Comedy, Special

December 28, 2011

Louis C.K. was already my favorite thing about comedy in 2011. Had there been any doubt, though, Dec. 10 would have settled it. That Saturday, he started selling his fourth stand-up special, “Live at the Beacon Theater,” himself, for $5, at

As of Dec. 21, C.K. said he’d grossed more than a million dollars from the experiment. He’s keeping $220,000 for himself; the rest is going to expenses, charity and bonuses for his staff. If he makes another million, he’ll donate more.

C.K., 44, has the rare show-business career that took off later in life. He’s been a stand-up and a TV writer since his 20s, but only recently has the general public caught on.

His humor is raw and honest, with a touch of absurdity. He can cut through the world’s crap like a great satirist, make you cry during an emotional USO tour on FX’s “Louie,” and remain likable when admitting he wants to beat up one of his daughter’s first-grade classmates.

Yet he has the self-awareness to know the laughs could stop anytime. “I’ve got a year left, then I’m back to being just like you,” C.K. says in his special. “But for now, yeah, it’s pretty good.”

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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Katherine Boyle · December 27, 2011