Louis C.K.’s new stand up special, Louis C.K. 2017, comes at a time of great division across our country.
It would be safe for the comedian to avoid controversial topics he covered in the past and talk about simple things like children and being famous.
His opening joke? Abortion.
While Louis C.K. joking about a controversial topic is far from breaking news, his latest stand-up special attacks these topics almost exclusively. He bounces around from religion to suicide to repressing his sexual identity as if they are everyday topics you might bring up in small-talk.
Some of his more ridiculous bits conflate his actual beliefs with things he says for comedic value. His obsession with the movie Magic Mike is a perfect example — he very well may be captivated by the film, but is likely using it as a comedic tool.
And we are lucky he chose this because his impression of Channing Tatum stripping is tremendous (almost as good as his impression of Matthew McConaughey riling up a crowd as a male stripper).
Some jokes, however, reveal truths about the world we live in, such as when he declared that Christianity has won. His clever punchline to explain how Christianity has won was “what year is it?”
At first the punchline doesn’t make much sense, but naturally you realize our yearly calendar is centered on Jesus. We agreed to measure the vast majority of history backwards just to match one religion. This revelation shows how much of a Christian world we live in.
The structure of the show is a classic Louis C.K. format. He often starts talking about one topic and leads you to believe he will be delving into this topic only to take a sharp turn and veer into another direction completely. A perfect example of this is his several-minute sidebar on suicide as it vaguely relates to abortion. His discussion of suicide outlasts his talk of abortion.
He ironically makes fun of his now ex-wife for using this same storytelling style of going on tangents in an earlier special, but might have stolen her style a bit after he grew to appreciate the absurdity of telling a story like that. Louis C.K.’s trademark is to set up a bit with something simple like “I’ve been trying to be a better person for my kids,” go on a tirade about religion and then, after a punch line and applause break, again say, “so yeah, I want to be a better person.”
This special was worth the extra wait we had to endure. Louis C.K. had been on a streak of releasing a completely new hour of comedy every year (an incredible feat), but said he thought this could be his best special yet. He spent extra time working on it to fine-tune the material, and though it sometimes appears to be a sloppy diatribe of a man whose life is falling apart, everything is carefully planned. This latest special is another chapter in Louis C.K.’s illustrious career and has earned him a spot in the pantheon of stand-up comedy.