I have a hard time explaining Louie to people. The show is heartbreakingly hilarious, tragic, human and downright ridiculous. I can’t adequately give it its due credit. I simply tell people to watch it. I’d rather them hate the show than butcher its selling points.
Louie is a series centered on comedian Louis C.K. Much of the show draws from C.K.’s actual life. He is divorced, living in New York, raising his two daughters trying to find love and keep up his career performing in clubs like the Comedy Cellar.
Perhaps the most iconic moment of the show is when Dane Cook and his character have a sit down over the controversy of the 2006 alleged joke stealing. The premise being that C.K. is trying to get tickets to Lady Gaga for his daughter and Cook is the only one with the connections. What follows is a palpably tense exchange in which C.K. admits he thinks Cook stole jokes unconsciously and Cook calls C.K. a fraud.
What the show specializes in is not big conversations between comedians like Cook or Joan Rivers. It delves into the dark murkiness of C.K.’s. It should be no secret that Louis is a dark comedian. But what the comedy of the show attempts to bring to the viewer is the difficulty, awkwardness and reality of confronting that darkness.
In season 1 there’s an episode that’s a series of flashbacks to Louie when he was a child at Catholic School. It brings up a possible source of so much of the guilt that seems to fuel the show and of C.K.’s stand-up work.
My favorite episode is probably season two, episode eight, titled, “Come On, God.” Louie appears on a Fox News Show to defend his hobby of masturbation against a woman who is part of a group against it. The entire episode tails away from his love of it and looks at the compulsive side of it; combining weird fantasies and a strange anecdotal story of Louie’s first sexual experience which this viewer suspects is fully autobiographical. It brings out the truth that the things we love and are proud to love can sometimes end up holding dominion over us.
Perhaps the best surprise of the show is the work of the two daughters, Lily (Hadley Delaney) and Jane (Ursula Parker). The show gets a lot of autobiographical nods particularly when it comes to C.K.’s domestic issues. Whether it’s forcing a stranger to apologize to his daughter or whether he’s trying to convince them that life is going to be unfair and there’s nothing you can do about it, the pair of girls do a spectacular job at voicing the exact childishness and sincerity that you expect from them.
When I say Louie is an honest show I mean it, not because it’s based in autobiographical facts but because, like it’s creator, touches on that common nerve of awkwardness, embarrassment and dark human deviancy.
The first two seasons are available on Netflix and Blu-Ray.
About the Author: Nate Rankin writes Comedy Reviews and Fiction because no one taught him any better. His fiction has been featured by Workers Writes, theNewerYork! and Used Gravitrons and is forthcoming in The Green Blotter. His work can be seen here: http://iamseamus.tumblr.com/writing You can find him on the Tweety Box @CommanderSeamus If you'd like to submit a review inquiry please send to nrankin22[at]gmail[dot]com