Sometimes, you just have to wonder about Louis CK. Some of the same things that you may have wondered about the classic comedians of the past. The dangerous types who said things that got them banned, got them arrested, or made old ladies frightened of them. The ones who you were never quite sure wouldn’t auto-destruct on stage or end up doing time for some escapade that would only sound like a good idea to someone who did a fuck load of drugs.
“Did he just say that? About *fill in name of loved one, family member, or public figure here*? What the fuck?”
Louis CK has been around doing stand up for a long time, he’s on his second tv show, he’s clearly become comfortable with the internet, but now seems to be the time where he is ready to explode on the face of America like an ice cream eating, airplane phobic, drunk ass ginger in the back seat of an economy car on prom night.
This man has no fear. In the context of his work, stand-up, film making, writing, directing, hell, editing, he does whatever the fuck he wants and no one seems to want to even try to stop him. It’s not even a consideration. He just does it. If you haven’t seen his new show “Louie” yet, you are missing out on some of the best moments on television. Surreal, filthy minded, equally profane, and chock full of humiliation for our hero, Louie. Where some shows are about the glorification of so called underdogs (see The Big Suck Theory), the supporting cast and frequent guest stars seem to be part of an international conspiracy to make Louie feel like shit about himself 24/7. To remind him that he is a fat, middle aged guy who’s losing his hair, who could not be considered cool in any sense of the word, and who will probably die soon. In other words, the laughs are nearly always on him.
What’s beautiful about this monstrosity is that I suspect that Louis CK isn’t doing this for any of us. Big Red is doing it just because he feels like it. He writes and directs all the episodes, so far, and what you see on the screen is what crawls out of his brain. It’s his prancing Hungarian, Jewish, Mexican, White Boy Id running through Haagen Daaz with a black Amex singing joyfully about shitting in Hitler’s mouth and then apologizing to everyone afterward. Why? Because he can.
As an example, The Hitler Song:
“Louie” is on basic cable. Right now, there’s a new show (based on a fucking Twitter page) “Sh*t My Dad Says”; that can’t even call itself what it is. Granted, it’s a pretty flimsy premise, but still, roll that one around in the old cranium for a bit to get the full impact. That’s where we are in 2010. A word you probably say nearly everyday, that’s all over popular culture, that is the concept that THE FUCKING SHOW IS BASED ON, cannot be the title of the show. Despite the fact that the FCC rules on profanity and obscenity on television were struck down as being unconstitutional. This is the level of hypocrisy that our society (and as an extension, network tv) functions on. This is why there are no truly groundbreaking shows left on the majors. You could argue that there are no good shows period, but I’ll refrain from that overall judgment and merely say that the shows that have the zeitgeist are on basic cable and pay television. When people talk about tv, it’s about shows like Breaking Bad or Mad Men or Dexter or the soft core, slow moving train wreck known as True Blood. Hell, The Walking Dead, a new AMC series from Frank Darabont, has already been green lit for a second season without even one episode having been aired. The thematic thread that runs through all of these shows? A serious disregard for the normal and the placid; violence, profanity, nudity, and moral ambiguity/outright evil. The vitality of the cable networks is a fertile ground for weird and daring shows the likes of which the networks have never seen.
There are now 11 shows for you to watch (on Hulu or IMDB or FX) of the series. Shows that feature absurdity, hostility, mockery of religion and the family unit and uncomfortable discussions of adult male sexuality at the airport. The ratio of Naked Louis CK ass per show is comfortably low, but not non-existent. You will see things that you probably never really wanted to see or can hardly believe, but they will still make you laugh. There is a moment in the “God” episode that pretty much sums up my views on religion perfectly. The guest stars like Tom Noonan, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Root and the recurring characters like Pamela Adlon, Nick Di Paolo, and some guy that I’ve never heard of called Todd Barry, among others, all work wonderfully in the context of the show. Nothing is cast to satisfy a focus group, because there is no focus group; real comedians play comedians and good strong character actors are in their element. The theme song “Brother Louie” gives it a nostalgic feel and New York looks like New York because it’s filmed in that smelly, claustrophobic metropolis. If you need further incentive to watch, Louie is a Louis CK style comedian who spends a fair amount of time doing stand-up in a dive called The Comedy Cellar. Sometimes I get a sneaking suspicion that some of this doesn’t actually happen outside of Louis’ giant melon.
And yes, someone flipped the camera off during the opening credits sequence and some gigantic red head left that part in. You can see the blurry hand and his querulous reaction. Ah, New York.
I don’t want to be the kind of reviewer that confuses simply going over the plot points of each episode in writing for reviewing a show or a movie. I think that there are many confusing and wonderful things for you to puzzle out of each episode so rather than beating this particular horse into the mud, I will move along.
Watch it already. It’s also been picked up for a second season and should come back to FX in April 2011.
Louis CK has discovered Twitter. He likes to tweet (twit, tworp, twurdel, eat shit) about the normal things a comedian would like to share with his (growing) audience. He talks about upcoming shows, his new comedy special, and (after consuming large amounts of alcohol on turbulent flights) his lusty hatred for Sarah Palin.
This is the condensed version of the first and second rounds of his rampage:
And this is his most recent outrage, that he mostly regret deleted, but then put up on Funny or Die. Read from the bottom up for maximum hilarity:
There’s been some speculation that he’s not really drunk during these tweet sessions, personally I don’t think it matters one way or another. But his fear of turbulence and reaction to it has been documented.
When he was on that latest plane to the West Coast, Louis was on the way to do a show at the Hollywood Improv and an appearance on the Tonight Show. What was that you said? Jay Leno is a total dick? I don’t disagree, but that appearance on the Fake Tonight Show was gloriously memorable for a specific reason that was apparently not even clear to CK until he arrived and walked past the dressing room.
The other guest of the show that evening? Bristol Palin.
“It scrunched my face, while she was talking, and I was really, because I was looking at this monitor, and I’m like, do I go like this (he tilts his face to the left and mugs), do I edge out, which is awkward, because the audience was looking at me. And I didn’t want to do this (stands awkwardly), but I also didn’t want to go (mugs again). Yeah. OK. I wrote mean things about Sarah Palin on Twitter. And not because I’m political. But because it’s fun. I do think she’s Hitler. But that’s not why I do it. I do it because it’s fun. But I let myself have fun at her expense, because she’s Hitler. Her being Hitler allows me in my head to say mean things about her, but that’s not the reason. The reason is because it’s just fun. Because she’s just an amazing, beautiful perfect villain. She’s just crystalline. She says things that are at perfect right angles to truth and reason, and that blows me away. It’s poetry when that woman speaks. And I’m sexually attracted to her boobs. She’s sexually attractive, to me. But I do think she’s terribly dangerous, and I do think she could really Hitler up the place. And by the way, once, I wrote on Twitter that she’s the new Hitler, and I got this immediate — like, immediate — email on the same device, from somebody that I kinda, whatever, I don’t want to say who, who said, ‘You gotta take that down. You can’t compare a person in the public eye to someone who killed six million Jews.’ And I said, ‘Well, I’m not saying that she’s that Hitler. She’s the early Hitler, when he was building power. I don’t know how many Jews he was going to kill. But I know that she’s building power the same way. Hitler was voted into office through this weird, like he took a bunch of seats, and he got this party going, and he just started intimidating people, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Again. I don’t care. I’m not political, but why not? Fuck it. If Hitler was running, I’d say ‘Hey, fucking losers, suck my dick, Hitler!’ And I wouldn’t feel like, oh, that’s not that nice. Fuck ‘em. He’s Hitler.
“So I write things about her, people living in her cunt, or whatever it is, and then, yeah, so I go on the Tonight Show. I had no idea. Until I arrived, and I’m walking past the dressing room and it’s Bristol, her fucking daughter is on the show. And we sat there, and she talked to Jay, but she, to me, I just saw a young girl who’s very nervous — she was terribly nervous — be on the Tonight Show. And after her segment I told her, ‘You did a good job. That’s not easy.’ And she said, ‘Thank you.’ She’s very nice. So she invited me to stand there and dance. And I knew I was paying some kind of penance, for what I’d done, I’m standing there like this, me, Bristol Palin, fucking Jay Leno, and some dude from Dancing with the Stars, and I’m standing there kinda like this, and I’m like, this is totally karma. Pretty direct karma.”
This is the duality of Louis CK. Even though he claims not to be political, and I believe him when he says he’s not, his conscience will not allow him to be silent about a political figure that is a cynical (and obvious) manipulator of public opinion. One that kind of turns him on and repulses him at the same time. He’s a (seemingly) lunatic drunkard with an agenda to speak his mind in the way he sees fit, politically correct or not. He will throw feces at the castle walls because he knows that those lovingly cast mards cannot be ignored. It doesn’t make any difference if the subject of the rant acknowledges them or not. And, of course, it’s really funny and entertaining for his fans and you have to do something on that goddamn airplane.
The passion of Louis CK takes the form of a challenges to everyone; friends, family, fans, himself. That type of person who constantly tests the boundaries of his earthly prison with verbal punches to the gut. As strongly as he casts those shit bombs at everyone else, he stabs himself in the heart much deeper. For your amusement.
The funniest part of the whole twitter befouling of the nest is that even the most hardened #tcot (true conservatives of twitter – don’t fucking ask) troll wouldn’t dare step to the plate to harass CK. I think even they knew they would get the American Flag waving asses handed to them. But the right’s latest attempt at relevancy in entertainment “Big Hollywood” decided to put on their jousting gloves to challenge Louis for the honor of their Sarah. Oh and it’s so cute.
As usual, they missed the point. Louis Ck is not, in that routine, going after the baby. He’s going after Sarah Palin for using her own child as a prop to show what a great, caring, mother she is. He’s pointing out that one baby at that stage probably isn’t any different from any other no matter what disabilities they may or may not have. It’s the cynical use of a child’s disability to get votes and attention that’s the problem. So CK goes after her in the most outrageous way he can.
And he’s right.
So predictably, John Nolte, author of the article and editor in queef of Big Hollywood – a subsidiary of Andrew Breitbart’s website of right wing buttfuckery, rolls out the wicker man and hopes that none of his low brain wave fans will notice the difference, which they predictably do not.
Holy s**t, where the f*** are the feminists? I heard of Louis CK as if he were the greatest comedian since Carlin, but this guy is reprehinsable (sic) and I’ll say it EVIL. what the hell did Sarah Palin do to get this vitriol from this a-hole. wait I have it Sarah Palin must remind him of all the hot girls in high school that told his dorky ass to get lost. Since the feminists of NOW are cowards and abortion junkies I guess this is acceptable. I have no words to discribe (sic) the disgust I feel toward this second rate hack.
As a feminist, I can tell dear Sean1953 that we’re all at Planned Parenthood getting late term abortions because they feel really good. It is amazing how these lunkheads make the assumption, as many do, that just because I have the same genitalia as Sarah Palin, that I need to defend her prissy, stupid, entitled ass for any reason. Even better are the charges of CK being a misogynist or a sexist. This woman is a menace who, without a doubt, would reverse Roe V Wade given the opportunity. This is the woman who charged rape victims to run their own rape kits in Alaska, America’s Winter Rape Wonderland, to “save money”. This is the woman who sets the cause of feminism and women’s rights back about a decade, just by breathing (and shaking her tits).
If you haven’t had the opportunity, you should read some more about the psychotic cyclone that is Sarah Palin in Vanity Fair’s profile. She’s America’s Sweetheart! Sarah Palin – The Sound and the Fury
The quote that they take the title from is Shakespeare’s Macbeth:
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
“Once, while Sarah was preparing for a city-council meeting, she said, ‘I’m gonna put on one of my push-up bras so I can get what I want tonight.’ That’s how she rolls.”
CK says exactly what he thinks about everyone, no one, not even his beloved daughters are exempt. Who said that Sarah Palin’s America First Tits get a free pass? Besides, she’s the one who sexualized herself. It’s okay when everyone is telling you how hot you are, but it stops being okay when someone actually talks about your globes. If you make sure you thrust your chest in everyone’s face, don’t be surprised if someone comments on it. You don’t get to have it both ways, Sarah. I’m not offended, because I think it’s richly deserved in her case and I think it’s funny. I see no reason why I should defend Sarah Palin, because I don’t give a flying fuck.
But what CK is known for is being one of the best stand ups working today. He has four specials, Shameless, HBO One Night Stand, Chewed Up, and his newest, Hilarious, the first comedy concert film to debut at the Sundance film festival. You can hear all about it in this video, which looks like shit – but the sound is fine, of CK introducing the film and doing a Q & A afterwords at the Egyptian Theater at Sundance earlier this year.
The film, Hilarious, was shown on September 8 as a one (or two) night only event and will debut for the rest of us on Epix in however many days that countdown clock has. I didn’t go, because I went to the Improv show the previous Friday. It was money well spent.
Update: They are adding new dates for next week because “We sold the shit out”
New York: IFC Center Tuesday, Sept 14th. 7:30 and 9:45
Arlington VA: The Drafthouse. Friday, Sept. 17. 7:20pm
Seattle WA: Central Cinemas. Friday, Sept. 17. 9:30pm
There will also be screenings added in San Fran and LA, Boston, Chicago and Philly, no dates or links yet.
And you will be able to download “Hilarious”, if you don’t have the Epix Channel, from the website when they make it available.
CK tours constantly and from what I’ve read works on his material for a while, then throws it out and starts all over again. Reviewing stand up performances is like reviewing a cup of coffee. You were there, you drank it, it was good (or it sucked), and it’s over. The reader doesn’t get that cup of coffee, so it’s a no go for you and a real drag. I would encourage you to see CK live (or the concert film), if you can. He’s continuing on the Word Tour and hitting up larger venues this time, but I’d say that’s still okay. I think the best way to see a comedian is in the small venue, the Improv, the Comedy Cellar, which does exist, and the like. There’s not that physical distance that larger venues have that make it easier to be an objective observer, it’s much more immediate (and potentially more embarrassing). It’s like watching a band play a small venue.
I will say that watching Louis CK at the Hollywood Improv was probably one of my favorite concert experiences. I did laugh so hard that I did cry during the performance. He hits pretty hard and just when you are getting used to one tack he will switch to another. The test offered up to the audience is to keep up with him and not choke. All the best comedians tell you the truth (or lies that somehow manage to illuminate their world just as brilliantly). Louis CK stands before us as the one of the best comedians of our time and a filmmaker to be reckoned with. He will actually respond to you on twitter. He’s kind of a regular guy, with something to say, and the ability to spit it out. When people lament the passing of the greats of the past, Carlin, Pryor, Hicks, and act like there’s no one comparable out there today, they need to pull their heads out of their asses and realize that Big Red is standing right here. He’s one of the greats. He’ll be one that future generations will say, “Damn, you got to see Louis CK? I fucking hate you.”
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