Tuesday, 19 October 2010



I ordered this CD over the internet because quite frankly I don’t think I am likely to see it in any record shops.  I ordered it from HMV and despite all the impersonal elements of this transaction for some reason it still arrived with a security tag stuck inside the case.  Am I really that untrustworthy?  Or is this CD really at that much risk of being shoplifted?  Surely the latest pop hits CDs are more at risk of being lifted by their audience due to the mere economics of them being tenfold (or in this case thousandfold).  Then you come to the realisation that the hits of the day are coming from wet bastard artists who have wet bastard fans who are not necessarily a demographic likely to steal a CD from a store.  A large part of the demographic isn’t actually likely to even buy or own CDs.  So what does that say about your average Louis C.K. listener?  That they are disgruntled dishonest men likely to rob your store?

As far as observational humour goes Louis C.K. is subtly king.  Much like most people I first encountered him via Ricky Gervais which naturally caused me to be dubious but as I closed my eyes and endured suddenly the words from this man’s mouth were frighteningly on the button.  These were the words of a prophet.

Louis C.K. speaks to the weary middle aged man.  He shares reality and puts on a positive and victorious spin in the face of pure and utter defeat.  This is a man resigned but thriving from it as his truths lend him some kind of head start on the psychosis that is eventually awaiting 99% of us.  This is why the man is a hero.  More and more these days I find myself asking: what would Louis do?

“Every shit is an emergency.”

Chewed Up opens with a track entitled “Offensive Words”.  With that he expresses a staunch nonchalance aimed at dumb conventions.  He says that he misses the word faggot, loves the word cunt and sees only limited harm in the word nigger.  Its all about context and intention.  Being offended is for other people.

On that note the self exploration, the self obliteration begins.  His sense of wear kicks in with “Processing Shame” as he reviews his body conceding confusion from having “ate too much and masturbated too recently”.  This theory applies a couple of demeaning equations to his weight (“your age plus 200 pounds”, “2 boxers, 1 fat baby and a dead dog”).  This is painful and excessive self examination but he owns it, accepts that it’s not perfect but inhabits it all the same.

Having reached the age of 40 he also accepts that he is now “Half Dead”.  And doctors ain’t listening to your complaints once you reach that age.  Fortunately though he is white and in his words “I Enjoy Being White”.  Its not for an sinister, it is just pure luxury.  He expresses empathy and sympathy towards the hardships endured at racist hands but he just can’t help it that he lucked out.  He’s not that saying that white people are better but being white is better, a point reiterated by the white man’s ability to fuck with time machines safe in the knowledge there will be no bondage.  The future however, that will be a different story.  And he is also a man, a white man.  This is the fearless honesty C.K. is known for.  The edginess of the material arrives in the risk of it being taken out of context and misrepresented to evil ends thus the execution need be intricate and precise.  Most people cannot perform and get away with material like this.  It’s a talent.

“Kids are like buckets of disease that live in your house.”

At the time of recording (1 March 2008) he was still married and with that remained a series of issues more Lucky Louie than Louie (“my wife and I we’ve been married for about nine years now so we’re almost done”).  And it is in his pure description of being a parent and his genuine description of dealing with his daughters (“I’ve got two of these fucking things”).  Somehow he manages to say the worst things, describe in the most negatively accurate manner and yet his credentials never come into question (“she’s five, nothing that she says matters”, “she can walk but she won’t, she’s a bullshitter”).  This is material that resonates with a certain kind of man, one that has chosen the traditional and taken on the host of compromises that come with.  This is material that can prompt grown men to punch the air.

It is quite telling that there are tracks entitled “Boys Vs Girls” followed by “Girls & Women”.  His appears a female dominated world with a wife, two daughters having come from a one parent family inhabited by his mother.  All in all this offers him quite the insight, permitting some degree of authority and licence.  He describes the difference as being “boys fuck things up, girls are fucked up”.  It’s a telling difference, one where the male damage leaves a financial toll whereas the female damage will leave a permanent scar.  And that really sums things up all the way through life (“a man will steal your car or burn down your house but a woman will ruin your life….he will leave you as a human intact.  Women are non violent but they will shit inside your heart”).

After the album has finished, this statement represents the reality I will hold onto.

Towards the end he harps on about sex saying that he needs to cum and that he has cum everyday of his life despite having only been fucked about twenty times.  At this point he states you can judge yourself on how good a person you are based on how long it took you to jerk off after 9/11.  His score was between the towers falling.

The set ends with an appreciation of women and dismissal of girls posing as women (“when you become a women is when people come out of your vagina and step on your dreams”).  With hindsight it feels like a loving gesture (a love letter) delivered to his wife just too late.

With that we get a couple of bonus tracks in “4 AM” and “Sweatpants & Vodka” as he expands on living and having to deal with a daughter followed by commentary on modern life and the shortcuts offered by stories in the direction of just giving up.

Afterwards all involved have been self examined and chewed up.  This method of dismantle feels essential in this modern era when so much importance is placed on surface and so little of purpose.  We now live in a time when style overrides substance and character is weakness as any flaw or imperfection appears unaccepted by the majority (the mainstream).  In such a climate people such as Louis C.K. serve a huge function in clawing back the commodity of common sense coupled with hanging onto humility.  Here he is living existence and taking notes on the way with view to expressing and improving.  On a deeper level he is more than mere comedian, he is an agent offering entertainment to sate our sanity.  Of course this is not strictly his intention, he is a Working Joe.  The best ever Working Joe.

More George Carlin than Bill Hicks, he is not the saviour of comedy; he is the saviour of your soul.  And if you believe that: you suck.

Just aim to work on yourself as hard as C.K. works on himself.

Thesaurus moment: amelioration.

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