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Louis C.K. has always had a DIY ethic about him. He famously writes, directs and edits his absolutely essential FX series Louie by himself, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to hear that he also cooks everything on the craft services table and personally buys all the film as well. Rather than going through HBO, Comedy Central or traditional retail for his new special C.K. has cut out as many middlemen as possible by offering Live at the Beacon Theater, the production of which he paid for himself, via his website for five dollars. You can stream or download it with “No DRM, no regional restrictions, no crap.” (As hands on as ever, audio instructions all bear C.K.’s distinctive down-to-earth voice. If you don’t want to join his mailing list, click “No, leave me alone forever, you fat idiot.” It’s a nice touch.)
John Mulaney has a joke about crossing the street to avoid teenagers because their put-downs are not only the meanest, but also the most accurate. They have a knack, he explains, for zeroing in on what you don’t like about yourself. He then quotes one mocking his “womanly hips.” Mulaney pretends to be offended, but he’s actually impressed at how precise the kids are.
There is much more to Ralphie May than his size, but the man did name his most recent stand-up special Too Big to Ignore, so it behooves us to tackle the subject up front. An excellent mimic who would have done gangbusters in the silent-film era, May knows how to use his weight as a physical prop, and is particularly fond of bugging his eyes out beyond the limits of his face before retreating them back to the point where they almost disappear into his ample folds of flesh.
There is a certain dumb thesis that keeps rearing its cretinous head, even though there’ve never been more funny women working in the entertainment industry. While it’s hard to take the argument even remotely seriously (Tina Fey is funnier than the five funniest men on this planet put together), its persistence does demand a rebuke of sorts, which comedian Bonnie McFarlane provides in debut documentary Women Aren’t Funny.
The intermingling of the alt-comedy scene (whatever that means) and the alt-music scene over the past few years has been a welcome trend. It makes our clubs better, it makes our Bonnaroos better, it makes our chances of Eugene Mirman at something better. But not every pairing is as smooth as Aziz Ansari palling around with Kanye.
In the intro to Laugh At My Pain, Kevin Hart and his friends and business associates pray together, then gather around, chanting, “Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody want to put the work in.” The chip on his shoulder is totally justified. Before he was scoring high-profile cameos in Modern Family and Fockers sequels and before he was a popular enough standup to cut a direct distribution deal with AMC theaters for his new special (Pain first played exclusively in a limited but lucrative run last fall), he was another catch-as-catch-can comedian and “That Guy” actor.
To even objectively describe Reggie Watts is to praise him. Now, Reggie Watts is worthy of much praise indeed, but even the most generous critic can begin to feel like they’re laying it on a bit thick when talking about this level of talent, and might prefer to hang back a bit, as it were.