Louis CK’s Long E-mail

I am a fan of Louis CK. He’s brilliant but still seems down to earth, and quite frequently he makes me laugh but more often he makes me think.

Today he released a new show and once again he’s made it available for $5 – no DRM and in a number of formats. I love that he’s confident enough in his fan base that he doesn’t encumber his work with DRM, and I pretty much buy everything he tells me to buy. I plan to watch it tonight.

He also sent out a rather long e-mail on why he did this show in a comedy club and not a theatre. Let’s get serious – Louis CK at the moment can sell out Madison Square Garden, so working in the much smaller space of a club must have been a change.

In the e-mail he talks about some of the clubs he played, and he even mentioned Charlie Goodnights in Raleigh. I used to spend a lot of time there, and I got to know the staff well enough that I could almost always reserve a table right next to the stage. I would ask for the one off to the left (as you are facing it) as most people are right handed and thus tend to focus a little more to their right, and there was a good chance that I would get to interact with the comedian.

I got to chat with Bobby Collins and Elayne Boozler (among others), and had a very memorable exchange with the late, great Rich Jeni. Note that I didn’t heckle or try to be a douche but with my voice and introverted nature, plus my prime location, I almost always managed to come to the attention of the person performing.

Good times.

Louis CK did this show at The Comedy Store in LA. When I lived there we used to hit the Improv a lot, but one time we decided to spring for The Comedy Store. The tickets were spendy for college students so we had to make it a special occasion. The headliner was Andrew Dice Clay.

Note that this was when Clay was thin and had hair and not too many people had heard of him. I think it was 1986 or so, might have been 1985. Anyway, we had no idea what we were getting into. Clay’s humour is rather singular, and being in a group of easily offended liberals, we didn’t know what to think.

I laughed my ass off.

There is just something about seeing comedy in a club. One Sunday night my friend Howard and I hit the Improv and for a two drink minimum we got to see a number of acts, including Jerry Seinfeld. Seinfeld just walked in, did about ten minutes, and left (this was before he was super famous). I’ll still remember the guy after him: Rick Ducommun. He killed. He started off complaining about having to follow Seinfeld and then just had us in stitches.

On nights like this each comedian gets a set amount of time, and when their time is up a little red light flashes in the back of the club that can be seen from the stage. When Ducommun stopped his act and told us he had to go, there was almost a revolt. He was that “on” that night.

After the noise died down, he laughed and said “hey, so I got the light, what can they do?” at which time the entire stage went dark. After we laughed even more, they gave him another five minutes or so.

It was pure magic.

Ducommun had his fifteen minutes, as fame can be fleeting. In the year after that show he had an HBO special (at one time the pinnacle of the comedy mountain) but then disappeared. Louis CK seems to realize that it could, and probably will, happen to him, but he continues to keep coming up with new ways to keep us engaged.

This makes me real eager to see his show, and looky, it’s done downloading.