Louis C.K. has dropped a new comedy special. Here’s what you need to know
Comedian Louis C.K. believes there are two kinds of people — those who need to laugh when times get tough and those who believe that hard times (say, a global pandemic) require that laughter be put aside to give “painful things the respect and the silence due to them.”
C.K. counts himself as a member of the first group and, as such, he’s dropped — without fanfare — a new comedy special for purchase on his website.
“For those who need to laugh, I hope my new show will help,” he writes in his newsletter, sent out this morning. “For those of you that can’t laugh right now I just wish you all the peace you can grab in this [terrible] time.”
The hour-long special, titled “Sincerely Louis C.K.” and available to download and stream for $7.99, was filmed in early March at Washington‘s Warner Theater, one stop of a comeback tour that began in the fall and was set to continue into the late spring before the COVID-19 outbreak forced the postponement of live events.
C.K.'s tour came two years after he admitted to masturbating in front of female comedians and associates, though he had started turning up in comedy clubs nine months after confirming his sexual misconduct in November 2017. “Sincerely Louis C.K.” is his first produced comedy special since the scandal broke, the last being a 2017 show for Netflix.
“How was your last couple of years?” C.K. asks at the outset of the show, after acknowledging the standing ovation from the audience. “Man, I was in a lot of trouble. Wait till they see those pictures of me in blackface. That’s going to make it a lot worse.”
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He goes on note that he has learned things during his time away from the public eye — how to eat alone in a restaurant with people making obscene gestures toward him, and who his real friends are (not who he’d like them to be).
The special displays a number of refinements from early dates in the tour, shuffling stronger material to the beginning of the show, including jokes about the stranger aspects of various religions and how even God must be confused by a jihadist’s conviction that he’ll be rewarded with 72 virgins for blowing up a bus in Tel Aviv.
At the core of the material remains C.K.'s defiant belief that it’s the comedian’s duty to say the “wrong” thing. And he adheres to that doctrine throughout the hour, with jokes related to 9/11, the Holocaust and people who lost their legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
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“We’re gonna discuss retarded people for 20 minutes,” he says at one point. It’s not 20 minutes, but you get the point. No topic is off the table.
Except for the coronavirus. That’s not necessarily because C.K. wouldn’t go there — who can say? — but rather because the special was taped shortly before the pandemic began to completely upend American life.
C.K. does address his own misconduct, noting that if a woman says it’s OK to masturbate in front of her, you still shouldn’t do it because “it’s not always clear how people feel.”
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“Men are taught to make sure the woman is OK, but the thing is, women know how to seem OK when they’re not OK,” he says.
Later, he notes: “As far as my thing, I don’t know what ... People are like, ‘Why do you want to do it anyway?’ I don’t know. I like jerking off. I don’t like being alone. That’s all I can tell you. I get lonely.” Here he mimes masturbation. “Where is everyone? It’s just sad. I like company. I like to share. I’m good at it too. If you’re good at juggling, you wouldn’t do it alone in the dark. You’d gather folks and amaze them.”
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