The Profane Wisdom of Louis C.K.

January 8th, 2012, byJeremy Freed

I last blogged about comedian Louis C.K. when some things he said on NPR about middle-aged coupling got Fresh Air run out of Mississippi. Since then, C.K. has been busy, producing his groundbreaking show, Louie, for FX and making headlines by selling his comedy special video directly to fans.

I’ve also been making my way through the recently concluded season 2 of Louie and can say with full conviction that he is one of the smartest, funniest guys on TV right now. The show itself is vaguely reminiscent of Seinfeld in its structure and follows a middle-aged, divorced comedian named “Louie C.K.” through the trials and tribulations of dating, fatherhood and show business. The main difference between Louie and Seinfeld, however, is that no topic is off limits in C.K.’s comedy, and he peppers his monologues liberally with the kind of profanity normally reserved for gangster movies.

While it’s easy to go wrong with this sort of material, Louis C.K. not only gets away with it, but is building a reputation as a sort of court jester of 21st-century life, speaking truth to the powers of our world, be they technology or politics. His observational comedy is dead-on, but most strikingly, it’s completely bereft of ego. Perhaps this is why he’s able to riff on controversial topics as easily as more mundane, everyday things. Sort of like a Jon Stewart of stand-up.

For a classic example of Louis C.K.’s style, check out his famous “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy” monologue below.

 

Last modified: January 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm