Judge Ian Visser is not only shameless, he's pants-less! Zing!
"I was in a bar the other night. It doesn't matter where, because I'm lying…"
I am not a follower of the comedy world, especially the arena encompassing the stand-up circuit. I generally blank out when people discuss acts they've seen or heard, and I rarely seek out the genre as a source of entertainment. I was probably the last person in North America to realize who Dane Cook was, and whenever anyone points me to a comedy clip online I usually have no idea who the comic is prior to watching.
My experience with comedian and writer Louis (pronounced "Loo-ee") C.K. follows a similar pattern. Unbeknownst to me, the Emmy winner has been writing in the industry for years, including a stint with Saturday Night Live and the film Pootie Tang (yes, he admits it). His profile has been growing recently with appearances on the late-night television circuit and a recent HBO sitcom, Lucky Louie.
Louis C.K.—Shameless was filmed at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood, California in November of 2006. Shot in front of a live audience, the viewer gets an hour of biting comedy that covers such diverse topics as raping Hitler, wearing possum-related t-shirts, and punching your child in the face.
Louis' style is very simple: a man stands on-stage and rails about what has happened to his life after marriage, kids and all the rest of it. This may sound like a bummer, but it's impossible not to revel in how willing Louis is to complain about his family and their foibles. When a guy calls his own four-year-old daughter an "a-hole" (and explains why she is one), you know you're getting the straight story. I probably spent as much time laughing at the man's willingness to reveal his flaws as I did the actual comedy material. A lot of it crosses the line into near-inappropriateness, but it only adds to the hilarity of it all.
The direction of Louis C.K.—Shameless is simplicity itself, the camera switching from wide shots to close-ups of Louis and sparing us from those irritating and distracting audience reaction shots. The 16:9 widescreen image is solid with no artifacting or color issues. The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is clear and sharp with a nice balance.
Louis C.K.—Shameless features a pair of extras. The first is Louis' HBO half-hour special, shot several years ago. Louis' delivery and style in this act are similar to his current work, but there is a lack of attitude that contrasts with his recent material. If anything, Louis' is even grumpier now, with his current act focusing more on his real-life disappointments than the staid "you-ever-notice?" bits featured in this special. Although the comedy in this offering isn't as cutting or personal, it is still a nice inclusion. The second bonus is a short promo trailer featuring a pair of scenes from Louis' short-lived sitcom.
Like most comedy, Louis C.K.—Shameless won't appeal to everyone. However, if you like your laughs cynical, unabashed, and profane, this DVD should find a space in your collection's comedy section.
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Scales of Justice
• HBO Comedy Half-Hour: Louis C.K.
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