Louis C.K.'s first appearance since sex scandal gets a standing ovation but some fellow comics are disgusted.
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Comedy Central.

Just 10 months after stepping away from the limelight, Louis made a dramatic, unannounced return to the stage Monday night.

Less than a year ago, Louis C.K. doing a surprise stand-up bit at New York’s Comedy Cellar would have been a fun surprise for fans in attendance. But it wouldn’t have made news.

Today, it’s one of the biggest stories in the country right now.


It was only 10 months ago in November 2017 that Louis was revealed to have committed several acts of sexual misconduct. He took responsibility for his behavior and disappeared entirely from the public stage.

No one knew if he’d ever come back and what would happen if he did.

On Monday night, he reportedly received a standing ovation from those in attendance during his brief set, details of which are still emerging.

Comedians were quick to react online and the reaction was far less favorable.

The reaction was fierce with many women, and men, saying this isn’t how Louis should have done it.

One of the few prominent comedians to defend Louis’ return was Michael Ian Black, whose tweet welcoming Louis back set off a major firestorm across social media.

Black has been a long-standing advocate for women's rights, but many people were not happy with him seemingly taking the side of Louis. Black later tried to explain the nuance of his tweets but acknowledged people would not be happy.

As the #MeToo movement continues to evolve, we’re still figuring out how to handle the next stage. Men like Louis will be examples no matter what - whether they are good or bad ones is up to them.

Wealthy and powerful men like Louis C.K. face decisions both public and private as they decide how to navigate their next steps after allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

Someone like Louis relies largely on a fan base outside of the Hollywood system -- anytime he wants, he can launch a comedy special or even TV show to his personal but substantial email list.

To many, people like Louis should simply go away forever. But it’s clear he wants to return to public life in some capacity. How he does so could offer a chance for education and healing to those affected by the #MeToo movement.

However, his first foray back into that world shows he’s still far from perfect.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.