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Did Louis C.K. Return To Comedy Too Soon?


Just after the news about Louis C.K.'s return broke, the comedian and actress Melinda Hill tweeted, Louis C.K. is spearheading the #MeTooSoon movement. Melinda Hill is with us now to talk about all of this. Welcome.

MELINDA HILL: Thank you so much for having me.

CHANG: Let's start with your tweet. What did you mean by #MeTooSoon?

HILL: You know, I think what a lot of people are craving in and out of the comedy community is some sort of a real apology and an amends. And while Louis C.K. did admit his behavior, which I think is very commendable, I think a lot of people are still waiting for a true, heartfelt apology of, like, I am sorry for the harms I have...

CHANG: You don't think his apology was heartfelt?

HILL: I think it may have been heartfelt. But I think what is lacking is, here's what I learned; here's what I've done to change; and here's how I can amend it moving forward, or how can I amend this?

CHANG: So you would agree with the owner of the Comedy Cellar, where Louis C.K. performed, that there can't be, quote, "a permanent life sentence on someone who does something wrong."

HILL: Well, look; I think we're all human. We're all entitled to make mistakes, to grow and change and to heal hopefully. And, you know, I think the #MeToo movement is so exciting because it's been so impactful and powerful because people are speaking up. And that is so brave. And they're bringing a lot of the toxic trauma to the surface. But now it's like I want to see the next movement. I want to see this pivot into the now what movement of, like, how do we now take all of this trauma and steer the ship into solution, right?

You know, otherwise, we're just doing a lot of trauma-bonding. And I think while that's an important and necessary part of the process - and I commend everyone who's spoken out - I want to see what's next. And I think we can't just shame and demonize people. We, you know, need allies. We need men and women to be allies and to have a conversation about, how do we amend this behavior moving forward?

CHANG: And what makes someone deserving of redemption? Is it simply the way they apologized, as you say in the case of Louis C.K., or is there something more to that? What makes the moment right for someone who's been accused and has admitted to sexual misconduct - for that person to come back?

HILL: It's a great question. And I think it's a little confusing. You know, on many levels here are our heroes - you know, the top echelon performers who we've always looked up to. And it's like there have been some repercussions, which is comforting, but then there have also been crimes committed, and things have gone unpunished. So it's a confusing gray area. But I think these people have a unique opportunity and platform. Louis has a unique opportunity and platform to speak to his fans and to young men and women around the world of, like, hey, here's how to be a real man. A real man, like, looks at his actions. He takes responsibility. He apologizes.

CHANG: But should someone like Louis C.K. have that platform?

HILL: I think we can't just go from, you know, doing a crime and then now we're back and nothing's changed, and we haven't grown or acknowledged.

CHANG: So how do we move forward when someone like you is tweeting too soon? We don't want to hear from you, Louis C.K., just yet.

HILL: Well, you know, again, I think he does have an amazing opportunity to do some things that he hasn't done yet. And so if he's going to use his platform to do that, I'm actually excited to see that. But again, I think if he just kind of skips over the elephant in the room and is like, hey, I'm here to talk about airplane food, I think he's, you know, lost a lot of people on that because people need to see that sort of acknowledgment and what happened there and what's different now. And why are we tuning in? And why do we care?

CHANG: So you say you want to see solutions. What would those solutions look like?

HILL: I'd love to see comedy lineups have half women, half men. How and where in our lives can we implement equal pay for equal work? Where can we stand up for people who are being victimized? Where do we want to consciously spend our money, you know, on entertainment? I would love to see more comedians using their platform to talk about, like, how can we change this, right? And I don't have all the answers. But I know if we're just complaining about it, nothing's changing, right? So we've got to, like, actually implement action.

CHANG: Melinda Hill is a comedian and actress. Thank you very much for talking with us.

HILL: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MICHAEL CERA'S "MIKE MODRAK") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.