"None of you knew you were gonna be here this morning," Louis C.K. reminded a packed audience late Tuesday at Acme Comedy Co.
The in-his-prime comic juggernaut had performed to 15,000 fans hours earlier at Target Center, and tickets to his surprise benefit for the iconic Minneapolis comedy room sold out almost instantly. For those who scored tickets, the rare and intimate show was like watching Michael Jordan dunk at the Corn Palace, like hearing Neil Young solo at the Turf Club.
Sporting his usual black T-shirt, C.K. appeared from behind Acme's red curtain to wild applause. He cited Minnesota comedy greats Mitch Hedberg ("he died") and Louie Anderson ("who will die soon"), and plugged Nice Ride MN. He also praised the generosity of Acme owner Louis Lee, whom C.K. has thanked publicly in the past.
C.K.'s return to the club was intended to raise funds to aid Lee's ongoing battle with a parking lot developer, though the comedian never sounded very optimistic.
"The place is gonna close, so I figured I'd get one more in at Acme," he quipped. "When this place closes it'll be a Bennigan's or a Sunglass Hut."
That set the tone for C.K.'s newest hour of bleak, almost nihilistic, but massively funny material. He started out on abortion ("If it's connected to your body by a tube I don't care if it's playing cards, you get to kill it"), suicide ("The whole human race is made up of people who didn't kill themselves"), and discovering a dead body in a river ("Nobody looks good with wet hair").
Bits about piles of shit on his kid's classroom floor, hating weddings, neurotic dogs, and Greek mythology weren't any cheerier, but that didn't stop every joke from landing to wild laughter. An exploration of how Magic Mike — and only Magic Mike — spurred repressed homosexual feelings led into a filthy, silly, and abrupt closer about C.K.'s Mexican-Jewish father.
The unquenchable thirst for yupster developments in North Loop may well kill Acme. If that's the case, at least C.K. provided one more unforgettable night at the historic club.