Somerville ‘Lucky’ to See Louis C.K.

Louis C.K., who grew up in Newton, got his start at open mic nights in Boston during the 1980s comedy boom.
Louis C.K. –Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Comedy Festival

If nothing else, the Sunday-night crowd for the third of the four surprise-ish shows Louis C.K. put on at the Somerville Theater this weekend could go home and say that they had finally seen simulations of rats having sexual intercourse and a man performing intercourse with a rat.

Boy, when you write that out, it sounds even dirtier.

The rat bit was the sledgehammer capper of the Newton-bred comic’s raucous, hourlong set of new material for an adoring audience at the venerable theater near Davis Square. Watching him, clad in his everyman flannel and jeans and a pair of New Balance sneakers, present the rough – but still hilarious – comic stones that would be polished into gems in time for the taping of his next special was fascinating. He even acknowledged the work-in-progress nature of the material, cheerfully acknowledging that he was still trying to figure out one segment and making light of the low ticket prices. (“Hey, you paid thirty bucks for this.’’) The crowd – heavy on the late-20s and early-30s demographic, and dotted with Patriots jerseys – couldn’t care less, spasming with laughter just about every minute he was on stage and bookending his set with vigorous applause.

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His comedic ground was familiar to anyone who’s ever seen him perform, whether in stand-up mode or while acting in an episode of Louie – parenting his two daughters, his declining physique, airplane travel. He recounted some of his most hated venues as a stand-up (including a formerly segregated spot in Louisville) and incorporated a surprising impression into his very funny bit about Mark Twain.

Louis C.K. was performing in his home state, and he did take the time to briefly recognize it. He began the show with a particularly funny bit about being spooked by a certain technical term for the female anatomy in his elementary school sex education classes, which was only made more harsh by the particularly sharp Massachusetts accent put on it. (I’ll let your imagination run wild.)

But beyond that, and an encore bit about his former stint living in Somerville (he referred to the weekend’s shows as “the first enjoyable thing’’ that had ever happened to him in the city, and took the time to poke fun at its then-unfashionable housing), Louis C.K. kept the whole show pretty universal. His set was a fine, filthy mix of funny poignancy that’s helped him become one of the – if not the – greatest stand-ups working today.

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