Louis CK’s show at The Orange Peel in Asheville was just the sugar N.C. needs now


By Brandy Bourne

As North Carolinians, we’ve been taking our lashings, feeling the sting of both a hateful law and of the boycotts against it. So it was a total joy when Louis CK took his stand in front of the mic at The Orange Peel on Thursday night, promoting tolerance through comedy and sending the shows’ profits to the coffers of the resistance.

He prefaced the show by saying that he was trying out new material – which doesn’t always bode well for a good night – but in this case, witnessing the incipient work was a privilege, a chance to witness a master at his craft.

The opportunity to see something that raw, rather than perfectly practiced, orchestrated and tested was a real treat. His rough transitions and rapid fire delivery (he threw everything he had at the audience) highlighted his originality and mastery, and the audience laughed without pause.

Sure, the crowd was inclined favorably from the start: rock star comedian shows up and treats our shunned residents to super-secret benefit shows. But he worked for the laughs and they were real.

Bono has been in the news recently for calling for comedians like Amy Shumer to fight ISIS, and I think he’s onto something. Comedy has always been used as a medium for social justice messages and as a way of having uncomfortable conversations. It’s the spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.

C.K. only briefly mentioned the reason for his trip to NC, but his performance was full of complex musings about sexuality and gender from a humane perspective. Just the sugar that NC needs. The show wasn’t message-y, but if it had an underlying message, it was: lighten the hell up about sex and gender.

Amid heated discussions of how best to stand against HB2 (to boycott or not to boycott), Louis C.K. stepped up to the mic. Be like Louis: if you have a platform, use it. Thanks, C.K., for the opportunity to laugh through the tears.

And thank you, Orange Peel, for supporting true love.