After a year and a half’s break, Louie, one of TV’s best show, is back. Its creator, comedian Louis CK, continues to work on his own catharsis and takes his audience in a never-seen-before tragicomedy.
This guy could be anybody, strolling in the streets of New-York without any goal. Trying his best to raise his two daughters after divorcing their mom. Hoping to get laid with that young women in the subway he made eye contact with. Or at least to find the courage to go talk to her instead of staring at her like one of those millions of creeps wandering in New-York undergrounds.
Except that this man is not anyone. Few weeks ago, Louis CK was on the cover of the last issue of GQ magazine, who enthroned him « the undisputed king of comedy. »
Writing, directing, acting, editing… Louis CK (Szekely is his real name)
controls each step of his show. Invited few days ago on the Late Show with David Letterman
, he confessed that if he could take one of this jobs away, it would be acting. « It’s harder to direct when you are the dude, I have to look at my stupide face for hours and hours »
, he said, in a smile. But even if he’s a Stakhanovite worker in each step of the editing, Louis CK totally refuses to adopt the mainstream sitcoms constructions codes. His episodes often last 22 minutes, but sometimes more, sometimes less. Although it’s a comedy, Louis CK refuses to put recorded laughters, or even to crack a joke every 45 seconds like in many sitcoms. Freed from classic network pressure to get good rates, Louis CK has been able to develop his creative genius.
« Embrace discomfort »
And Louie became Louis’ avatar, a projection of his own fears and oddities. Each episode contains two narratives intermingling. One telling the daily life of Louie, meeting the strangest people of New-York, dealing with his decaying forties, and of course, trying to find love. In the first episode, after a catastrophic rendez-vous with a girl, Louie tries to reach the first base. The young woman won’t even hesitate : after declining the kiss, she will escape thanks to an helicopter coming out of nowhere, leaving the poor single dad with a dingle bras d’honneur. Louis CK, through Louie, goes takes you where you don’t want to go. He explores that little hidden shameful part of each one of us. As he said, « you’ve got to embrace discomfort. It’s the only way you can put yourself in situations where you can learn, and the only way you can keep your senses fresh once you’re there. »
The wall of shameless
When they feel bad or depressed, most people go to shrinks. Louie prefers to go on stage to tell jokes. Instead of simply eating ice-cream and masturbating to get rid of his sadness, Louie uses this melancholy to create what he was born to do : comedy. In a parallel narrative of the show, we watch him on the stage of the Comedy Cellar, a comedy club in Manhattan where he transcends his discomfort trough humor. Struggling with this oppressive bricks wall behind him, he will destroy frontiers of comfort to drive himself (and his audience) in a corner.
Dating a woman outside scares him, but when Louie/Louis is on stage, his gloomy redheaded face fades away and hands over to a sarcastic smile. In his opinion, after being married, dating someone again can never be the same. « I know too much, and even if the date was nice, I know it’s going to lead to shit » he regrets, before adding that « everything that makes you happy is going to end. It’s like if you buy a puppy and you bring it home to your family and say : « Hey look everyone we all gonna cry soon, look what I brought home. I brought us crying in a few years. »» Louie/Louis has no limit. When you think he said the worst thing he could about anything, he has some more.
A joke he used to do was : « Do you ever want to fart… and then shit on your father’s face? And then people in the bus are, like, Jesus man, why did you do that ? » A big turning point in his comedian life was one of these dark jokes. When he was married, he explained that he couldn’t have sex with his wife because his « daughter is an asshole, » and he now « understands why some parents throw their kids in the garbage. » Obviously, when he did that bit, the audience didn’t know how to react. Many laughed, others « wow » him about how twisted was that joke. Later, in a tribute to the comedian George Carlin, Louis CK explained that he’d « rather have that than the shit tepid laughters from (his) 15 years old jokes. » Since, he keeps trying to go further, always experimenting something darker, more personal, and of course, more uncomfortable.
The guy who was walking alone in New York streets found the bright light of success (and more) with the darkest jokes. Tonight Louie is back on TV for fourteen episodes. And whatever he tries, failing or not, people will love to watch at his « stupid face. »
(Here is the video of his tribute to George Carlin, where he also talks about his own work on comedy)