Lately, I’ve been enjoying the Stella Donnelly song “Old Man,” the first track on the record she’s releasing in a few weeks. “Old Man” is a pretty, deliciously sharp tune that rejects old-guard patriarchy in no uncertain terms. “Your personality traits don’t count if you put your dick in someone’s face,” Donnelly sings in the second verse.

Sound familiar?

Louis C.K.—he of the aggressive masturbating, sexual harassment, and an insufficient time-out—brought his poor-me pop-up tour to Raleigh Improv last night. The new venue, part of a national chain, is in one of those bizarrely knotted strip-mall clusters off Highway 55 in Cary. The club announced the show on Monday and promptly sold out (a waiter said the capacity is about 460). 

I arrived bracing myself for another disastrous set of horrifying jokes, like his recent one about the teenagers who survived a mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Instead, Louis C.K.’s appearance was one of the most boring, pedestrian stand-up sets I’ve ever seen. And that was the biggest laugh of all.

The set of new material lasted a little under an hour and included such trenchant insights as:

• This is a comedy club. The stuff that gets said here doesn’t belong on daytime TV, just like porn doesn’t belong on daytime TV.

• Wow, I hate it when my doctor tells me not to eat so much ice cream.

• Isn’t it weird and occasionally confusing how some words in English are pronounced differently than they’re spelled?

• Dicks!!!! I have one!!!

• I went to France, where a lady told me that they stick thermometers in their ASSES, not their MOUTHS. And they keep eggs in the pantry! (This was also the section where he used the term “foie gras pussy,” which is just fucking bizarre.)

• Don’t leave bad tips, but also, don’t tip too much.


• I lost a lot of money, and that sucks! But I still have a gold watch, which I kind of feel bad about, but I don’t, really!

• Do you ever think about how many people your mom has had sex with?

He alluded to his downfall occasionally, noting that he’d had “a hard year,” that he liked to jerk off but didn’t like being alone, and that he’d visited France because he needed to get out of the States. There was nothing exactly shocking, but there was still plenty of good ol’ (read: very shitty) edgelord charm. The comedian had some extended opinions about how it shouldn’t matter if we call people with developmental differences “retarded,” because, according to him, they don’t know the difference, they’re just happy to be around anybody (wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong). He also rambled at length about penis sizes, relying on tired racial stereotypes to do the heavy lifting and going so far as to say that all Asian men are, in fact, women.

The ticketing page had promised that the show was “XXX adult material.” In reality, it was on par with what I heard as a fourteen-year-old taking the bus home from public high school. One joke was about how he’d put lipstick around his anus and gotten his drunk male friend to have sex with him. Then the lipstick residue left on the friend’s dick got him in trouble with his wife. He followed that with a convoluted mess about how he’d told his sister their dad was dead, and she got upset. Then he went and killed their dad, but first, he made his dad sodomize him at gunpoint. Or something? Reader, I haven’t got a single fucking clue about either one of those.

But Louis C.K.’s shit still stinks, and he knows it. Why else would he make such an effort to block any documentation of it? The audience had to put their phones in a magnetically locked bag made by a company called Yondr, which clearly is not standard venue policy, as pre-show graphics on the stage encouraged the audience to Instagram, tweet, and check in on various social media platforms—hard to do when your phone is locked away by interlopers.

Shortly after I was seated, I took the novel I’d brought with me out of my purse along with a small notebook and pen. Within a few seconds, someone—it wasn’t clear if he was a venue employee or one of Louis C.K.’s people—appeared to tell me to put away the notebook. He threatened to take it away if I didn’t. When I pressed him, he said that the comedian’s policy was “No press, no media, no nothing. It’s in his contract.” When C.K. finally took the stage, I tried to slip a piece of paper into my lap to take notes. Another person, this one clearly a venue employee, slipped over and told me I couldn’t have these items. These efforts were as subtle as my cat scratching around in the litter box at 2:00 a.m. Kick sand around all you like, bud, but it’s pretty obvious what you’re up to.

The rise and fall and sorta-rise again of Louis C.K. feels like an allegory for so many men I’ve known, both personally and peripherally. He built his career on nihilistic, self-deprecating jokes about the ugliness and chaos of his inner and outer worlds, and I’ve known many men who used their love for him as a substitute for developing actual personalities and interests. Their song goes, “I hate the whole world, but I hate myself more. I’m awful, but look how nice and good I am by telling you that I’m awful!”

But no, eventually, you learn that the nice guy isn’t so nice after all. When he gets busted, his efforts are Oscar-worthy. He’ll be up for Best Actor for his dual roles as both the real victim and the naughty scamp who still just loves to make jokes. He’s a strong contender for Best Editing, revising history to his liking—“Oh, it’s not that bad, it just got blown out of proportion, don’t you see?”

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that tune, I could buy a gold watch of my very own.

Louis C.K. took the cheapest shots and got the cheapest laughs. He still feels entitled to take up space and air, the ancient rime of white privilege. And sure, it was thoroughly troubling that so many people bought tickets to his show, beating the tables (yes, really) and howling at his bad, dumb jokes, but that’s cracking into a whole other warped piece of the American psyche. As Louis C.K. sneaks around at small clubs in secondary markets, he’s not making art that’s important or even good; he’s flailing around in inflatable armbands in the toddler pool. A comeback most grand. My wish for Louis C.K. and men like him is that they meet the loneliest fate of all: the slow, relentless sting of knowing they’re being forgotten.

39 replies on “Louis C.K.’s Surprise Set in Cary Was Too Boring to Be Shocking, Though He Still Has a Lot to Say About His Dick”

  1. I’ve worked at multiple venues, including a comedy club, and note taking and phone use is frequently forbidden because people steal jokes and it’s distracting to the performer to have everybody looking down or their phones lit up. Also, people leak sets.

    It’s good to see you went in with an open mind at least.

  2. You obviously went to this show with a chip on your shoulder. Lots of people are mad at this pig right now but your article pretends to be a review of his material when its really not. You are just piling on. I’m not saying it’s not justified, but it’s not honest. His set could have been hilarious and you wouldn’t have reported it that way.

  3. I think it’s funny. Louie tells the audience not to record or make note of his developing new act. However you, not once but twice disregard the request. What ever happened to no means no?. You don’t mind disregarding a personal request in order to get what you want, maybe you should go away for a year.

    Also, it’s not a “poor me tour”. Louis Ck has made an extremely good living over the past 25 years as a comedian. Comedians perform comedy sets at comedy clubs. As long as the clubs will have him, and an audience is there, it isn’t a poor me tour, it’s just a comedy tour. His just applying his trade, just like he has over the past 25 years.

    And finally, Louis Ck will never be forgotten, as long as people want to laugh, he will always be in the mind of rational and forgiving people.

  4. Don’t you writers get tired of hating on Louis? Just stop wasting your energy, you’re not going to convince any of his fans to dislike him. He’s funny. Get over it. He did something bad, yes I agree. But doesn’t mean you can just unconditionally hate his work. You can’t just assume he didn’t learn from his mistake. He lost MILLIONS of dollars. He got his “time-out”. Where is the rule book that says someone needs 5 years (or however long it will take for you guys to stop whining) out of the spotlight after they do what he did.

    You said he used tired racial stereotypes to do the heavy lifting. It’s fucking comedy bro. Do you know what comedy is? Racial stereotypes are hilarious. If anything it’s wonderful whenever someone can still make it funny.

    I think it’s you who are relying on him to do the heavy lifting of your job. You’re relying on the controversy surrounding him to gain attention.

    Sorry I’m sure you’re not a bad person. I’m just sick of seeing all these articles that claim he’s not hilarious simply because the writer hates who he is. Go do some real journalism.

  5. This is begining to collect to much snow as its rolling down a very dangerous hill for non forgiveness ” Let the man be” “If you dont want to hear it dont go” “He paid is due” “He apologized” These are some of the quotes I have been reading that should be accounted for. Yes he did something that was wrong but to not let a human rise from any ashes, is not what we are as humans. Lets not forget our worst moment, and how we stood up and prevailed. To stop a man from repenting, trying to continue his life and what he does, might just cause you (the hater) more anguish in your life. “Forgive us our trespasses and forgive those who trespass against us.” Remember?

  6. Omg that was the funniest butthurt rant l’ve ever seen 😂😂😂😂
    Jealous much?

  7. This is pretty poorly written. The theme according to the title is that the show was boring. However, the actual thesis of the writing is pretty angry with resorting to curse words of your own and a closing line with a very personalized anger about someone’s life ending in lonely forgotenness. If the thesis was meant to be that he hasn’t paid his timeout dues, and you’re angry, then lead and close with that. If it’s that the material was poor and boring, then put some analysis into that. Resorting to “I haven’t got a single f***ing clue” is lazy analysis. Really, it’s not analysis at all. Comedy is an art, and it also has a structure. Spend some time with that if you’re going to write about it. You allude to people laughing at the set. What were the high points? What did not grab the crowd’s attention? How were the segways? How strong was the opening? How strong was the close? Did the material alienate a segment of the population? If the material did alienate a segment of the population, did he keep them engaged anyway? If so, how? Was the material relatable to the average person?

    Also, it’s pretty common that comedy clubs prohibit phones and recording devices. Comedians, even the most famous, use smaller venues to experiment with and refine material. The jokes on HBO specials aren’t being told for the first time.

  8. When you cry assault at even the thought of a guy asking permission to masterbate in from of a woman and then not doing it when not given permission – you do a huge injustice to women and girls that have actually been assaulted by monsters.
    Feminism used to be a good cause (and true feminism still is) but unreasonable extremists like you have perverted the word feminism and have done more harm than good.
    Also you’re turning straight men into this weird 3rd gender that will not longer open doors for women (to say the least).

  9. The author doesn’t quite seem to get it. He sold out AGAIN and it’s killing her just like Louie kills every crowd still. And this idiot bought a ticket to help the sell out. Genius! That’ll show him! In the end she tells you what her real problem is…she wishes the same fate upon Louie that she knows will happen to her, if it hasn’t already. Unfortunately for the author, people will still remember how funny Louie is long after she’s been forgotten, and it’s killing her.

  10. This seems like it was written by a feminist lol, they are clearly so salty. Not a good look. I still laughed at “do you ever wonder how many people your moms had sex with?”, even though the writer was trying to mock his set.

  11. If you don’t like his set and don’t like him they why even go? Why even waste your effort and energy committing to hating this man? What good does that do for you? It’s pretty petty of you. If you dont like him don’t go. Move on to something else.

  12. I commend louis for standing up to leftist feminism and taking his career back. He messed up, he knows that. He doesnt owe the public an apology. And vagina hat wearing physcos dont get to decide his fate. Sorry!

  13. i dont understand the point of you going to his set. Can you explain?

  14. Wow who would of thought that this was written by a woman? You sound like a scorned and jaded hag. You went into the e event already displeased and hating in him. So how is he supposed to impress you? Gtfo of here.

  15. Louis C.K. was as funny as always. You should try taking off the SJW filter long enough to enjoy some real comedy every once in a while.

  16. Louis C.K. killednit last night in Cary. You’re obviously a Louis C.K. hater and should have listened to him when he said if you don’t want to hear his stand up, do t go to his show. People go to comedy clubs to hear messed up stuff because it’s funny. It freakin comedy lady. Get a grip.

  17. Simple question here. Why would you go? You’re clearly not a fan, and you only went to try and throw more dirt on a man that you believe needs to be shamed some more. Why? Don’t you have better things to do? If you knew you would hate it before you even went, why bother? If someone’s a fan, they’re going to go. Your terrible synopsis of his jokes aren’t going to dissuade a fan from going.

  18. To put it nicely, stand up comedy isn’t meant for you.

    These are the kinds of articles that hurt your credibility. You don’t like him…you could’ve illustrated that with much less. You played too many cards. It comes off as an emotion fueled temper tantrum begging for support.

    Put your torch down. Take a deep breath. And go fuck yourself.

  19. You’re white too… Who are you to talk about white privilege? Probably can’t even realize your own privilege. Have some faith in peeple. Very annoying article…

  20. You obviously know nothing about Louis C.K. or comedy and this article is such low hanging fruit you should be embarrassed. It’s really just you jerking yourself off so you should feel you have something in common with Louis.

  21. The way Louis CK is moving on is not acceptable. His total disregard for, and refusal to address, his controversy is unforgivable. Especially considering how he’s frameworked himself as a brand. It is incredibly disappointing to see.

    However, how dare you mock fans. his work was not nihilistic. It was full of sorrow, granted, and indulgently so. but there was also an optimism in values that do matter. positive enforcement for Good Work Ethics, Family, Friends. If you can’t fathom that Love you’ve seriously missed out.

  22. Louis is a road comic, he’s done this for 30+ years, and he’s met many promiscuous women. In his early stand up he mentions some encounters, like one that wanted him to “rape” her. “What are you insane…?” Was his response. In another bit he said “men want a woman they can —- all night, until they actually find one, cause they will —-you, all night…after a while you’re like -l don’t wanna —-you anymore…please let me go”. So is he a little secually obsessed? Yes, but that’s just the bar scene, when it’s part of your job. He was perverted by many women. Again, it’s women’s fault.
    He asked a few women if he could masturbate in front of them, when they said no, he didn’t. There’s nothing wrong with that. You need to get tf over it. Focus on the genius that is Louis ck, he’s a Virgo, they’re known for their hard work ethic, he worked REALLY hard for MANY years….and it’s brought us the finest sense of humor there ever was. Enjoy it. Stop being a pathetic sjw with the mind of a 5 year old. Grow up, ffs.

  23. Yes, what Louis did was wrong. But that doesn’t give you the right to be an asshole, Allison Hussey. And it certainly doesn’t give you the right to publish Louis’ material. You aren’t doing a public service with this article. When did liberalism turn into The Scarlet Letter?

  24. “These efforts were as subtle as my cat scratching around in the litter box at 2:00 a.m. Kick sand around all you like, bud, but it’s pretty obvious what you’re up to.”

    What he’s up to? You mean doing his job???

  25. Not Louie…this article. Could the author be any more holier than thou? This was seriously the worst thing I’ve read in years, and I read college applications for a science school. The best part is that she paid to go see a comedian she hates just so she could write it, even though she clearly didn’t need to go to the show to write such boring predictable drivel. We get it. You’re better than Louie CK. You’re better than everyone else who went to his show, and you’re better than us. Sounds like you listen to way better music than all of us too…lol. Was that album specifically intended for people with no sense of humor whose favorite pastime is virtue signalling? Seriously, get a life.

  26. Hussey is clearly attacking Louie because it is only way to ensure a reader will click on this thoughtless article. These “journalists” are hanging on by a thread. Do your research, lady. Stop spouting an anti-man, anti-white, anti-FUNNY agenda.

    Comedy is subjective and Louie will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time whether you like it or not. So clearly you’re in the minority. And to equate Louie’s humor to “toxic masculinity” shows just how out of your element you are. He has been making the same jokes since the early 2000’s. If this were Lena Dunham, who was ousted for sexually abusing her sister, you wouldn’t make a peep if she uttered jokes that you consider low-brow (and neither would I, because it is SUBJECTIVE and I know how to stay in my lane).

    You know you’re wrong. But you have a narrative, an agenda, and you’re sticking to it. You’re in the minority. The man’s life was ruined for a consensual act that happened years ago. You are entitled. You are privileged. You are closed-minded. You embody everything you accuse this man of being.

    But you can turn it around by admitting your fault. The choice is yours. Peace!

  27. Louis CK isn’t “being forgotten,” which is what morivated this obnoxiously obvious and crude attempt to smear him. His fans are clamoring to find him wherever they can, despite weird, self-important virtue-signaling pseudo heroes like the author of this amateurish hit piece.

    Exactly how Indyweek can justify hiring useless slime to jump on the ‘Smear Louis CK’ dogpile in a desperate and crude attempt to pass it off as ‘journalism’ should shock more of its readership than it is.

  28. Comedy has become the final frontier of being truthful in public, while news and journalism has become the meaning of Orwellian Doublespeak.

    What ever happened to objectivity, nuance? Why do these so called writers undermine our intelligence so much that they believe their duty is to present their morals and opinions as facts and truth to embrace “or else”?

    This was nothing more than a lengthy personal review and not even a good one at that. It was emotional, dishonest and unfair.

    Coming from a woman of color who identifies as a radical feminist. I value my intelligence and don’t need anyone telling me what is funny or what I’m supposed to think. My ancestors endured enough of THAT, thank you. No one uses my demographics as a shield from intellectually honest banter.

  29. Really enjoyed this review. I thought the comment about folks living their life through Louis was spot on. Sad to see how strong that desire still is.

  30. …said none of your readers. Yes, we get it; females are genetically incapable of having senses of humor. You can stop telling us already.

    By the way, banning recording devices at comedy shows is becoming increasingly commonplace. Clubs are where comedians work out the kinks in material they’d like the general public to eventually see, which also explains why you may not have been hearing his best content. Louis is also a comedian who tries not to repeat the same act too much.

    Even so, a lot of the topics you wrote down got a chuckle or two out of me-and breaking down comedy bits like that is a sure-fire way to make them LESS funny (I wouldn’t have to explain that to someone who actually enjoys comedy, but whatever.) I think it’s a testament to his skill, that despite your best efforts, you still couldn’t make CK unfunny.

    Speaking of regressive identity politics bullshit; one thing that libtards never bring up when discussing their favorite topic, white “privilege,” is how the scientifically measured contrast between white and black Americans’ behavioral patterns might affect the disparities between their outcomes. Oops, am I being too analytical? I went one whole sentence without dropping a buzzword, so I’m sure I lost you somewhere.

  31. This wasn’t a review so much as emotional vomit. We get it, you don’t forgive Louis and are annoyed that other people do. You think he’s not funny and are annoyed that other people do.

  32. White people believing they have a right to exist is white privilege? So why haven’t you killed yourself?

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