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Monday, October 19, 2009

Louis CK review

My official review of Louis CK's show at the Vogue on Saturday is now on-line at the Straight. It'll be out in the paper on Thursday if you have something against reading on a computer screen.

Spoiler alert: It was really, really good. I don't think it was quite as strong as his appearance here last year, but that's really nitpicking. It was a mostly new show, too, as is his custom. Only two bits from last year made it to this year's 90-minute performance (that I remember, anyway). I have no idea where he is in the development stages with this one. There were some chunks that didn't really go anywhere. And you know what? I didn't matter one bit. He told a story about being in a high-speed chase in L.A. that had no pay-off but the joy was in the details along the way.

He really can take even a premise done to death and make something of it. So we get material about airport security and deplaning protocol that's fresh and new, proving once again that there's no such thing as a hack premise, just hack comics. I think it's key that he really does (seem to) care about this stuff. He doesn't choose material because he thinks it'll get a laugh (although I'm sure that's part of it); he talks about stuff he finds funny and has the confidence to know he can make it work for us.

He also will go to any length to hit all the hot-button words. Usually a comic that tries so hard to squeeze in all the dirty words in his arsenal is tiresome. Add toilet humour to the mix, and on paper he's a comic that wouldn't interest me. But he does, inexplicably. I hate to list some of his topics and words out of context, but I'm going to anyway. Trust me when I say he utters these in the least offensive way possible:
  • Mother rape (he's against it)
  • "nigger baby" (he's aghast that his ex-wife told him he yelled it out in his sleep)
  • "cunt hair" (used as a measurement to express an infinitesimal difference)
  • "shit the dick of Christ" (he doesn't know where that came from)
  • "shitting in people's mouths" (used as an example of what's okay, Biblically speaking)
  • "retard in a stroller" (NYC parents coddle their teenagers so they end up like this)
  • "some Dutch faggot in 1776" (not meant sexually)
  • "kid fucking" (again, he's against it but uses it to illustrate it's the reason why some children are killed or go missing)
  • "fuck her in the period hole" (surprisingly pro-woman)
His biggest targets are the selfish haves in the world who are constantly looking out for number one, and... himself. So he's able to walk that line. And he does so masterfully.

My favourite line of the night, possibly, was following his chunk on how good it feels to say "Jesus Christ!" What did they do B.C? Or even during the time of Christ? He ends with Jesus's friends watching him being crucified and not being able to saying anything other than, "... That is bananas... A real humdinger," before the brilliant "They were three days away from having the perfect thing to say!"

CK thinks it's ridiculous the way we overuse language to the point where everything is amazing, genius or hilarious. But those are three pretty good words to describe his work these days.


Anonymous said...

It's one of those features of comedy that taken out of context subject material can seem the opposite of funny, but in the hands of a pro it's actually insightful. I managed to snag the book you left for me on Saturday by the way, many thanks! :D


Anonymous said...

I went to that show, and was not impressed at all. I thought he was rude, disgusting, and it was a total waste of my money. I've been to many comic shows and this was by far the most vulgar and disappointing of them all. People were laughing at stuff that was absolutely wrong, but they were "at a comic show" so they laughed anyways. Pretty pathetic.