Louis C.K.'s ‘Magic' Week Includes ‘SNL' Host Stint

The comic's latest stand-up special, which explores his fascination with "Magic Mike," debuts Tuesday on Netflix as he gets ready to host "Saturday Night Live.".

Louis C.K., during his most recent stand-up tour, described mindlessly flipping through TV channels at night – and always stopping when he happens upon "Magic Mike."

It's a telling image – and not just because of his fascination with the movie, a fixation he expounds upon in intimate detail. Louis C.K., the restless media platform hopper, it turns out, is a relentless channel surfer.

Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising.

In recent years, the eclectic comic's standup specials have bounced between HBO and his own website, where he hawked them for $5. His Emmy-award winning FX show, "Louie," features constant shifts in tone and no fixed schedule. Last year brought the surprise arrival of "Horace and Pete," an at times powerful, disturbing and poignant barroom drama that C.K. sold an episode at a time via his website before the show landed on Hulu.

C.K.'s latest media adventure begins Tuesday when his new standup special, “2017,” hits Netflix – just days before he hosts this weekend's "Saturday Night Live" on NBC.

The soon-to-be four-time host seems at home on "SNL," where a monologue touching on race and pedophilia sparked controversy during his last appearance a couple years ago. Netflix, which recently aired specials from Amy Schumer and Dave Chappelle, with more to come from Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld, also is shaping up as a comfort zone for C.K., whose comedy thrives upon discomfort.

For C.K. fans, the comedian's most shining work is his darkest. His latest angst-and-misery-fueled act – his best since 2011's "Live at the Beacon" – includes riffs on abortion and suicide as he winds his way to alone time with "Magic Mike."

Even what starts out as a potential light moment – something his daughter misheard on the radio – is rooted in tragedy (no spoiler alerts, but the story proved a huge laugh-getter). 

C.K. is not out to get people laughing as much as take them on a journey through the deeper recesses of a mind whose most private thoughts apparently don't go unspoken. He's earned a following by wielding a revealing magic all his own over an audience that will find him, no matter where he turns up next.

Jere Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

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