Thursday, February 5, 2015

Louis C.K.'s "Live at the Comedy Store"



If you’ve downloaded the new special from Louis C.K., “Live at the Comedy Store,” then perhaps as you watched the video version (If you purchase the album from his website, you get to download both the audio and the video release. Not bad for five bucks) you felt it too. There’s a noticeable difference between C.K. stepping onto a massive theater stage and C.K. entering from behind the curtain at The Comedy Store. There’s a spark of electricity and “this is comedy”-ness that permeates the air, even when watching it on my tiny laptop screen. Yes, I’m very happy for the success of C.K. and it always makes me feel good when a comedian is able to pack out a theater or arena…but there’s something about a comedy club setting that just feels…right.

It should come as no surprise to fans of C.K. that he has released another hour of solid, smart, new, and - most importantly - funny material. If, for whatever reason, you’re on the fence about grabbing this one and adding it to your playlist, allow me to reassure you that it’s a no-brainer. Not only did I buy this as soon as I heard it was available but immediately after listening I promptly returned to C.K.’s site and bought it for a friend. And then I went back and bought it for another friend. It’s nearly impossible to listen to something this funny and not want to share it with others.

The evening of comedy is bookended by two very different impressions. His set starts off with the worst impression of a Mexican you’ve ever heard (whatever you have pictured in your mind, it’s probably wrong) and ends with the best recreation of Ray Bolger’s performance in The Wizard of Oz that was completely over the top…even for The Wizard of Oz. As evidenced on these opening and closing tracks, C.K. loves to play around with voices. It’s fun hearing him display the best way to thank the bat man (not Batman) and when he begins to talk to his toilet disrespectfully (yeah, you read that right), be prepared to begin referring to your own as a “ dumbass toe-lit.” 

During the course of his set, C.K. gleefully bounces from one topic to the next. Sometimes it only takes him a short bit to get to the punch (“First & Last Time Having Sex” is only a minute and a half long, but there’s a lot of comedy packed into those 90 seconds) and sometimes he sticks around for a while and really digs in (like he does with “Babies on a Plane” and the hilarious “Bats” that immediately reminded me of the John Candy/Dan Aykroyd classic film, The Great Outdoors)

You’ll crack up at C.K.’s take on the Bostonian accent (It’s not an accent. It’s a whole city of people saying most words wrong) and his claim that maybe everything Mark Twain said wasn’t brilliant. Also in his crosshairs this time around: Tap-dancers, music students on the subway, Benji, a kid he knew growing up and his stupid mom, and the dog he had that also hated his guts. 

I don’t think it’s abusing the phrase if I refer to C.K. as a comic genius. It’s been two years since his last release but he usually drops an album at the unheard-of pace of one per year. Considering they’re all among the best of the year and he’s also churning out a brilliant television show at the same time, it’s not going out on a limb to rank this guy at the top. 

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