When it comes to his own jokes, C.K. is proudest of those for which he must commit with Method-actor rigor to some rhetorical or moral absurdity—and then take his argument several parsecs beyond its "logical" conclusion. He's always striking through the mask, Louis C.K. It's not just a matter of braying aloud what the rest of us only dare to think; he says things we aren't even aware we're thinking until we hear them from C.K. That's his genius. Yeah, that word. I hesitate to use it. First because overuse has cheapened it into a kind of aerosolized cheese, and second because C.K. himself is ruthlessly precise in the way he uses and talks about language. (From his 2010 special, Hilarious: "We don't think about how we talk.... 'Dude, it was amazing.' Really? You were amazed by a basket of chicken wings? What if Jesus comes down from the sky and makes love to you all night long and leaves the new Living Lord in your belly? What are you going to call that? You used 'amazing' on a basket of chicken wings! You've limited yourself verbally to a shit life!") If Louis C.K., né Szekely, were "merely" the greatest comic talent of his generation, which he is, he'd merit...well, "the most electrifying comedian since Richard Pryor." But not "genius."
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