I don’t know exactly when I first heard the rumors about Louis C.K., but this is because of how frequently I’ve heard those rumors repeated — not with the hushed tones and gripped elbow of a worried girlfriend’s warning, the way such information is usually shared, but in jokes, told to comedians by comedians.
“You’ve got to hand it to Louis C.K. Actually, there’s no need to hand it to him, but could you at least watch?”
“That guy’s so depraved he makes Louis C.K. watch him jerk off.”
“Where is Louie going up tonight? I wanna go watch him masturbate.”
I’ve been a stand-up comedian since 2011, and since at least 2012, when Gawker published a “blind item” strongly insinuating that Louis C.K. masturbated in front of nonconsenting women, comedians have joked about it with each other. In all those years, no one was ever willing to put their name behind an accusation, and as a new comic starting out in Austin, a second-tier comedy market, everyone I knew was several degrees removed from even speaking to Louis C.K. for longer than a minute or two.