If one were to look at my media collection, one would probably assume in advance that I have a lot of stand-up comedians. On the contrary, I have only a few stand-up discs because I tend to be critical of their replay value. I have the classics such as Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, George Carlin as well as a couple of more recent acts such as Joe Rogan and Lewis Black. However, my curiosity was peaked when I heard about Louis C.K. He has been called the George Carlin of today, a very tall order. Well here is hoping that he lives up to most recent special: Hilarious.
The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was home to a Louis C.K. performance in April of 2009. For about 79 minutes he entertained a packed house of people with jokes on a variety of topics including the single life, misused words and being a divorced dad with a couple of children. The show did so well that it was even made into movie theaters across the country as a limited engagement. Eventually it found its way into our homes for everybody to enjoy.
Louis C.K. starts the show admitting that he doesn’t know how to start the show and lets the audience know that he is recently divorced at which point he chastises the crowd for going “awwww”. It’s supposed to be a happy event. People in happy marriages don’t separate, come on! He compares single life to that of a Dodge Dart. (think about it a while, you’ll probably see where he is going). In his single life, he’s become increasingly cynical.
But Louis often finds himself upset with his stupidity which only leads to self-hatred and further analysis. He then goes on to explain an odd meal choice which includes hot wings and ice cream. In one of the more abusing bits of the show, he talks about how the old west taught us that no matter how much something cost, we could put up a coin or a small sack of coins and pay for it. The receiver wouldn’t even count the coins to make sure there was enough.
Then Louis gets into the meat of his comedy by starting off on what he likes to call: “White People Problems”. The problems that they create because they really don’t have any problems to begin with. He moves on to the name sake of the dvd cover and how that and other words are often misused by most people. Just seeing somebody is not hilarious. The final bits of the concert involve his two children and parenting in general. Louis ends the show on a particularly raunchy bit. I won’t give it away but lets just say it involves redwings.
It is very easy to compare Louis to George Carlin when it comes to subject manner. However, George has something over Louis in spades. Delivery. Often, as I sat there and watched Louis set up his jokes, I was thinking to myself: “Okay, that was funny, but it is missing something.” Then he would fire off the punchline or the followups and I would suddenly realize, I’m just not digging the way he throws off jokes. He’s overly cynical and self-depreciating to the point where you become frustrated with the comic.
The same way he mocks people who create their own problems, it seems that he manufacturers some of his own. It’s not that he isn’t funny, he is. He tells some really good stories. But the way that George Carlin (especially in the 70’s and 80’s) would rapid fire observations that would relate to people at any age, creed or class, C.K. seems to only connect with people who fall into his same demographic. Heck, I’m within spitting distance of his age and mindset and I only found myself laughing here and there.
The video is in 1.78 Anamorphic Widescreen. I had a lot of issues with the video. It wasn’t bad per say, but it had a lot of issues with the blacks. Louis is wearing a black shirt for the performance and nearly falls into the background since they match. It was also dark which only further disturbed the performance. He could have done a disappearing magic trick or a Where’s Waldo bit and I would have totally fell for it.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 Dolby Digital track(PCM 2.0 Mix also included). Audio is basically average. It is clear, and you won’t have any trouble understanding Louis. However, as a surround track I really didn’t find anything except the center speaker getting any movement. But it is a comedy concert, so you really shouldn’t look for anything special here. No subtitles are included but there is closed captioning.
I tend to read a lot of reviews typically before I write my own review. Truth be told, after looking over my peers, I wondered if I somehow missed the joke. By all accounts, I should like Louis C.K. and I really wanted to like him too. But the jokes fell flat for me and despite the few funny bits, I only laughed out loud once (maybe twice). For somebody who can listen to George Carlin’s Class Clown for the 200th time and still lose himself to hilarity, I’m just not feeling it here. Thumbs clearly in the middle, some will love this and others won’t. I suggest a rental first to find out.