s a never ending stream of them coming from every aspect of our culture! Late night hosts are never hesitant to drag the people they hate over the coals when damning allegations make their way into the news cycle; now it’s time for these guys to figure out how to also call out their friends.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin


Much as I like Colbert, I’ve started to judge people at least a little by how they react when the accused man is one of their peers. He could have done better, especially since none of this came completely out of the blue. If I’ve heard rumors about Louis C.K., I assume his fellow comedians have too.

On a political note, I notice a pretty interesting line in the sand, with McCain, Romney, and Kasich avoiding equivocation about Trump and most others adding the “if true” qualifiers when condemning Moore. Romney actually did a pretty good job of pointing out that the standard of proof for an election isn’t the same as in a trial. Flake, for all his grandstanding about speaking out, was on the wimpy side. Corker doesn’t seem to have said anything at all yet.