Louis C.K.’s New Material Has Leaked Online and People Are Furious About It

“So uh… What kind of a year did you guys have?” This is how Louis C.K. started his December 16th set at the Governor’s Comedy Club in Long Island. This wouldn’t be remarkable, but the set was recorded by an audience member and leaked to the internet. Whether you want to hear a veteran comic work out new, untested material or you just like fighting on Twitter, there’s something here for you.

I’ve heard at least a dozen comedy specials that were funnier than Louis’s set that were released just this year. Ricky Gervais, Ali Wong, Jim Gaffigan and Chris Rock had specials that come to mind for me. Of course, that’s to be expected because those guys are doing bits they’ve worked and written and rewritten and dropped the weakest jokes to really polish their hour. Louis is still working out this material and it shows; some of the bits are great, some are more refined versions of jokes we heard second-hand, and some of them fall flat. But it’s still just so much funnier than the best hour Hannah Gadsby has written in her entire life.

But what people really want to talk about is that they found two “problematic” minutes in the 50-minute set. It’s a joke about how Louis spent his 20s doing mushrooms and having sex and whatever and now 20-year-olds are like old ladies complaining about being offended. It sort of peters out with a line about they/them pronouns and then he mentions he doesn’t care what some kid who didn’t get shot in a school shooting thinks about anything which I kind of thought was building to “Oh, you had a shooting at your school? So did everyone else,” but it just kind of never came together.

This is what caused the entire internet to freak out. Now, the best takes on this have pointed out that the problem with this is his joke starts out with how old people used to yell at kids for being dumb and then turns into him genuinely yelling about kids being dumb. Because he’s old now. This is very true.

I think “Louis C.K. is alt-right now” is a much worse take because this bit is like, three minutes from start to finish and he does a roughly 45-minute set. He’s not Dennis Miller, he’s not trying to “trigger the libs,” he doesn’t mention Donald Trump but he probably still thinks he’s trash. I think what people are really mad about or cheering is something different. Later on in the show, Louis does a longer, more polished bit about how not saying the word “retarded” hasn’t made life easier for the mentally challenged. After talking about being annoyed by people getting offended he says “Listen… fuckin’… what are you, gonna take away my birthday, my life is over, I don’t give a s**t.” It’s a confirmation of what I’ve been saying since Louis started to make his comeback; just like Louis jacking off in front of you, it’s going to happen whether you want it to or not.

Louis was never my favorite comic but I’ve always thought he was funny and good at what he did and he still is. A lot of his stuff in this bootlegged recording gets laughs. Big laughs. He’s going to make a comeback. He’s got a solid half-hour of material in his set already, the “boyfriend jeans: and “Auschwitz” bits stick out to me as the funniest. No one is asking you to like him, and I’m already sick of the political debate over it, frankly. But he clearly has an audience that’s receptive to him. You don’t have to like them either, but it’s pretty clear “cancelling” people doesn’t really work.

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4 years ago

It’s a funny set. People need to relax.