The Art of Stand-Up Comedy

When properly executed, stand-up comedy routines can become some of the most entertaining experiences one can have. In order for it to reach that peak level of quality it has to contain of the usual factors that makes comedy great. What you like is subjective but, in my mind, for a comedy routine to be successful it’s humor has to be clever. It has to be something that original and hilarious. No one is going to laugh at something thats already been repeated. What this results in is that all of the true top-tier comedians are just great story-tellers with a twist. Today, rather than watching films, i decided to watch three comedy specials. One entitled Talking Funny which consisted of four of todays greatest comedians (Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais, Jerry Seinfeld, and Chris Rock) talking about comedy as a whole. The other two were both acts by Louis C.K. One was called Shameless which was my favorite of the two, and the other was called Chewed Up. I’m going to give brief reviews on each of them while touching on what made them funny.

Talking Funny 

Talking Funny manages to be both incredibly entertaining and very interesting. It may just be me but I was truly fascinated by the differences and similarities between how each comedian created and crafted their final acts. This may not seem very interesting but each of these men’s natural comedic gifts allow it to be so much more than just explanations. This is just a conversation. There is no interviewer, no questions, no real topics. All there is are four drastically different personalities bouncing off of each other.

Between discussions of the mechanics of what makes stand-up routines there are plenty of amusing anecdotes and revisited jokes supplied by each of the comedians. Some of the jokes that were talked about I had never heard before which added a new level of entertainment to it. One of my favorites was Louis C.K. delivering one of Chris Rock’s jokes which was “When white people are rich, they’re just rich forever and ever. But when a black guy gets rich it’s just countdown to when he’s poor again.” It’s all just really funny stuff.

This special combines the humor of a stand-up routine, the information of a documentary, and the casual-ness of a regular conversation. All together it is an incredibly entertaining little film.

Shameless by Louis C.K.

I’m tempted to review these next two comedy specials simply by copying down the hilarity of Louis C.K. Word for word. That is how good his bits are. His delivery and his personality clearly add something to the bits but when it comes down to it he just has incredible content. Louis C.K. doesn’t really tell jokes, per se. Instead he just talks about all the (usually shitty) things in his life and dissects parts of them until somehow through his comedy magic they become hilarious.

One of my favorite examples of this is one of  his first bits where he’s talking about his friend who instant messages him. His friend is on a plane and Louis tells him he hopes the plane crashes. The guy tells him to take it back and Louis says “Fuck you, I hope it crashes”, and the friend replies asking him how he would feel if the plane crashes and Louis says “That would be amazing. To know that I can crash planes. I’d happily give your live for knowledge of these powers.” It’s just simple things like that. He starts the bit talking about how stupid instant messages are, transfers to talking about an argument with his friend, and ends with rooting for a plane to crash and for his friend to die. None of these topics are naturally funny but he seems to have a natural ability to make it hilarious.

The entirety of the act is at the highest caliber when it comes to his routines, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will enjoy this. He really doesn’t have any boundaries t all when it comes to his content. He talks about everything and he talks about them with brutal honest. It’s one of the many things I love about his act. I get that there are many people that find him too vulgar but for me it is all perfection.

Chewed Up by Louis C.K.

The first few minutes of this performance wasn’t really something I found entertaining and is probably the only reason why I consider this to be the worst of his that I’ve seen. He opens up talking about the word faggot and its multiple meanings. How he used it as a kid for just someone being annoying or just “being a faggot.” This was one of his few bits that I didn’t really find that entertaining. It certainly had moments where it reached proper C.K. caliber like him watching two guys blow each other and how he would never call them faggots unless one of them took the dick out of their mouth and said something like “People from Phoenix are Phoenisians.” I’ll admit it. That line made me laugh pretty hard, but overall it was hardly comparable to his the rest of the special. Consider it a blemish on an otherwise flawless piece.

I may be considerably biased when it comes to reviewing Louis C.K.’s stand up but I really just love his act. Like I said earlier: comedy is subjective. For me as long as the comedy is like this I will always laugh hysterically.

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4 thoughts on “The Art of Stand-Up Comedy

  1. Cool reviews. Definitely need to watch Shameless seeing as Louis C. K. is my favorite comedian. Although I agree he has NO limits. I liked Hilarious better than Chewed Up. Kind of skeptical about Talking Funny because it has Gervais, does he take over and be an attention whore like his normal self?

    • Louis C.K. is just getting better and better as I see more of his work. I actually just watched Hilarious and I definitely think it was better than Chewed Up. As for Talking Funny the conversation is pretty evenly split when it comes to who was talking. Although me personally, I love Gervais.

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