The last time I saw Louis C.K. on the mic, he was demonstrating how one might finger a horny rodent during "a pretty standard rat fuck." On Tuesday, Netflix released the first of two new stand-up specials from Louis C.K., and let me be the first to tell you there is no rat-fucking to be found. There is, however, a full hour stacked with some of the (suit-wearing?) comedian's strongest work to date.
Right out of the gate, C.K. gets the Washington D.C. audience acclimated by exploring the parallels between abortions and bowel movements. This is a pretty great way of letting anyone skeptical of the suit know that C.K. is absolutely not paring down his delightfully profane surrealism for anyone, especially Netflix.
Nearly two years have passed since what may very well end up being the last episode of Louie, C.K.'s occasionally absurdist and always hilarious FX series. C.K. has essentially pulled a Curb Your Enthusiasm on fans by keeping the future of the Emmy-winning series as frustratingly up in the air as possible. Though C.K. has maintained his FX presence by co-creating the excellent Baskets with Zach Galifianakis and the also excellent Better Things with Pamela Adlon, watching this new special will likely make you miss the hell out of Louie.
An extended bit on suicide, which somehow strikes a poignant tone even as you're laughing uncontrollably alongside C.K. and the D.C. crowd, combines the strengths of Louie and last year's rightfully beloved web series Horace and Pete by making us as comfortable as possible with life's most uncomfortable moments. Again, don't let C.K.'s decision to eschew his usual stage attire of a black t-shirt and jeans fuck with your head. This is prime C.K. material.
The special's name, 2017, comes into focus during what is arguably the hour's most hilarious moment. I won't spoil it here, except to say that it's probably not at all what you're imagining. 2017 also boasts plenty more apt blasphemy worth much more than a cursory watch, from C.K.'s thoughts on heroin-addled dogs to the general ugliness of dicks to ISIS beheaders' apparent aversion to bald men.
2017 arrives on the heels of a pair of new Netflix specials from Dave Chappelle, both of which were also very good. In the coming months, Netflix is set to premiere even more exclusive specials from Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Sarah Silverman, Tracy Morgan, and damn near every working comedian on the planet.
If those specials are anywhere near as good as this, then stand-up comedy—despite it all—is set for a great year.