Seinfeld revolved around a stand-up comedian constantly sabotaged by the catastrophic social faux pas of himself and the people inextricably involved in his life, intercut with performance sets by the actual comic. So is Louie. But where Seinfeld was purportedly "a show about nothing," Louie is a show in which from moment to moment, you can safely expect nothing. Not only does Louis C.K. straddle the gaps in social protocol and everyday confrontations we all understand, but also the extremes of comedy and tragedy. It's a gallows comedy, in which we can find ourselves laughing in elation at the both wry and surreal absurdity of one moment, then clenching our chair arms in both tension and incredulity at moments of agonizing pain and even at times a true sense of impending brutality.
There is no continuity from one episode to the next, or even from one vignette to the next. Each episode is comprised of usually two scenarios book-ended by stand-up sets by Louie, which...
Louie C.K. is a genius, there are no two ways about it. Years ago I watched what I think was his original HBO series (where he lived in an apartment with one young daughter), but this new series if far superior. (I don't get HBO on cable any more, so I'm watching these in Amazon Prime, which I love.) In this series Louie is divorced, shares custody of two daughters with his wife and much of the show takes place on stage during stand up.
But much of each episode is also a very sophisticated and interesting adult sitcom. It's obvious that his humor is completely autobiographical (whose isn't?), but he manages also to tie in universal themes: unrequited love, family stress, crappy career choices, etc. There are a few episodes in later seasons that are a bit on the gross side (and I've been a radio comedian for 25 years, I have a high tolerance for grossness--really high) and a few episodes actually hit me the wrong way with grossness, but this first season is quite gentle...
Louie is great. He's carrying the torch, he is always funny and he's real. He's got the mind of a writer, so his bits have always got a back story to them. I guess that's the reason his show is so good. He's talking about his life and the world he lives in. The same world most of us live in. He's the best comic on the scene, that's a fact.
One thing, Lou--when you're doing your bit in the Cellar, do you always use the same 3 guys at the table sitting stage right? It's distracting. It's sloppy. If they aren't the same 3 guys, then they're awful close to the same. Put a woman or 2 there, or do something to really switch it up. Nitpicking? Maybe, but it's distracting.
You're the best in the business, Louie CK. But you've earned it. I remember 25 years ago, you doing a bit on Conan with Robert Smeagel (?), about how to communicate with your dog. Haha. You had all your hair still. Thanks, right?
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