Louis C.K.: Word -- Theater Review

This veteran comedian is at the top of his game. 

"Let's talk about some shit," declared Louis C.K. at the beginning of his show, and that's exactly what he proceeded to do in the ensuing riotously funny hour. The 43-year-old veteran comic -- who is at the top of his game in the stand-up world after a mere 20 years of solid touring and appearing in such films as the cult favorite "Pootie Tang" and the acclaimed TV series "Lucky Louie" and "Louie" -- has the sort of regular guy persona to which audiences can instantly relate.

This sold-out Carnegie Hall gig was one of the highlights of the 2010 New York Comedy Festival, presented in association with Comedy Central.

As with all great comedians, Louis is a master at zeroing in on the truth of uncomfortable situations, lacing his hilariously profane diatribes with ample doses of loathing, mostly of the self-directed variety.

"I've only learned recently that food is supposed to be fuel," he admits, before launching into a lacerating description of his poor eating habits that result in a constant "48 hour window of diarrhea."

He goes on to repeatedly mine his personal life to great effect, whether lamenting his middle-aged decrepitude ("You don't die, you just have a long, shitty second half"); his ambivalence towards his kids ("I love her, but I was she was never born," he jokes about his 8-year-old daughter); and his divorce ("Staying married for the kids is like holding in a shit for your entire life").

But his not so thinly veiled hostility is far ranging, as proven by a lengthy rant about the cluelessness of 20-year-olds that particularly amused the middle-aged audience members.

While his deceptively casual humor is mainly of the verbal variety, he also demonstrated an impressive gift for physical comedy with his miming of being woken up from a deep sleep and the energetic contortions of porn film performers.

His encore, in which he deviated from his normal stream-of-consciousness style to deliver a lengthy account about a nightmarish plane ride, was all the more hilarious for sounding like it was the absolute truth.

His current tour, dubbed "Louis CK: Word," hits L.A.'s Gibson Universal Auditorium on Dec. 2.

Venue: Carnegie Hall, NYC, Nov. 4