Louis CK's "Back to the Garden" vs. Chris Rock's "Selective Outrage"

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Two Stand-Up Comedy Specials Go Head-to-Head

Date Posted:March 11, 2023

Author:Rosalind Giggleston

Two of the most famous comedians of our time, Louis CK and Chris Rock, recently released stand-up comedy specials, only 33 days apart. We're here to discuss the comparisons between Louis CK's comedy special "Back to the Garden" and Chris Rock's comedy special "Selective Outrage".

Juggernauts of Live Stand-Up Comedy

Louis CK is known for his dark humor and self-deprecating style. Born on September 12, 1967, in Washington, D.C., he started his career in stand-up comedy in the late 1980s. Louis CK has won several Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards and has performed stand-up comedy around the world. In "Back to the Garden," he returned to Madison Square Garden after years away. The show was streamed live on January 31st from Louis CK's website and cost $25 to watch. The show has been described by those in attendance as being “really fucking cool.”

Chris Rock has made a name for himself with his sharp observations on race and society. Born on February 7, 1965, in South Carolina, he started his career in comedy in the late 1980s. Chris Rock has won several Emmy Awards and Grammy Awards for his work in comedy. In "Selective Outrage," he finally addressed the Will Smith Oscar slap controversy publicly for the first time. The show was streamed live on March 4th directly on Netflix and was the first live stream in Netflix history. There was a pre and post-game show.

Who Had the Best Live Comedy Special?

After the two shows were performed, a poll was conducted by Joke WRLD, an online community of like-minded comedy fans. The poll received a ton of votes and many comedy fans wanted to share their insights on their experiences watching both of these streams. The majority of the voters chose Louis CK’s “Back to the Garden” over Chris Rock's “Selective Outrage” by a 62-38 margin. This result shows how great of a comedian Louis CK is.

Many fans and even some fellow stand-up comedians expressed their thoughts on both shows. One fan with the username "i'm not ben avery" said “CK, hands down. Flawless. Great openers. Rock’s openers just stroked ego and hyped the moment more than delivered real laughter. Messing up the closing joke was the only memorable moment and really took the steam out of the moment. I laughed three times at most. Couldn't have been more excited. I let several friends know it was happening that night. With all the hype I've been hearing, it was a major letdown. If released as a regular special it would have been fine, but nothing groundbreaking."

One fan said “Louis CK’s special was amazing. Top to bottom, a solid special that ramped up. Chris Rock's special was important. His slapback was epic and the best part of the show. I loved both for different reasons. I'm excited to watch the new live trend. Hopefully, it continues in the way comedy is experienced evolves."

Louis CK Takes the Win

The comparison between these two shows is interesting. While Louis CK's show was streamed from his own website and he had to personally pay for everything. Meanwhile, Chris Rock had the whole advertising team of Netflix behind him. Even though Louis CK did not have the same amount of resources, he was able to pull off an amazing show that comedy fans loved. This shows how great of a comedian he is and how he is able to connect with his fans even with limited resources.

Ultimately, Louis CK's “Back to the Garden” and Chris Rock's “Selective Outrage” were two amazing live comedy shows that were enjoyed by comedy fans around the world.

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