Louis C.K.'s new comedy has us singing 'Louie,' louie

LOUIEImage Credit: Eric Leibowitz/FXI saw Louis C.K. live last summer, and he was third or fourth on a really raunchy bill. The openers were just okay, and everyone in the packed house was drunk, sweaty, and restless, having veered from it’s-dirty-and-I’m-laughing to it’s-dirty-and-I’m-uncomfortable. And then Louis C.K. took the stage and in an instant the entire audience was enraptured. The boozy mumbling hushed, the sagging energy rebounded, and we were all transfixed. If the early episodes of Louie don’t quite reach those levels of total enchantment, it’s only because C.K. is just building a rhythm…I think.

Last night’s episodes of Louie, the stand-up comedian’s latest foray into episodic television, were almost relentlessly bleak and could have driven me into a total tailspin — if they weren’t so nakedly hilarious, this would be up there with Breaking Bad on the gutpunch-o-meter. But it was hilarious, and like C.K.’s stand-up act itself, it veered from stunningly candid and honest to goofily surreal what-if kind of material.

The next few episodes are paced a little better, but the balance between C.K.’s in-show stand-up sets and the narrative parts will always be tough to strike: It’s hard not to want to just watch the stand-up, and yet the miserable and weird stories are compelling in their own twisted way.

Louie‘s not quite perfect. The premiere had a few sour notes (er, the helicopter getaway?) and the pervasive misery of the show’s central character can be overwhelming. But originality in premise, voice, execution, style — that goes a long, long way.

Did you watch Louie last night, PopWatchers?

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  • Josie

    Crap, I forgot it was on. I hated his last show, but I have high hopes for this one.

    I loved the trailer, “you’ve given up, which means you’re grounded” laughed so hard

    By the way, check your post, you doubled up the last three paragraphs.

  • Madge

    I loved his last show and I love his stand up. I watched it last night. The first show was a little bland for my taste and I had heard the funniest parts when he was on some talk show BUT I think he’s great and I’ll stick with him.

  • Madd

    I forgot this was on as well, I kind of wanted to watch it. I didn’t watch his last show, but I loved him on Parks and Rec and thought his stand up was great.

  • Kat

    Not that I don’t wish him success or anything…but I always kind of hoped he might return and get back together with Leslie Knope for a little while again. They were cute together. :)

    • Madd

      He and Leslie were adorable, but I’m currently rooting for Leslie and Ben (Adam Scott’s character).

  • The Real Dustin

    I realllllly liked seeing Depalo, Bobby Kelly and Jim “Chip/Uncle Paul/Ted” Norton making cameos. As a hardcore Opie and Anthony/Tough Crowd fan, i was stoked.

  • RV

    I loved the show, it was twisted and wharped and uncomfortable to watch sometimes, just like his stand-up. He reminds me of an X-Rated Larry David. I hope it get’s some traction and doesn’t get cancelled, although I think FX may be a bit more forgiving than HBO and keep it on longer to give it a chance.

  • Jim

    55% was inspired. Brilliant, as my wife and I expected. The other 45% was just plain BAD. I’m referring to “some” of the stand up and most of the card table conversation. Among the least entertaining and peculiar TV minutes ever. If Louie insists on taking us “there” he latest effort will fail too. I remain hopeful because the man is talented, very talented.

    • ro

      I thought the card table thing was weird and out of place. I am a staunch supporter of gays and it didn’t make me uncomfortable so much as it droned on too long and didn’t seem to fit anywhere. It was strange.

    • Keith

      I actually disagree abut the card table scene. I actually thought is was somehow moving and interesting in it’s originality. Sometimes comedy can be enhanced by a moment of seriousness.

  • Mike O

    I thought the poker conversation was the best part of the double-episode premeire. The show has a lot of promise, but parts were just slow and depressing. But just when things were dragging,there was a big laugh. Pick up the pace and it will be a fun evening.

    • brent

      I agree with your poker game assessment. We – the audience – actually learned something – – along with the other heterosexual poker players. I was refreshing to have such dialogue about the subject of using the word “faggot” and it’s historical significance. Makes you put things into perspective.

  • Kevin

    Genius!!

  • Frank

    Well done Louie! Loved the Double-Episode Premiere. The Pilot was a little bland and depressing but that’s part of what makes Louis C.K. so funny. BTW, The 2nd episode had me laughing so Hard I almost cried.

  • Chauncey Gardner

    Even though it was a bit disjunctive, if not totally out of place, I liked most of the poker sequence. It drug on a bit longer than it probably should have, but was, for me, ultimately worth it to showcase the depth of Louie’s character and his surprising ability as a face actor (great small turns and reactions). And the turns from bleak to breathlessly hilarious were done so wonderfully. Most of the questionable moments came from chances that were taken a bit farther than they should have rather than bad ideas which went uncut.

  • kdavis

    Loved it. It was hilarious and uncomfortable and thoroughly entertaining. “Whip it out! Whip it out!”

  • Dolf

    Brilliant. Hilarious. Unique. Morbid. Thought provoking. Dark. Dismal. Miserable. I loved it! Seinfeld deconstructed and darkened.

  • Kyle

    I didn’t mind the helicopter scene. I group it right in with the limo scene too. I took it almost as him saying like “Hey look! I have a budget now!” It also leaves these episodes a little more open ended like anything can really happen as long as its funny. Episodes mixed with stand-up, scripted scenes, weird nonsense moments (helicopter), and random scenes like the poker table make me wonder whats in store for the rest of the season.

    I’ll keep watching, it was awkward and hilarious.

  • Apple

    I personally like Louie’s style of a long set-up for a punchline. It’s refreshing when everything else is about fast pacing and go-go-go, trying too hard for quantity of laughs rather than quality. I hope Louie stays on. We desperately need more smart comedy like his on TV.

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