Louie CK is one of the best working comedians of the last decade and for three seasons now he has written, produced, directed and starred in the most cutting edge comedy on television.
FX’s Louie is different from every other comedy on TV because it’s not a sitcom. It’s more of a series of tangental short films interspersed with stand-up comedy. It’s sensitive, filthy, introspective and hilarious all at the same time.
Louie* also shows what is possible when talented people with creative control are given the chance at making something with a truly singular creative voice. The arraignment that Louie and FX have is unheard of in television. FX gives Louie 200 thousand an episode and Louie delivers it. There is no network notes, there is no producers who look at the bottom line, Louie gets to make what he wants to make. It begs the question that after two very successful season why no other network has put this model into play?
Louie also makes a stand on pushing the limits of what is comedy. The show can range from broad meditations about masterbation, child rearing, and dating. At the same time, it can also look at much deeper and darker subjects like, faith, loneliness, and war. There are episodes that deal with standup comedy and the strange lifestyle that comes along with it. It can give the viewer a sense of anxiety, watching Louie’s interactions with others like a slow motion car crash, or it can surprise the viewer when something completely insane happens. At times it feels autobiographical but it also has moments of surreal farce that make you question the reality or lack there of any one thread of any story.
In the newest season Louie has hit a new stride. More continuity, but just as many uncomfortable laughs and though provoking storytelling. In the episode Miami Louie explores the idea that homophobia is so engrained in straight men that we are the only people who feel the need to clarify our sexuality on a minute to minute basis. In the 2nd episode the subject of sexual reciprocity is uncomfortably and hilariously broached by Louie and Melissa Leo**.
I am excited to see what happens next and if you’ve not seen Louie you don’t need to start from the beginning. Jump in, and enjoy.
*It’s hard for me to call him CK so I will call him Louie and seem like I am much too familiar with him.
**Leo goes for it in this role. If she doesn’t get an emmy nom for this I don’t know what qualifies for a great comedic performance.