Female comedian who opened for Louis CK in France felt 'enormous responsibility to speak up'

Clémence Michallon
Louis C.K. attends Tribeca TV Festival's sneak peek of Better Things at Cinepolis Chelsea on 22 September, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Tribeca TV Festival)

The female comedian who opened for Louis CK during a recent show in Paris admits she was conflicted after being offered the gig.

Sarah Donnelly, an American performer who does stand-up in France, told The Guardian she felt “an enormous responsibility to speak up” against the disgraced comedian.

CK admitted last year that allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by several women were true.

He has been staging a comeback in recent months – an attempt billed by many as premature and tone-deaf, which attracted protesters outside of a venue in New York City last month.

CK – real name Louis Székely – took his comeback abroad when he performed at a venue in Paris’s Pigalle neighbourhood on Tuesday.

Donnelly opened for him in front of a mostly French audience.

“As comedians it’s our job to address the elephant in the room,” Donnelly told The Guardian.

“And as a woman I felt an enormous responsibility to speak up.

“But of course it’s my job to be funny without committing career suicide.”

The comedian explained she eventually accepted to open for CK because she believed that if she didn’t, a male comedian would get the job.

“Ultimately I took the gig because if it wasn’t me it was going to be another man, and that didn’t seem fair either,” she added.

Donnelly, according to The Guardian, didn’t address CK’s behaviour verbally during her set.

Instead, she pointed out that she was the only female performer of a five-person line-up, and made a “quick reference” to the #MeToo movement.

CK has been accused of masturbating in front of several women without their consent. On stage, the comedian didn’t directly address his past misconduct.

At the beginning of his set, he asked the audience: “What kind of year have you guys had?”, with the crowd clapping “supportively” in response according to The Guardian.

Right before that, he had shared his view of the French capital, telling the audience: “I’ve been in Paris four days, it’s a nice place, a place where any s***** American is welcome.”