Louis C.K. Sparks 'Comedy Police,' Cancel Culture Debate After Auschwitz Joke in Israel

As his continued comeback tour is again coming up against criticism from #MeToo movement activists, comedian Louis C.K. sparked debate over "comedy police" and cancel culture, after reportedly making a joke Thursday in Israel about preferring Auschwitz over his hometown of New York City.

"I'd rather be in Auschwitz than New York City," C.K. told the Tel Aviv audience, complaining that he is essentially the most hated man in the U.S. metropolis. "I mean now, not when it was open."

At the comedy club appearance, the half-Jewish comedian, whose birth name is Louis Székely, reportedly referenced his sex scandal amid the cancel culture climate and #MeToo movement, which first ousted him from the spotlight in 2017. Several women accused Louis C.K. of allegedly exposing himself to them in the early 2000s, which he later apologized for.

Debate over both Louis C.K.'s re-entrance into the comedy scene, as well as the recent Auschwitz joke, were widely politicized on social media, with many accusing his detractors of being "leftists" or "politically correct."

Newsweek subscription offers >

According to the New York Daily News, the Israeli audience burst out in uproarious laughter at the Thursday night joke, prompting several social media users to accuse outraged critics of politicizing the joke as "liberal comedy police." But critics of C.K., along with high-profile figures in the #MeToo movement, immediately derided the comedian's Nazi death camp comparison as well as his comeback tour as a whole.

A tweet Friday by "ad eternal" lamented: "non jewish far left comedy policy on the other side of the world: triggered."

Newsweek subscription offers >

"Perhaps he should have thought about this before he did all the sexual misconducting and harassing?" replied writer Molly Jong-Fast.

"The only thing more pitiful than what Louis C.K. has become are those who'll continue to pretend he's Hilarious! Edgy! Fearless! because he serves their obsessive trigger-the-left purposes," remarked Canadian writer Alheli Picazo, lamenting the contrarian, troll-like nature of many of the comedian's supporters.

Another Twitter commenter remarked that the joke was "very on brand," and that "true" fans of comedy would not find that joke offensive or surprising.

Twitter user Ana Moss noted that C.K., "much like Ivanka Trump," has switched gears and focused on his ancestry because he's "Jewish when inconvenient."

The Daily News reported that C.K. is set for a series of European performance dates in the coming months, although it is unclear if or when he will next play an announced show in New York City. The owner of the Comedy Cellar, which was prominently featured in his former show, Louie, told the paper in May 2018 that C.K. and comedian Aziz Ansari both deserved another shot at performing comedy.

Louis CK
Louis C.K. made a joke comparing Auschwitz to New York City as he lamented the world of comedy and being ousted from the spotlight. Eric Thayer/Reuters
Louis C.K. Sparks 'Comedy Police,' Cancel Culture Debate After Auschwitz Joke in Israel | Culture