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You know what hilarious means? Hilarious means so funny that you almost went insane when you heard that shi... its so funny that is almost ruined your life. You're homeless now because you can't cope or reason anymore. Because that hilarious thing just shattered your mind and three months later you got shit and leaves in your hair and you're drenched in pee in the gutter. That's how funny hilarious is.
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Louis C.K.'s latest comedy concert film is Hilarious, the first ever stand-up documentary to be accepted at Sundance. The film is economically produced--C.K. does his own direction and editing--and spends much of its time in a mid shot of C.K.'s face; content is everything here.
Whatever its personal implications, C.K.'s recent divorce is a great development for his comedy: it allows him to take his trademark pessimism on dates, to the gym, and even to the club. He pares incredulous contempt for beautiful people with his own healthy self-loathing--but because this is Louis C.K, he absolutely never pities himself. In fact, many of his best barbs are aimed at the entitled and ungrateful among us: among other great jabs, this film contains his now-famous "chair in the sky" airplane routine.
Much of his best and most human material is derived from life as a father; he invokes his daughters with a disarming love and respect, while realistically explicating the more disgusting elements of parenthood. This too benefits from his recent divorce, as it serves to alienate him even further from contemporary dating.
There is also a fair number of shock laughs, of course--at one point C.K tellingly acknowledges that upsetting people makes him laugh. And that in itself is the great appeal of Louis C.K.'s comedy, that we can bond over the idea that nothing good will ever happen to anyone and then find humor in it. Hilarious is all about finding laughs in pessimism, and it demonstrates what a hilarious performer C.K. is. -TK 9/22/10
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