Louis CK

March 20th, 2013

O2 Arena, London

by Raphael Perahia

Louis CK opened the show at the O2 Arena last night with a solo from Van Morrison’s trumpeter, who he told us, was not a paedophile. The American comic returned to these shores having not performed in the UK since 2008. To many people, five years is not that long, but since then he’s written, directed and starred in his own semi-autobiographical television show.  Somehow he’s still found time to write, develop, polish and perform a new hour and fifteen minutes of stand up every eighteen months.

After discussing his journey from the hotel to the arena, and his decision to have a horn player open up his show (a classy touch), he delved straight into the material. His subjects deferred effortlessly from growing old to dating to divorce to his children. Similar subjects to other routines of his, but whole new angles, stories and honesty. A story about seeing an old woman and her dog took a turn to the profane and disgustingly hilarious as he envisaged what would happen if the dog died before her.

There were strong jokes mixed in with longer anecdotes. His style is much more conversational than his British counterparts. Despite the large venue, the gig felt very intimate. Some parts were grounded in searing honesty, ‘If you’re not divorced, you really don’t know what you’re missing. Even if you’re in a good marriage, divorce is so much better.’

The set had its highs and lows. I wasn’t a huge fan of a story about getting high and going to the cinema, but then I did find his material about ‘titties’ innovative, smart and honest. His show, before a strong encore set, ended with one of the strongest and most honest observations I’ve seen this year. Based around the words ‘of course, but maybe,’ he questioned morals that had the audience on tender-hooks before skilfully guiding them to immoral hilarity. Let’s hope he doesn’t wait till 2017 to make his return.

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