He may lack the massive mainstream popularity of comedians like Dane Cook and Jeff Dunham, but I consider Louis C.K. to be one of the three funniest stand-up comics currently working (the other two, in case you're wondering, are Chris Rock and Patton Oswalt). Though he's been doing stand-up since the 1980s, C.K. has only in recent years begun to raise his profile thanks to the short-lived HBO sitcom Lucky Louie and his 2006 comedy special, Shameless. That special remains one of the funniest hours of comedy of the decade, so it pleases me to say that C.K.'s 2008 special Chewed Up is just as good.
Humor in His Own Misery
Recorded in Boston in March of 2008, Chewed Up finds C.K. at his miserable best. He's a grouch at the level of late-era George Carlin, only with one major distinction: Carlin directed all of his anger outward at the world, finding fault with society. He was the distant observer. Louis C.K., on the other hand, turns his misery in on himself. His comedy, unlike Carlin's, is entirely personal and confessional. It is brutal and honest in a way that most comics could never dream of.
Chewed Up features some of C.K.'s most self-deprecating confessional humor. From gorging on Cinnabon at the airport (at the arrival terminal in his hometown, no less) to sexual experiences with the family dog, there is no subject too embarrassing or off-limits for C.K. to find humor in. A bit on offensive words seems designed just to shock, but demonstrates just how gifted C.K. is as a comic when he's able to make the whole thing pay off by stringing all of the words together in a way that actually feels organic. And though lots of comics have done material on being married and having kids, there isn't a single one (with perhaps the exception of Bill Cosby) that does in a funnier or more honest way than Louis C.K.
The DVD of Chewed Up features a bonus interview with the comedian, where he answers submitted questions alone on a web cam. It's a really good piece, with C.K. giving insightful and thoughtful responses about everything from his approach to comedy to the choices he makes in editing his specials (he intentionally chooses not to show the audience). He also says that he hopes to record a special every year for as long as he can. Let's all hope that plan comes to pass.
- Release Date: December 16, 2008
- Running Time: 61 Minutes
- 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
- Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
- Studio: Image Entertainment
DVD Bonus Features:
- Louis C.K. Interview