So, I got to see Louis C.K. do a stand-up show at the Chicago Theater last night. This was sort of a huge deal for me. In fact, my first impulse for this article was just to state that fact and then post Nyancat. I’ll try for more, though!
Since discovering his eponymous TV series nearly five years ago I have become an enormous fan of Louis C.K. His melancholy sense of humor, playful intelligence, dedication to not being a corporate jagoff, and disheveled style have been cornerstones of my pop culture identity. To wit, more than one friend has told me they’ve watched a particularly sad or embarrassing scene on Louie and felt bad for me. I don’t know if it’s because I’m so vocally a fan of his or because he’s had such a influence on me, but there we go. If the goatee fits I will wear it.
So, yeah, to see him do a live set from the fourth row was something else. It was surreal, in fact. We were close enough that the distance from my seat was a plausible shot for the show, so I kept having to blink or look around and remember that he was up there. Right up there. Not only him, but un-promoted guests Hannibal Buress and Steven Wright! They were in the flesh and making me laugh from a couple dozen feet away instead of across layers of mass media…which is still a pretty new experience for me.
Being primarily a movies and TV sort of guy my attendance of live events has always been spotty. Hell, with the rise of so much digital technology my willingness to even go to the movies has been on the wane. Coupled with going to college in a small town outside Toledo and having little money for my first several years in Chicago, it’s fair to say I’m not used to seeing artists I admire in the flesh. Whether it’s Gillian Welch and Arcade Fire last summer or Louis C.K. last night, seeing a celebrity’s actual corporeal being is quite the shock. To be quite honest, it makes me feel like a tourist. I observe their body like it’s the ultimate ephemera. “Really remember looking at this with your own eyes, because that’s happening now and may not ever again.” Basically, I looked at Louis C.K. like he was the Empire State Building. Which is a thing I can say forever now.
The rest is sort of academic to me. Was the set all-new material? Yup. Was it hilarious? Of course. Did he make fun of people in the mezzanine for paying the same price as us in the pit? Not only that, he shook hands with someone in the front row just to drive home how fucked over those further away were.
It was a really great show. If you ever get a chance, then you should jump at the chance to see Louis C.K. in concert. He’s awesome and hilarious. Afterwards we can talk about how weird it is to hold that in your head even as he looks right at you. It will be the foundation of our new religion. You can start the newsletter.