Considering the roll he's been on, no one could have blamed Louis C.K. if he had taken the stage at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Thursday night in a tuxedo, with a crown on his head.
Instead, the planet's hottest standup emerged in his usual uniform -- a collared T-shirt and gray slacks -- with his schlub's-eye view of the world still operating at 20/20 vision.
Not once during his 84-minute act did C.K. mention that he recently won Emmys for both his FX comedy special and his wildly inventive sitcom, "Louie." His only reference to his giant leap forward over the past year was a bit about how he's recently moved into a luxurious complex in New York City -- but that was only so he could do a bit on how he dreamt one of his rich neighbors would try to get him kicked out for sleeping shirtless in the courtyard.
Comics who shoot to the top tier are always in danger of losing touch with middle-class reality. Not C.K. -- at least not yet. He still comes across as the nice guy with dark fantasies of throwing decency out the window, justifying cruel intentions with bizarre and often poignant logic.
In this otherworld, maybe it's a waste of time for the Make-a-Wish Foundation to invite a dying kid to go to a Yankees game with Lady Gaga, since that child will be dead in a week and the memory will be lost. Why not give it to some messed-up youngster with dead parents and no legs but who is strong as an ox and will live to be 90?
In this otherworld, if murder were legal, parents would kill their kids at such a rate that there would be dispensers every three feet with red bags labeled "Murdered Child."
In this otherworld, the people who eat foie gras (rich goose liver) should also consider dining on Mickey Mantle's liver, one that's bound to be tasty after all those years of marinating in steak juice and wine.
Offensive? Maybe in the hands of an angry amateur. But C.K. is so good-natured and natural on stage that he can address almost any topic. A routine about following a man dressed in complete Reese's attire on a past trip to Minneapolis included the N word, and no one openly seemed to mind.
C.K. did a nice job of playing to the roughly 3,000 fans, including those in the circular balconies that he referred to as the "Jedi Councils," but longtime fans may be disappointed he didn't appear in a more intimate setting, which remains the best place to see him. But those days are probably over due to the recent success, and not even C.K. can ignore that.
Some advice for those going to either of Friday's shows: Although Thursday's performance was officially sold out, they did open up some single tickets at the door that were available right up to about 10 minutes before the curtain rose.
If you want to take a chance on that or have tickets at will call, go early. C.K.'s mission to sell tickets on his own and keep the prices down is a noble one, but it's also a slow one. The system in place was understaffed and left this audience member waiting over 15 minutes to get through the line.
Opener Todd Glass, who sometimes lets his anger get in the way of his sharp material, did a fine job of keeping fans entertained while those stuck at either the doors or the beer stands took their seats.