Louis C.K. is a compelling voice in comedy who has just released (Dec. 16) a DVD and CD, "Louis C.K.: Chewed Up," that aired on Showtime back in October, 2008.
Whenever I ask other comedians for their own personal favorites – Louis C.K.'s name is always mentioned; some comics like him so much they lift elements of C.K.'s act into their own.
Born Louis Szekely in Washington D.C., and then raised in the comedy wellspring of the Greater Boston area, C.K. works wells on stage and on the smallscreen; his run on HBO's "Lucky Louie" disappeared too soon. C.K. has great charisma on film as an actor, and is an accomplished writer and director.
Now in his latest effort, Louis's material veers into his mid-life existential crisis. He expresses wistfulness for certain derogatory terms to be okay to use again, restored to its original intention instead of being the politicized football for the PC word police, and explores how soon after monumental tragedy strikes that you can return to a normal schedule of onanistic pleasures.
He can handle it; C.K.'s skills accrued from twenty-plus years of stand-up create a completely relatable persona for Louis; no matter how shocking his material, we understand him completely.
What Jim Gaffigan did for Hot Pockets, Louis C.K. does for the bane of American shopping malls: Cinnabons.
"You decide if we're gonna be in the paper tomorrow, but that shit's going in my face," recounts Louis telling a food court employee who was ready to chuck the gargantuan sweet roll past its prime in the hopper.
The excessive common pastry serves as the symbol for all C.K.'s humorous sad bastard bemoaning of his lost vitality, an acceptance of what is, and it sucks.
Louis shared his thoughts on his farewell to youth. "I was forty when I shot that special. I am now 41. I have accepted that the next significant thing I will do is die, and even that won't matter much."
Chewed Up features Louis declaring he misses using the F-word, which used to mean something completely un-Gay related, just another descriptive word before "douche" seemingly took its place. Taking back the word faggot for laughs is bold act in this post-"Milk" prop 8 environment.
Louis explained the usage of the word in the context of his routine.
"I never claimed to be taking back faggot. It wasn't mine to begin with. It's just that it's a very volatile word which made it worth discussing and talking about as a subject in and of itself. I still think that calling a gay person a faggot is a horrible thing to do."
C.K. is also one of the stars who makes the effort to entertain the troops in military hospitals, and talked about his efforts.
"I went with the USO to some hospitals in DC and Virginia close to Christmas last year. People in the military are very nice and it's sad to think of the people over there that can't get home for Christmas."
Paired with Pam Adlon as his wife on his show "Lucky Louie", the two seemed a believable couple with great chemistry and comic flow. Pam has since been cast as Evan Handler's sex and drug crazed wife Marci on "Californication." Louis had enormous praise for her work. "Pamela is awesome on everything that people put her in. She also played an attorney on 'Boston Legal'. She slapped William Shatner in the face, which was great."
C.K. revealed some of his favorite smallscreen shows to Monsters and Critics. "I loved 'All in the Family.' I love the early 'Simpsons'. 'Project Runway' really sucked me in for a while. Also Moral Orel on Adult Swim."
Along with finishing out his tour, "Louis C.K.: Hilarious", the new year will also have Louis star opposite Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner in "This Side of the Truth," as well as a new TV series on CBS. If you are curious to see where he is playing next, go to his website, www.LouisCK.net
The Louis C.K. Chewed Up CD features Louis' hour performance including two bonus tracks not on the DVD. The DVD includes a 37 minute bonus track of Louis interviewing himself.