Louis C.K.: Oh My God debuts tonight on HBO at 10 p.m. Eastern.
To watch Louis C.K. the past few years is to witness an artist hitting his peak. More or less since the cancellation of his HBO show, Lucky Louie, after one season in 2007, each C.K. project has gotten better. His hilarious first hour-long special, Shameless, in 2007, preceded 2008’s similarly great Chewed Up, but with 2010’s Hilarious, he hit another level.
That same year, his FX series, Louie, debuted to much acclaim, and the accolades only grew more numerous and intense for the show’s second season, which aired last year. On top of all that, he self-released a special, Live At The Beacon Theater, for $5 via his website, and it not only made him $1 million in 10 days, but established a new paradigm comedians like Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari have followed.
Like Louie, C.K. wrote, directed, and edited his new hour, Oh My God, which he shot on a round stage at Phoenix’s Celebrity Theatre. (“This is easily the nicest place for many miles in any direction,” he says of it. “That’s how you compliment a building a shit on a town in one sentence.”) Considering he could have made a ton of money releasing it himself, he must be getting a sweet deal from HBO—and even then, he’s still going to offer it as a $5 download on his website in September.
To put it succinctly: Louis C.K. seems unstoppable right now. And Oh My God only reinforces that perception.
People who saw C.K. on the tour leading up to the special will recognize most of the material, much of it modified to varying degrees. For instance, a bit about C.K. screwing with one of his neighbors in his exclusive new building gets edited down (and C.K. nixes the kicker, which he told on the tour, that puts the story in a whole different light).
All of C.K.’s favorite themes are present, and they generally fall into two categories: personal stories or observations. For the former, there’s his aging, failing body (“My asshole’s like a bag of leaves nobody tied up”), his life as divorcé, his family, and his horrible thoughts. For the latter, his animals, his neighbors, the wisdom of age, and more. It’s all fairly dark, but no one thrives in darkness more than Louis C.K., and he never favors empty shock value in place of laughs. More than anything, Oh My God is very funny. It ends with an incisive bit that will likely go down as a C.K. classic.
To go into too much detail would spoil the material, but Oh My God is essential watching for C.K.’s followers and comedy fans in general. Here’s hoping this streak he’s on doesn’t end any time soon.