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Louis C.K.’s ‘Sincerely’ Review: You Can’t Cancel Him Again, Culture

The disgraced comic proves his worth in between stale attempts at outrage

Louis C.K. isn’t a conservative. That’s abundantly clear after watching the comic’s new special, “Sincerely.”

Even when discussing “you know what” C.K. worries President Barack Obama knows about the scandal that brought his career to a screeching halt.

So why does C.K. get friendlier treatment today from the Right? A sampling of “Sincerely” gives you a clue.

The comic’s first stand-up comedy special since he admitted to pleasuring himself in front of a number of women is a treatise on unexpurgated comedy. Nothing is sacred.

Nada.

Much of it, though, is very, very funny. And while C.K. acknowledges certain jokes are offensive or just plain “wrong,” he tells them anyway with that crooked grin of his.

Try to cancel him. Been there, survived that.

Louis C.K. performs first stand-up comedy set since admitting to sexual misconduct

The crowd at Washington, D.C.’s Warner Theater, where the special was taped, welcomed him like the scandal never happened. They cheered him on, applauded when he finally addressed “you know what” and didn’t boo over inappropriate jokes. They know C.K, the performer, and they left their pearls at home to go unclutched.

Nor do they applaud when he says the “right” things, either. They know that’s as much an act as the bad stuff. And boy, does C.K. wallow in the latter.

RELATED: Ellen Barkin Wants Louis C.K. Raped, Shot At

The comedian references his scandal right away in “Sincerely” before adding his woes could soon grow worse.

“Wait til they see those pics of me in blackface,” he cracks. “I can’t stop doing it… I like how it feels.”

Wait, you can’t joke about that!

Why not? He’s a comedian. It’s what they do, and it’s partially why the woke Left refuses to let C.K. resume his career even after the scandal cost him millions and made him an international pariah.

The comic runs through a gauntlet of hot button topics during the hour-long special, from atheism (a huge fan) to pedophilia (not a fan, but he’s got a dozen-plus jokes on the subject).

Offended yet? That’s the point.

His riff on religion is an example of C.K. at his best … and worst. Some of the material is sharp, while other bits feel like attempts to shock sans context or quality. His bestiality material is a prime example.

His subsequent riff on the “R” word finds him hitting his comic stride.

“We’re supposed to be positive about disabled people, but it puts a lot of pressure on them,” he says, noting how we marvel at those who do amazing things despite their limitations.

“What about the ones who aren’t extraordinary?” he asks in between repeated mentions of the “R” word.

He’s not done on the subject. He argues the culture doesn’t really embrace disabled people as much as we pretend, or even as often as in our less evolved past. He cites the 1979 TV movie “Like Normal People,” featuring Shaun Cassidy as a mentally challenged soul, as the kind of project we see less of today.

Is he right? Does he make some valid points?

The best comedians ask those questions while making us howl and, occasionally, squirm. You’ll do a lot of both during “Sincerely.”

C.K. also jokes about ordering Sushi at a restaurant, a bit that finds him mimicking the server’s thick accent. It’s how she sounded, he cries in his mock defense, imagining the uproar a simple impression could generate in woke circles.

He tells the joke anyway, using that accent in the process. Take that. He’s not insulting a culture, he’s recreating a moment in humorous fashion. That’s what comics have done for decades.

Some comedy specials wheeze their way to the finish line. Not “Sincerely.” The special grows stronger toward the end, and his final reflections on “you know what” prove illuminating and funny.

He’s not begging for our forgiveness. He’s already done that. He’s back to telling jokes and opening up a portion of his mind, and life, for our consideration.

Cancel him personally if you wish. There’s no crime in that, especially for those aghast at any kind of sexual intimidation. You can see his new special flash across your computer screen and say, “Nah, I don’t want to support him.”

Everyone else can digest him like any other stand-up. You can’t permanently cancel comedy.

NOTES: C.K. unexpectedly dropped “Sincerely” for $7.99, and the streaming quality this critic experienced proved bumpy at times. Plus, when you order the special you’ll get messages in both text and email form, which may mean he’s rebuilding his customer base so he can pitch them future products.

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5 Comments

  1. Louis CK is like Woody Allen. I never cared about their stuff, but the more “How dare you” articles I see, the more I want to cancel them.

    Screw them. And if that upsets people? Screw them harder.

  2. It’s almost as if the first time he was “canceled,” he acquired some sort of immunity. (Sorry, people, a pandemic/corona metaphor is now mandatory. Carry on.)

  3. Probably should have mentioned this would not have happened were it not for Dave Chappelle and Bill Burr doing some trailblazing. If you’ve not seen their last gigs… do so.

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