Even if you’re not a devotee of stand-up comedians surely you’ve heard of the juggernaut that is Louis CK. He has a tv show, “Louie,” that just completed its third season. However, Louis CK is not only the star of the show, he’s also the writer, producer, director, editor, and musical performer in the series.
But Louis CK isn’t just “Louie.” He’s written on many other tv shows including “Saturday Night Live,” a couple of movies, and even awards shows. He’s won a couple of Emmys and a Grammy. The guy has quite a career.
But his foundation is stand-up comedy, which is why I was very excited some six months ago when my partner (and frequent dining companion) surprised me with tickets to Louis CK’s November 16 show at Chicago Symphony Center. The tickets were on sale only through Louie CK’s website and cost $45, inclusive of all taxes and fees, for every seat.
The democratic ticketing meant that for our money we sat fifth row center and paid the same as those suckers in the third balcony. We weren’t thinking that … much, but we were very happy with our seats.
Just before the opening act went up there was an announcement. We were told to turn off our phones, that their illuminated screens were distracting to others. We were also told that if we felt the need to yell out or talk to the comics that we should hold it in, go out to our cars, and kill ourselves. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop two people from yelling out later while Louis CK was in the midst of his act.
I’ve been to plenty of live shows, concerts, gigs, ballets, musicals, plays, improv shows, and so on, and in none of them is the audience as rude as they tend to be in stand-up shows. Unless invited to do so, the audience is not meant to participate. The person or persons on the stage are the center of attention, and rightly so. The audience is just a throng of nameless and faceless people who have paid to see what’s on stage. If the throng was meant to be heard we’d pay to see them.
Louis CK shut both of the idiots down rather quickly, with a “shut up” and a “this isn’t about you,” respectively. Presumably everyone who was at the show was a fan of Louis CK who hasn’t hidden his contempt for the heckler. That combined with the pre-show announcement make it a complete mystery why there were two people in the crowd who were so, so stupid.
Todd Glass (Warning: link has auto-start audio.) opened. His act felt like a typical comedy club act with an odd emphasis on birds.
Louis CK’s act was timeless; except for references to his own age, it could have been told any time and anywhere. It was also apolitical for the most part. The only political hot-buttons had to do with class/income, probably due to his relatively recent entree to the millionaires club and his discomfort with that.
This wasn’t my first Louis CK show so I know that the themes of disliking his children, his wife, and his body are things he simply cannot escape. However, now that his children are older and less selfish, he and his wife are divorced, and he’s come to accept that his body, he definitely seems less angry and more comfortable. I know that every nuance and “mistake” of the show is rehearsed but Louis CK seemed comfortable on stage and not at all mechanical. Most of all, he’s funny.
Louis CK isn’t coming back to Chicago in the foreseeable future, but he’s worth checking out. There are plenty of opportunities including his current tv show, “Louie,” his old tv show, “Lucky Louie,” numerous tv show guest spots, movies, and several stand-up DVDs.
If you like what you see, it will be worth your $45 to see him live the next time he comes to Chicago. Just refrain from yelling out.