Around this time last year, Louis C.K. hosted the last episode of the historic 40th season of Saturday Night Live. It was C.K.'s third time hosting the show he'd tested for, and failed to get, years previous.
Both times he'd hosted before, he shone brightest in the opening monologue in season best episodes; no surprise really given he's a stand up comic and would probably be most comfortable there. Now, fans of C.K. and his show 'Louie' will know too well his irreverent, unique way of looking at life and twisting that angle into something comedic. Granted, there's a larger amount of people who will share his more amiable quotes (on his weight, or homophobia etc) via the er, medium of memes. Probably without seeing more than a short YouTube clip of his comedy.
Even casual fans know that his tone is almost purposely offensive at times - he wants to see how his audience reacts when he says something horrible. Granted, his audience, which is now amongst the biggest for a stand up comic in America, realise this; Mom and Pop middle America, having a quiet Saturday night in watching telly, don't - which kind of makes the bit even more brilliant.
For anyone who missed the aforementioned bit, it's below and created quite the reaction online in America last year. But what I found genuinely surprising was, despite small outcry from the perpetually offended, the vast majority of people took it in the way in which it was meant - a joke. An edgy joke, but a reeeally funny one too.
When comedians become household names, there's a slight worry, as a long time fan, they may be concerned about the public reverberation of saying something perceived to be over the line and the reaction it could cause. How, intensely, beautifully wrong I was about Louis.
There's a point in the SNL bit where he knows how far he's gone, and pushes it even further. But apart from being both hilarious and brave, he's stoked the fires of debate in the US - particularly with the opening bit on casual racism. Comedy like that is really the most astute, because it makes you think and self analyse after the laugh. But it's not preachy, or judgemental - C.K. is mocking himself here, at least ostensibly.
A lot of the great comedians had something important to say, and a lot were just funny - Louis C.K. is both. If you're not easily offended, I recommend spending a quiet day getting lost in his superb stand up on YouTube.
Louis C.K. plays 3Arena on August 15th. Tickets are available from Ticketmaster. His new show 'Horace and Pete' is available from LouisCK.net.