Louis CK is the best stand-up comedian of our generation. His latest special, Hilarious, was the first stand-up special to apear at Sundance Film Festival, in large part due to the comedian's favorable comparisons to Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, comedic greats whom CK thanks in the credits of his film.

But CK pushes the form further: he has the relatability of Cosby, the fearlessness of Pryor and the mad social commentary of Carlin. Richard Pryor said that he felt he'd passed the torch on to Dave Chappelle but CK is the successor to all three.

Hilarious is as close to an auteur stand-up film as has ever been made. Inspired by The Song Remains The Same, CK wanted his stand-up concert to look more like a film experience, so he directed as well as performed during the show. He and his crew of camera operators rehearsed choreography and body codes meticulously leading up to the special allowing him to work the in-house audience as a performer, and work the look of the finished film as a director simultaneously.

CK pushes boundaries in a way that’s smart and, appropriately, hilarious. He has said before that what he finds most rewarding is to take the audience to uncomfortable places (Hilarious features topics including bowel movements, dead children and masturbation), and make them find truth and humor in their discomfort. He doesn’t say something edgy for the sake of being edgy, but instead, is naturally candid and honest. There’s great humor to be found in our worst faults and CK doesn’t shy away from that.

At the same time CK is just as comfortable breathing new life into routines that would seem stale in the hands of lesser comedians. Routines about dating and being out of shape are nothing new, but CK manages to take seemingly played-out material and approach it in his own unique way. If you thought you’d never laugh at a routine about airline travel again, you are wrong.

With both a competent stage presence and well-written material, CK has complete control over his audience. When he has the microphone in his hands, he is master of his domain, jumping from diatribes to quick barbs and simply riffing off the crowd easily. Only he could take our worst thoughts and feelings and transform them into masterly routines about the state of humanity, so effortlessly you don't even realize what he's doing until you're on the floor laughing.

Starring: Louis CK

Directed by: Louis CK

Runtime: 84 minutes

Distributed by: Circus King Productions

Rated: NR

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