I was somewhat of a late-comer to FX’s Louie. I knew who he was from years of watching late night television, but I hadn’t heard anything about his new show. He had been a writer for the David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Chris Rock shows and he also hosted a show on PBS called ShortCuts that featured independent filmmakers. His writing on the Chris Rock show also led to the masterpiece that is Pootie Tang, a movie that he wrote and directed. More recently, he had a nice little run as Leslie’s boyfriend on Parks and Recreation (another great show).
The TV show Louie stars Louis as a fictionalized version of himself. Not only does he star in the show, but he also writes, directs, and edits most of the episodes. How many famous comedians can you think of that actually edit their own shows? I’m guessing he’s in a lane all his own right now. Editing the shows himself, he’s able to control the pacing and really make the show his own.
The format of the show is pretty non-conventional for a 30 minute sit-com. The only real comparison I could make would be Curb Your Enthusiasm, but even that’s not the best comparison (I highly recommend Curb Your Enthusiasm by the way). Sometimes episodes will be non-stop funny and then there will be a random serious segment with a moral to it. Sometimes there are episodes that are much more serious than funny. It all works amazingly well though. Eventually, like with Larry in Curb Your Enthusiasm, you just begin to love Louie and you’re ready for whatever adventure he takes you on.
One of my favorite scenes features Louie singing and air drumming along to the Who’s “Who Are You” while his young daughters look on in boredom and disgust. The best part is that the scene is over 3 minutes long, just about two minutes and thirty odd seconds longer than any other tv show would have dared show. Sometimes the episodes are 40 minutes long. Sometimes a full hour. It’s clear that Louis’ input plays a big part in the final product and it’s great that FX has given him so much control.
A Unique Individual
Louis CK is not your average celebrity. Despite some of the depraved things he says in his comedy routines, he’s taken somewhat of a moral high ground in a rather corrupt industry. If you take a look at the News section of his website, you can see some of the great things he’s been doing lately. He recently offered some of his stand-up specials as DRM free files for the small fee of $5. Acknowledging the likelihood that the convenient format could be easily pirated, he simply says “if this sounds like something you want to pay $5.00 for, you're in luck.” In just 12 days, he made over a million dollars, which he split four ways ($250,000 to recoup production costs, $250,000 for his staff as bonuses, $280,000 to charities, and $220,000 for himself). Pretty impressive.
He’s now going on tour and, in an effort to fight the ridiculous service charges imposed by vendors, he’s decided to sell all of the tickets exclusively through his own website. All tickets are $45, regardless of date, time, location, or seat. It’s also a flat fee of $45--that’s what you actually pay. While that price might seem steep to some, he says it’s about half the price of what tickets cost for his last tour, where a majority of the cost went directly to ticket vendors. If anyone tries to sell a ticket for more than face value, the ticket may be cancelled and (this is my favorite part) the money will be refunded. Shame on you for trying to make money off of these tickets, we’re taking them away from you, but here’s your money back. Amazing.
You might think, “how obnoxious, this guy named his own comedy CD ‘Hilarious.’” It sure seems obnoxious. The title actually refers to one of the bits in the routine that revolves around two guys’ misuse of the word “hilarious.” I find the whole thing to be hilarious.
Season 3 Has Begun!
Season 3 of Louie just began, and the Season 2 DVD is now available. Louis’ sense of humor is not for everyone, but I find him to be quite amusing and I’m obviously not the only one.
Tommy M will be doing some serious laughing on November 15th when Louis performs at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco.