Jon Stewart’s Immediate Reaction To Louis CK Allegations Years Ago Was To Tell Jokes, Then Give Him ‘The Benefit Of The Doubt’

Jon Stewart’s first thought when confronted years ago with allegations Louis C.K. was showing random women his penis was literally, “What? Joke, joke … [give him] the benefit of the doubt.”

The stage-comedian who was definitively funnier doing fake news than telling actual jokes then said, when allegations got serious, that his response was “I know Louis C.K.” and he’s “a gentlemen.”

The former “Daily Show” host joined the “Today” show on Tuesday morning where he said he was “stunned” by the recent allegations against his fellow comedian, but also recalled the first time he heard of them a year ago.

“A year ago I was doing a podcast with David Axelrod and a man in the audience asked me about it,” Stewart recalled, adding that he had never heard of them until then.

“My first response was, ‘What?’ And then, joke, joke, and as he kept going, I was like, ‘Look, I know this is very serious, but I know Louis, he’s always been a gentleman to me,’ which, again, it speaks to the blindness that I think a man has, which is like, ‘Hey! He’s a good guy, what are you talking about?’” Stewart said. “Digging around in it and finding that some people had done, it was hard, but we were all assured like, no, but we took somebody’s word for it, and maybe that’s an error on our part.”

Stewart also elaborated on giving people like Louis the “benefit of the doubt” and admitted to questioning whether or not he could have done more to stop it. He, like many others, instead chose to do nothing. (FLASHBACK: Jon Stewart Found The Louis CK Rumors Hilarious Just A Year Ago)

“You give your friends the benefit of the doubt,” Stewart said. “You always find yourself back to a moment of, ‘Did I miss something? Could I have done more?’ And in this situation, I think we all could have. So you feel anger at what you did to people.”

Furthermore, he suggested that there’s a large issue in comedy of men being used to having control over women.

“Look, comedy on its best day is not a great environment for women,” the comedian continued. “The idea that there was this added layer of pressure and manipulation and fear and humiliation. … I think it’s a question of, we’re used to being in charge, and I think if you talk to women, they’re in a very difficult position, and you get mad at yourself, too, for laughing it off or for thinking, ‘That didn’t happen.’ And it’s hard.”

Last week a report by the New York Times revealed allegations from at least five women claiming Louis CK masturbated in front of them. The following day, the comedian admitted to the claims.