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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Comedy from Katz: Not the Cute Furry Kind

Posted By on Wed, Mar 16, 2011 at 7:30 AM


I've known Louis Katz since he started doing comedy, or at least just after he started doing comedy. He was part of a class of comedians* that also included Jasper Redd and Brent Weinbach. They all came out of the gate fast, and through their obvious and abundant talents they completely disrespected the "Wait your turn" thing that we usually have going in S.F. comedy. They both worked the Punch Line and did their own shows. They even made fliers for shows! They even did shows in (HORROR OF HORRORS!) the East Bay!! It was as if they wanted to succeed! The comics from my class had no time for this. Most of us were patient to wait for the fickle finger of show business to finger us. At some point I realized that if I was going to even have a shot at "making it" I would have to re-enroll with these dudes. I started doing their shows (even in the East Bay.) And I ended up going to the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal with Louis and Jasper.
Louis Katz - Vegan Food
JokesJoke of the DayFunny Jokes
So because I saw a lot of Louis' early days of comedy, it can still be my tendency to think of him as a new comedian even after all he's done -- moving first to L.A. and now New York, headlining all over the country, creating the raunchiest and most ridiculous viral videos you've ever seen ... But that all ends with the debut of his stand-up comedy CD on Comedy Central Records. I'll say that again: His debut stand-up comedy CD is on COMEDY CENTRAL RECORDS! That's a big fucking deal. As far as the dozens of S.F. comedians' comedy CDs out there, he is ONE of TWO on Comedy Central Records.*** And his half-hour Comedy Central special came out last week too. You can pick them both up at iTunes.


Louis' CD is called If These Balls Could Talk, but don't let the title confuse you into thinking this is a dirty comedy album; it's a highly educated dirty comedy album. It is dirty and filthy and erudite and sophomoric and sensitive and thoughtful and silly and pun-y and offensive, sometimes in all in the same joke. (Listen to track nine, "Pride," to get a sense of this.) In some ways, Louis' act is kind of one big sex joke, but a sex joke written by a guy who uses the full force of his Berkeley education behind his sex jokes.**** He treads a path perfected by Dave Attell -- the dirty joke that makes the people who normally hate dirty jokes laugh.

But also this album listens like a throwback to the party albums of Redd Foxx and Dolemite. The things that you laugh at you may not feel comfortable quoting later. With Louis, while the references are complex, the political correctness is near nonexistent.

This album is the sound of a comic coming into his own voice. It's definitely the same Louis that I knew, but the the mix of scatology and Jewish intellectualism is clearer. His voice is stronger. Even the jokes I remember from back in the day are stronger. He is a better deliverer of his own material now. I see what Comedy Central is thinking. Although Louis sometimes feels like he comes from the Dave Attell camp -- as many comics from his generation would like to think they do -- Louis is extending the lessons that Dave taught him. In Louis you also hear shades of young Woody Allen. But take note, if the names Dave Attell, Dolemite, and Redd Foxx sound too spicy for you***** then steer clear of Mr. Katz. If not, then give a listen to what his highly educated balls have to say.

*Yes, just like high school, stand-up comedians have classes. I'm currently a 12th-year senior.

** Later I went so far as to make my own fliers. Here's one now.

*** Three if you count Marc Maron. You always count Marc Maron.

****Yes, he's a Berkeley grad. Now you know you're intrigued.

*****I just got off the phone with Louis and apparently he has a joke about Auschwitz that didn't make the CD but is on his Comedy Central TV special. Another reason to buy both the CD and the TV special.

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W. Kamau Bell


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