Louis CK : comedian : live reviewLouis CK


March 2013

Live Review



Last year, Michael McIntyre, John Bishop, RusselHoward and their extra talented agents made millions of pounds playing consecutive nights (sometimes up to 10) in the largest venues in Britain’s biggest cities. They repeated the process a few months later due to ‘phenomenal public demand’.

I always find it strange when a second tour is pre empted due to the nation’s insatiable desire for more showsbefore tickets for the first leg are put on sale. This knack for second guessing the public consciousness miraculously coincides with a full scale advertising campaign for a T.V. series or ghost written book for said comic which may also beput up for an industry award in time for the next tour. Repeat formula ad nauseum until we get Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show pulling ratings as if it’s a normal occurrence in a progressive society. You can usually bet your sad pining life that in the few months between tours, every critic will be raving about the last show whilst adverts are rotated constantly about how hilarious the comic is just to ensure that everyone is on the make when they take the leap to stadiumsized venues.

The more world weary readers may well be viciously spitting into their All Bran about how showbiz has always been about profiteering and you can’t change it because we tried and failed in the 80’s so stop reminding us of our naive failings etc. And to those people I salute you. Who am I to saythat decaying cultural values have worsened when I was never subjected to Ben Elton the first time around?

Others will argue that these acts are harmless and only cater for a certain demographic that enjoys light laughs and simple escapism from their everyday lives. Louis CK would reiterate this point, burrowing into your dumb complacent head and give you a spring clean until your common sense mechanism is back in working order. A life spent going from workplace to T.V. watching third rate jesters spout wacky routines whilst their dull puppet projections beam from every living room window onto deserted streets illuminating potholes and nothing else. Climbing the staircase after a double bill of soma inducing laughter tracked nothingness then back to work discussing dick jokes and footballers latest twitters revelations.

These easy comics aren’t harmless. Theycontribute to the ongoing erosion of the nation’s soul, limiting people’s ability to think and question at a time when they are being shafted every which way. Culture is now dictated by a seasonal conveyor belt glossing over the need for substance in people’s lives. Unlike many of today’s successful comics Louis CK hasslugged it out for years as a writer and under achieving performer until one day in his 30’s he entered a creative transition, shamed into inspiration by George Carlin’s work ethic of wiping the slate clean and doing brand new material every year. Decades of drudgery and disappointment have refined his delivery and enhanced his ability to broach topicsthat go beyond the two dimensions of broader observational comedy.

That doesn’t happen when you are fast tracked from nightclub to stadium in a couple of years after a few appearances on script written panel shows. Somewhere in the smug echelons of the opposition, CK has joined the masters who include Lenny Bruce, Richard Prior, George Carlin and Bill Hicks. Comics who could each take a taboo in society and ridicule its power to control people until you saw things for what they are. Louis CK continues this tradition. Anyway…

Tonight was awe inspiring. No catchphrases or tired routines about dentists, just a voice that can articulate what you hide in the closet and the reasons why. Anthropological musings touching on a space between absurd and profound with no boundaries set by common decency. It is in this space where uncomfortable truths are digested with nervous laughter and you get to see the world through the eyes of a seer. He subtly ridicules the arrogance of human beings, ormore specifically the unbearably narcissistic side of humanswhich should be derided.

His cross hairs glide from the smug self assurance of certain atheists who are just as ignorant as religious zealots to the self imposing optimists who don’t realise that self hate and regrets are life skills necessary forbecoming a better person and avoiding further mistakes. He marvels at the fact that we have escaped the food chain and you realise how lucky you are to be alive and not dodgingcheetah’s en route to work. For every dig at man’s unbridled idiocy he declares his gratefulness for living in the same surroundings. Then he questions the point of being alive with misanthropic zeal. He appeals because just as you’re realising what a broad scope of agreeable points he’s making he’s shot them down with characterized humility. You have to decide for yourself what to believe and map out your own moral compass and not just go along with the herd. The way he engages an audience might appear understated but his inquisitive outlook is something akin to an adrenalin shot to the brain and a welcome tonic to the guffawing anaesthesia the Apollo usually caters for. Did I also mention that he’s hilarious?


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  1. I’d also highly recommend his series Louie. It’s utterly glorious and like nothing else on TV; seemingly disconnected vignettes that vary between hilarious, fantastical, romantic and poignant. Each episode is like a mini Woody Allen movie, it’s quite stunning.

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