After finishing Seinfeld a couple of months ago (read my review HERE), we watched another of Matt’s favourite comedy shows, Louie. In this show too, a popular stand-up comedian – Louis C.K. – plays a fictionalised version of himself. And the similarities with Seinfeld pretty much end here.
Louie appears to be a regular guy. He’s in his 40s and a recently divorced guy, juggling between the part-time care of his two young daughters and his night job as a stand-up comedian at a couple of clubs in New York. A good man, yet he has this aura of a… loser. His dating life has its ups and downs, his sexual life even more, and although he’s appreciated as a comedian, he seems to be stuck in a rut with no major prospects in the future.
Louie’s (or Louis C.K.’s) comedy style is dark. Very dark. He’s also self-deprecating. His stand-up is not after easy laughs. His way of speaking is as unassuming as his attire, but he often talks about delicate subjects like sex and religion in a provoking manner. The end result of his jokes is not just a happy burst of laughter but also bitterness and perhaps even discomfort.
It took me a while to get used to his comedy. It also took me some time to get used to the show’s format. An episode is usually divided into two unrelated segments or even into a longer series of unlinked storylines. Most often, the stand-up acts aren’t related to the episode’s subjects either. However, after a few episodes, I started to understand the atypical style and to actually love it just because of its weirdness.
Because it’s still to be considered a weird show. So weird that it verges on absurdity. Some scenes or even whole episodes are downright crazy. The shock value is never missing either. For example, one of the most WTF moments that stuck with me was when Louie is on his way for a date and he bumps into a deranged homeless man, who runs past him and gets hit by a truck, losing his head (literally!) in the process. Ugh! But the scariest part of the whole show, in my opinion, was the 5th episode from Season 5, aptly named “Untitled”. The whole episode is so illogical. We see a stressed Louie having strange, horrifying nightmares involving a naked man with a creepy facial expression. I really couldn’t stand this imagery, even less understand it!
Going back to Seinfeld, the reference is not totally off. It’s interesting to note that Louis C.K. was a big fan of Jerry Seinfeld in his earlier days and he had even opened some of his gigs. Jerry appears as a guest star in a couple of episodes, as also do many other notable actors, comedic or not. It is worth mentioning the appearances of Chris Rock and Ricky Gervais, for example. I’m not mentioning these two only because they both appear in more than one episode but also because together with Louis and Jerry, they’re some of the best comedians on tv. They have also appeared all together on an HBO show called Talking Funny, which I really recommend you to watch.
Louie is also mentioned by Doug Walker (the famous Nostalgia Critic) as one of his favourite shows. He says that, contrary to Seinfeld, this really is “the show about nothing” (you can watch the video clip HERE). Matt also agrees with this idea. I am not too sure. Something is definitely happening in Louie’s life, perhaps more than it should. But the show is so unusual in its presentation that it makes it hard to consider all the situations as part of a reality.
Check This Out: Louie isn’t a sitcom about nothing – it’s a comedy about everything (The Guardian)
Unfortunately, it was announced that Louie will go on a hiatus for a while. So we’re not going to have Season 6 anytime soon. When I read this news, it made me think of the Season 5 finale, in which Louie had an altercation with another comedian about their approach to comedy. There, Louie seemed to be in a professional crisis.
Well, I’m sure that’s not the case with the real Louis C.K. and I hope that we’ll see him on screen again very soon, either with Louie or with something new.