- Brian Donaldson
- 19 August 2008
This article is from 2008.
Brilliant comedic rants far from negative
There's little fanfare about Louis CK when he takes to the stage for the second of his two Pleasance Courtyard dates. With the lights dimmed, a slow roar has built which completely drowns out the introduction (his status is so big he doesn't have to bother announcing himself behind the curtain and then apologising for it). Slouching onstage in jeans and black t-shirt, he opens his bottled water, tosses the cap across the stage and mutters: 'I've had a shitty day.' What springs from this downbeat beginning is far from a shitty hour. Indeed, if there was a better comic hanging around in Edinburgh this August I'm gutted to have missed them.
Having just turned 40, CK (or Szekely to give him his full Hungarian-rooted surname), has a lot to feel shitty about. He's split from his wife and finds masturbation a shameful, debilitating occupation; now that his body requires more regular medical attention, he concludes doctors to be wilfully malevolent; he is sick of looking at white people ('we’re so boring') and his two kids bring him little joy and he has no problem in choosing a favourite, by quite some way. 'I guess I'm pretty negative,' he confesses after another bout of fear and self-loathing.
Yet, none of this leaves you with a bitter taste in the mouth. Potentially dubious rants about 'the N word' and 'faggot' are twisted on their axes into a freshly-spun musing about the weight of words. And were you to soundbite his routine about mortality, it would be a trite: 'we're a long time dead'. But that would be to ignore the brilliant comedic mind at work as he dances around this and other notions injecting originality into each gag's pore and thrusting spice deep into his punchlines. Ricky Gervais and Chris Rock have both raved about Louis CK and while this might be enough to turn plenty people off, here is one stand-up who does deserve the hype.