LOUIS C.K. is the Best Comic Alive.

Many of his contemporaries say the same. C.K.'s been around, putting in the work and pushing the boundaries of what comedians can say. He's prolific and personal, and, most importantly, he's so funny he'll make you shit your pants.

Since his underrated series Lucky Louie was cancelled by HBO after one season, C.K. has been producing and touring prodigiously. After a year working a stand-up set—taking time to nail every last tic—C.K. dumped everything. Back to the grind, the small stages, and the pad, working up a brand-new hour from scratch.

But the material that launched Lucky Louie—a deeply personal exploration of his tumultuous marriage; twisted musings on fatherhood—is what put C.K. on top of the comedic heap. It was as brutally honest as mainstream stand-up has been in years, maybe since Richard Pryor. As the Onion recently wrote, when C.K. says what we feel but are afraid to say, audiences find a part of themselves on stage.

Since divorced, C.K.'s routine has shifted accordingly. His new life as a single father fed his act and new show, FX's Louie. A verité collection of shorts, linked by C.K.'s live stand-up, Louie is modern, meta television. Episodes don't trace traditional arcs and, as in life, conflicts are often left unresolved.

Unlike C.K.'s devastatingly funny live routine, Louie is at times simply devastating. The show's unflinching treatment of the downright horrors of life underscore one of comedy's core commitments to art: holding a mirror to all truths, not just easy targets.