It was okay. Not great. Louis, before his downfall, was the most successful comedian in the world and provided powerful self-deprecating insight into modern society. However, Louis C.K.’s most recent foray into the world of comedy, after a nine month hiatus, was amateur and immature.
His well-worn style of frank and fearless comedy has taken on a streak of loathing and laziness. His surprise set in a New York comedy club recently was discernibly Louis, but far enough from it to be almost an imitation. Has he lost his mojo? Definitely. Can he get it back? Maybe.
There is a clear and obvious theme in his 45 minute piece of trying to push the envelope. That itself is pure C.K. Where it differs is in its laziness; whereas circuitous routes were previously taken to mocking the already distainable, Louis now takes to mocking the vulnerable or embryonic and does so with a real lack for any hidden meaning. Ostracism of trans people is something that the best comedian can pull off and have the trans community laugh along with it, but Louis failed in that and can now only provide the boring view of a stale old white man, grasping at the straw of gender-neutral pronouns. The idiots may laugh, but his core audience now rolls its eyes.
The devolution of a once-great comedic commentator into a Dane Cook-style hack could be attributed to many factors. Perhaps he has deliberately distanced himself from reality as it has from him, or maybe reality has distanced itself from him in revulsion. In either case, the originating cause is in his sexual misconduct.
In either case, C.K. had the opportunity and intellect to return to his glory days through a precisely targeted set which acknowledges his wrongdoing and turns it on its head in a purely C.K. way which is of self-mocking and of lambasting the equally blemished. Had he come out as a full force against both his past self and those whom the media has equated him with, he would have most definitely been welcomed back into the mainstream. He could have, with one eleqouent stroke, have mocked both Kevin Spacey and the New York Times who outed then both.
Instead, he took the easy and lazy route of shrugging off any self-responsibility, totally side-stepping the elephant in the room, and instead choosing from an array of topics only bothered with by the ill-informed or talentless of his peers.
I was and remain a fan of Louis C.K.’s work. His latest is not noteworthy and will be only a footnote in his career. Whether that footnote is followed by a new chapter is up to him. But unless he can re-engage that past genius which elevated him to the height of show business then I will not be paying any mind to his future works. For any other fans, I suggest you judge for yourself whether he is really back or whether, as I posit, he is now just a shadow of his former self.