Louis CK helps Stockton shine

In Entertainment on October 31, 2011 at 12:06 pm


When I first heard that Louis CK had been booked at the Bob Hope Theatre I did a double take. CK, despite having 24 years of experience under his belt, is in the midst of a meteoric rise to stardom. His FX show draws rave reviews and comedians around the world generally regard him as the best in the business right now. It was confusing because Stockton doesn’t usually get shows like this, especially with adult acts. Stockton usually gets acts well after their peak popularity. The biggest show Stockton’s hosted, the Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg double bill, featured two rappers whose best work came out while I was in Kindergarten. Chevelle was booked a good 4 years after their hit. While those acts still have name value, they were well past their prime. Somehow, someway we nabbed a show from the best in the business while they were the best in the business (for now, at least, as CK joked during his performance). Hopefully this trend continues because Louis CK absolutely killed.

It had been a while since I’d been to the Hope but the place was absolutely packed. The crowd was representative of wide demographic that CK appeals to. Young people drawn to his often graphic takes on sex and drugs intermingled in the lobby with adults who came for CK’s often dark observations on middle age and child rearing.

CK’s set started roughly 15 mins after 8pm with no opening act. He just kind of wandered out and hit the ground running, informing the crowd that he didn’t care if they recorded the show as long as they didn’t distribute it online. As he put it, it was all new material and he didn’t want someone’s first impression of his new jokes to be a crappy, poorly lit YouTube clip. After the disclaimers he performed for about an hour and a half, seamlessly transitioning through different topics such as mortality, his childhood in Mexico, and a hypothetical phone call with his ex-wife in which he explains how their children were eaten by bears on a camping trip. It was an amazing set from the best comedian working today. It’s hard to describe without just retelling all of his great new material which, unlike other comedians, didn’t seem like a rehash of his old stuff. About halfway through the show you realize your face is hurting because you’ve been laughing for 45 mins and he’s not even slowing down. It’s a rare opportunity to watch someone at the top of their field ply their craft for you in Stockton, but it happened last Thursday.

Even more surprising was that the Stockton crowd behaved itself. Nobody ran on stage to hug CK. All of the seats stayed in tact. There were no hecklers. It was great. Part of that was probably due to CK’s notorious reputation for verbally destroying hecklers. The other contributing factor was that SMG was able to lure CK to Stockton for one of his only gigs in Northern California so the crowd was full of a lot of out-of-towners traveling here from Sacramento for once.

It was essentially the exact kind of show people were hoping for when these downtown venues were built/refurbished. Stockton put it’s best foot forward on Thursday and delivered. Hopefully there will be plenty more opportunities like this that we can deliver on.


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