On Saturday, with audiences largely quarantined in their homes because of the coronavirus, and comics putting on a six-hour benefit online, Laugh Aid, to help struggling performers, Louis C.K. completed the last stage of his comeback with the surprise release of a new special, “Sincerely.”
It was his first special since he confessed in 2017 to sexual misconduct, which he referred to in the show as a “global amounts of trouble.”
In a nod to the timing of the special, he wrote an email to his fans, saying there are two kinds of people: Those who deal with difficult, tragic times by laughing at it and those who choose to approach such times with sober gravity. He said that the new special was for those who need to laugh, but added in a postscript: “It’s not free or anything.” (It cost $7.99 and was available on louisck.com.)
The comedian, who wore his usual black shirt and jeans onstage, directed the show himself at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C., before the pandemic. It began, like the 2019 comeback special from Aziz Ansari, with a scene of the comic filmed from the back as he walked onstage, and ended with onscreen notes thanking the French comic Blanche Gardin, his girlfriend, and a dedication to his mother, Mary Louise Szekely, who died last year.
In between, the set was a shorter but very similar version of the performance he gave in Richmond, Va., in November, which I reviewed for the Times. It touched on pedophilia, the Holocaust, being closer to death and his sexual scandals.
As for Laugh Aid, which ran on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, technical glitches plagued the benefit, which starred Whitney Cummings, Craig Robinson and other comics.