Comedy Central // 2010 // 84 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Michael Rubino (Retired) // January 17th, 2011
"You know what hilarious means? Hilarious means so funny that you almost went insane when you heard that shit. It's so funny that it almost ruined your life. You're homeless now because you can't cope or reason anymore."
Louis C.K. is a fairly busy guy. Over the past year or so, this consistently funny observationalist has been starring and directing his own FX sitcom, Louie, checking in for an extended stay in the second season of Parks and Recreation, and touring with a whole new set of material. It's a good time to be a fan.
His latest stand-up tour has culminated in Hilarious, an 84-minute concert film directed and edited by Louis. The film's title is no misnomer.
Hilarious, like C.K.'s sitcom, abides by a raw, stripped-down presentation. The comedian, wearing his black shirt and jeans, marches around the dark stage, playing to a loving (often shocked) audience. You hardly see the crowd, and C.K. isn't concerned with showing guffaw-shots of happy couples. Nor is he overly worried about showing the grand stage on which he's standing. It's not a very pretty film, nor is it especially well shot or edited. It's basic and it works.
I get the sense that C.K. is proud of his minimalist aesthetic. The film is all about his words, stage presence, and punctuating facial expressions. He's not one of those comedians who is constantly running around, or even pacing, to keep the audience involved; he's a gruff, curmugeony guy with a deceptively positive message: we should be happier. His set is broken up into three major topics: love, modern life, and parenting. As a divorced 40-something, C.K. is adrift in a world of bachelorhood. He's a guy who is still amazed by technology, and confused about why we hate the greatness we have. He's a dad who clearly loves his children, even as he struggles to raise them.
Hilarious is aptly named, assuming you're a fan of his comedy (which I am). His vulgarity is often unnecessary, however, as he admittedly tries to get shocks from the audience. C.K. has such a strong ability to observe and report on modern American life, but his skills sometimes feel wasted amidst a slew of sex jokes. Despite this, his messages about happiness and parenting are excellent, his delivery is top-notch, and his stage presence makes him one of the best comedians to show up in the past decade.
Like the film's presentation, this DVD is as barren as they come. The audio is serviceable, but the video sometimes feels cheap. It doesn't really have the film quality to it that I would have hoped. Instead, C.K. is lit too brightly, to the point of occasionally looking blown-out, and the background is a sea of black. The disc is also devoid of any special features, outtakes, etc. Despite being a "concert film," it's really just another stand-up comedy DVD.
Fans and curious on-lookers would do well to check out Louis C.K.: Hilarious. It may not be anything more than a lengthy stand-up comedy special, but it's a darn funny one.
Review content copyright © 2011 Michael Rubino; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Comedy Central
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated