Spotlight: Louie

This past year he was nominated for four Emmy awards- two for his own television series and two for his stand-up comedy special. That same comedy special also won him a Grammy. When he put his latest comedy special at the Beacon Theatre in New York City online for five bucks a pop, he revealed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon that it had made him one million dollars in just ten days. And his daytime job? He writes, directs, produces, edits, and stars in his own TV show, which just kicked off its third season in June. So who is this overachieving funny guy?

The man is Louis C.K. and the show is Louie, which airs on the network FX in the U.S. on Thursday nights. Based around his life, Louie centers around Louis C.K.’s troubles with his career, his divorce, his daughters, and simply life in general. On the outside this looks like your basic show. Yet once you watch it you get sucked into it and its raw, awkward, almost too bad to be funny jokes and situations. But then again, that’s what Louis C.K. has always been dishing out.

Louis C.K. started to turn heads when he began to make a name for himself as a comedian. Many of his jokes are what people frequently refer to as “too far.” Louis writes and jokes about true things that he sees in his life, such as but not limited to: sex, masturbation, and bodily functions. You know, the important things in life.

Once the show Louie came out in 2010, it encompassed many of the topics he frequently discussed in his stand-up (quite literally actually; the show often has bits of him doing his stand-up routines). His fans everywhere fell in love with a show that felt as real to them as… well, real life. Here was a middle aged, balding, pudgy, divorced dad trying to hold his life together in New York. He did not immediately meet someone new, he couldn’t weasel his way out of things like field trip chaperoning and PTA meetings, and even when he did meet someone he was mildly interested in, she turned him down (and then turned him down… and then turned him down). To be fair, it does have its moments where over-the-top comedy reigns supreme, but even those moments do nothing but place a bigger bad luck target on Louis’s forehead.

With this in mind, the biggest complaint I have personally encountered when discussing Louie is that it’s too awkward and too painfully uncomfortable at times. A good example is the last episode of season two when Louis, after performing a particularly good set of jokes that night, tries to pick up a woman. Then follows a forty second montage of Louis doing nothing but walking up to groups of women, already having a conversation, and standing (literally… standing) near them until he gives up and moves along to another group. Sure, when I watch it I shift in my seat and feel uncomfortable for him, but that’s what makes it so hysterical. I’m laughing the entire time, and you can bet I’m laughing at his expense.

If you’ve never heard of Louis C.K., be prepared to. This year he was listed in the TIME 100 for being one of the most influential people in the world. He was one of GQ’s “Men of the Year” for 2011, and just this past June he was on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. In short, he’s showing up everywhere, not just on TV. Personally, however, I do like him best there. Without my weekly dose of cringe-worthy moments and periodical face-palming, I feel like I would forget just how funny simple things can be. To those who complain to me that Louie is too awkward, I tell them that you have to find the humor in a normal, imperfect life, otherwise it is just a normal, imperfect life. That is what Louis C.K. has made a career out of, and that is what he does best.

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