Louis C.K. sends about four to six emails a year through his newsletter. That’s it. So it’s a little easy for one of these emails to slip through my fingers. Thus I have any email coming in from him marked under every possible setting on my email account: important, family, urgent, friends, etc. It’s a safety measure. Better safe than sorry. The last time the man was in town tickets to his show had sold out before I even checked my email. There was no way I was missing him again and I needed to make sure of that. Granted, putting that many push notifications on his emails nearly blew up my phone which almost made me miss the tickets again, but you know, whatever. I got the tickets for the early show to see Louis C.K. at the Chicago Theatre before he heads of to film the next season of the best show on TV. I got about 100 times more than I bargained for.
Initially, I had no idea how the show would pan out. I knew it would be good, but I have also been the biggest Louis C.K. mark since I heard him on Opie and Anthony years and years ago. I essentially starting worrying if I had over hyped myself. This on top of bringing my brother (another uber fan) and his girlfriend [who didn’t know of Louie or usually like stand up (sorry to whoever didn’t get a ticket)] in hopes of having a good night out. It was a freak out. I was so excited I forgot to take a picture of the marquee. I don’t normally take that picture but really wanted to this time. I was well hidden mess.
A few minutes after the billed start time, Louis C.K. came out sans introduction This is one of my favorite trademarks of his. No frills no loudspeaker announcement, just Louie in a dark sweater and jeans starting off with a few jokes. Louie has such an effective command of the stage, getting laughs immediately from the cold crowd. Cold in the literal sense because the real feel was in the negatives and in the sense of Louie seemingly didn’t have an opener. There was no warm up set to prep the crowd for the headliner. Not that he needs it, Louie’s material feels effortless(I know it’s not, thats why I said “feels” you mook), like a conversation with a friend who’s funnier than you. Way funnier.
None the less I figured he’d have someone start off the show. Maybe it was going to be a smaller local act that Louie liked or some more obscure comedian that I would certainly know but my friends would not. In-between bouts of laughter, I thought that this was it, Louie announced that he was going to let a couple of friends of his come out and do a few minutes. Turned out that it was a homecoming for Hannibal Buress and I lost my fucking mind. Seriously, I wooed. I don’t woo. That’s how excited I was. He is one of those nicely hidden comedians, a lot people know him(still not enough!) but there are still a few stragglers you can impress by recommending him. Buress may have gotten a spike in recognition from his Bill Cosby routine that reignited the criticism against elder comedian or his recent role in the fantastic Broad City. Whatever the case, it’s Buress put on a hilarious set.
Louis C.K. returned for a few more minutes before dropping another bombshell. He gave a loving introduction, mentioning him as an inspiration for his desire to be a comedian, for Steven Wright. My eyes grew wide and I looked over at my perplexed friends. They didn’t know they were watching a master at work. The following couple minutes would certainly be lost on them and I felt bad. I’m not going to put this in parenthesis: I’m sorry to all those filled with rage it wasn’t you in those seats. This was Steven Wright. I wooed again. Again. I felt gross but then remembered what I was about to see and hear. Aside from having an impact on Louie, Wright must have influenced hundreds of comedians with his deadpan delivery. Hearing his deep and infinitely recognizable voice churn out joke after joke was another huge moment to cross off my checklist.
Louie once again returned for the better half of an hour. His comedy is not as simple as it seems. He is a storyteller of a comedian by and large, but where the high points in his jokes come in are from the absurd boarding on surreal moments. His hilarious personification of animals and the accurate pettiness that mimics our own, the faces of sex, the voice that are just so offensively funny, even the random physical comedy were all in the show. It felt like a further concentration of everything I find funny about the man, from just stupid crazy bullshit to thoughtful social commentary. I don’t know if it ranks as his best because I was there or because it certainly is and Louis C.K. is determined to get better with every passing show. What I do know is where french toast comes from. If you get that, you were one of the luckiest people in Chicago last night. If not, you missed it. You kinda suck. It’s ok, though. We’re all going to die someday anyway and you don’t get that either. Sorry.