Brian Jacobson
Louis CK at the Riverside Theater

a Preview

By - Sep 17th, 2010 10:28 am
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cover art for Louis CK's new show on FX, courtesy the comedian.Louis CK has a great new concert film aptly named Hilarious. It was shot in the spring of last year at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee, specifically chosen because of the crowd drinking their tallboys and the lack of pretension at the storied venue. Ironically, during its short movie Drafthouse run it did not play in our area at the Palladium or Rosebud. The DVD release is pending.

But why would you want to watch this sublime genius of the misogynistic riff recorded when you could see him live? Because the show is nearly sold-out, that’s why. The upcoming return of Louie in a new standup show called WORD was already moved from the Pabst to the Riverside (with nearly double the seats) months ago, heralded by his successful show on FX. But again there are very few seats available; pretty good for a guy who plays to 50-person clubs.

The very adult (TV-MA) television show in which Louie writes, directs and stars is filmed in New York on a shoestring, and is more about nothing than Seinfeld ever was with amazing clarity in its moments of human emotion and loneliness. It often features once-scandalous scenarios (his mother comes out of the closet, he speaks the truth at a PTA meeting, he kisses a sheriff who asks for it after rescuing him) and scathing standup bits throughout.

Well, scathing and yet somehow subdued for Louis CK. Anyone who has watched his other concert films (Chewed Up, One Night Stand, Shameless) knows that he can start to tell the most dirty, offensive, outlandish joke and yet somehow make it alright by the end of the bit. Episodes (just picked up for a second season) often wanders into this territory — his putdown of a heckler goes on for four minutes is like watching a sinkhole swallow a village. Yet while his trademark jazz improvisation style is stille revealed here it stops FCC short of the usual insanity.

While Louie is widely acknowledged as one of the funniest (his semi-recent appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien is legendary) and the hardest working comedian by other veterans (his bits are sometimes stolen by other comedians but then called out as recognized Louis CK bits by fellow humorists), grand fame and fortune has largely escaped him. This may be fine by the man, who is a redhead sadsack that wallows in self-deprecation and a speaking tone that would have made Harvey Pekar sound chipper.

Even if you think you’ve seen every bit from every movie, the show, and the Internet (he recently tweeted while getting drunk on a long flight and said some incredibly uncouth things about Sarah Palin) — think again. Louie routinely takes his practiced routines and throws them out for new material. What you see on the show about him frequenting dive basement comedy clubs is true-to-life, like a home run king hitting the batting cages every night.

If you can score a ticket, Louis CK: WORD appears Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Riverside Theater in downtown Milwaukee starting at 8 p.m. with an unnamed special guest. For more information, see the Pabst/Riverside/Turner website.

Categories: Pop Culture, Theater

0 thoughts on “Louis CK at the Riverside Theater: a Preview”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Great job, Brian. — T.

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