Published May 16, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
Louis CK is one of the biggest names in standup comedy, and for good reason. His 2011 special, Live at the Beacon Theater, is a piece of hilarity; filmed in Manhattan, this fourth standup special was the first one that he chose to sell directly from his website for $5. The choice to take over distribution in this way allowed CK to release a performance that was filmed just a month earlier.
The incongruity of the breathtaking, ornately high-ceilinged Beacon Theater and Louis CK's t-shirt, jeans and running shoes grabs your attention immediately. Throughout the performance, there are moments that recall Woody Allen or George Carlin: the sound of an impression here, or a joke about sucking a dick there. These are subtle influences though because CK's voice is entirely his own.
Live at the Beacon Theater shows that CK has perfected brutally honest, irreverent dark comedy. He shares the monstrous sides of human nature in the most humorous ways. CK's performance is best described as seemingly irrational anger and raw emotion that have been honed into one polished bit after another, executed with a delivery that is equal parts precise and conversational. He transitions as smoothly from one joke to the next as he does with difficult topics: anti-Semitism, death, selfishness, colonialism, parenting, drug use and sexual perversion. Nothing is off-limits. Nothing is sacred. Everything is funny.
If you live with roommates, don't watch this special on Netflix in the middle of the night with your headphones on. You will laugh out loud repeatedly, annoy people, embarrass yourself and lose friends. On the bright side, you'll be in a great mood while that's happening.