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Staff Picks Category: Cell phones

Louis C.K. : Hilarious []



If you are easily offended by delicate or obscene subject matter, this 2010 concert film is, clearly, blatantly, spectacularly… not for you. Come to think of it, if you are offended by ANY words, in and of themselves, regardless of context, you may want to look elsewhere. It’s not that Louis is un-necessarily mean spirited or seeks to offend (well, except that he admittedly is and does, admitting at one point herein that shocking people makes him laugh) but he will leave many people squirming in their seats, probably laughing inside, but uncomfortable, to be sure. To those that love Louis C.K. , and I count myself strongly among them, his latest hour is the pinnacle of years of discipline and work on the road . It is the first Stand-Up film ever to be accepted at Sundance and the first stand-up comedy film in decades to show in theaters.
Unlike most working comics, Louie has been creating a completely new hour of stand-up every year, abandoning all older material, testing new routines every spring and summer in clubs and theaters before filming an hour special when his new hour is fully developed. Despite the obvious shock factor in many of the bits, what makes his comedy work so well is the surprising heart and thought that go into the writing, and the natural, “I just thought of this and I’m going to share it with you” delivery . When you are watching Louis perform at his best, you see the exasperated self-loathing character he describes and believe in it fully, to the point where you forget that he performs the act night in and night out, and it can be unsettling to see the same joke performed again elsewhere. Much of the best material he has used in his last few specials have been inspired by his role as a devoted father of two daughters and the experience of his recent divorce. When he delivers lines about the ridiculous anger and exasperation many parents feel but never openly express, it is always obvious and without question how much he loves his own children. While he brilliantly and savagely mocks the stupidity and spoiled impatience of modern day America, he saves his strongest contempt for himself.
The best stand-up is often that which lays bare the desperation and pain of our brief and ridiculous moment on earth and allows us to laugh at the most fragile and childish of our own instincts. At its best this film recalls some of the finest moments of his heroes, Pryor’s ability to make us laugh at his most painful moments and Carlin’s ability to dissect the absurdity of his time and make us see and laugh at ourselves. The film, however, is 100% Louie, and is the painfully funny work of a stand-up at the height of his powers.

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