It was an odd sight to see Doug Mitchell packed to the brim with people actually excited to be there, but the number one stand-up comic in the world will probably do that.
C.K.'s set was a classic. He opened the show with his thoughts on abortion and what followed was a perfect mix of the gritty, disgusting Louis C.K. — who talks at great lengths about his cum and issues relating to his cum — and the insightful, poignant Louis C.K. — who reminds us that life is meaningless and we all ought to kill ourselves if we don't like how things are going. There's something oddly comforting about hearing a man in his late 40s tell you that yes, suicide will solve all your problems.
But brutal honesty has always been only one part of C.K.'s genius. As ever, he is just as sharp when walking his audience through the unending woe of existence as he is talking about shoving Prozac up his nervous dog's asshole.
Was it offensive at times? Absolutely. This is a well-off white guy who's said the N-word on stage — like, a lot — and has pretty much gotten away with it. There was a part in his set last night where he talks about the racist caricatures that used to be on TV, and then does a few.
But as always, the jokes never hinge on the implicit “funniness” of the subject of the caricature, or some clumsy dig at “PC culture” — the thing you're laughing at is that awkward, fumbling white guy doing his best to illustrate the absurdity of the person saying the word.
C.K. possesses an almost surgical knowledge of the difference between punching up and punching down. It's why he can pull off a bit like this when nearly anyone else would be greeted with a sharp intake of breath.
I could go on, but I have a word limit, so let's finish up. C.K.'s brilliant mix of observance, wit and grotesque imagery was, as is usually the case, about as perfect a set one could hope for. If you made the wise decision to invest a few bucks to see the best comedian in the world at the pinnacle of his game, you won't be disappointed.
But before you leave, an important note: C.K. wasn't the only one there. The three openers — Mike Lawrence, Eliza Skinner and Joe List — were all great, but List was definitely a step ahead. If you want a taste of his signature awkward, charming, why-am-I-laughing-at-this-he-hasn't-said-the-punchline-yet style, check out his bit on This Is Not Happening: