louis c.k.

‘Louie’ Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: “Untitled”

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In light of the high quality Louie has maintained in pretty much every area over the course of its four and half seasons thus far, it’s easy to forget that it started out as a very different kind of show. C.K. has talked pretty openly about the heavy influence Woody Allen’s had on his work, and in its broad strokes, the progression of the show lines up fairly closely with that of the Allen filmography; he started out doing something that was almost purely for laughs, an extension of his stand-up act that was filled with blackout sketches and visual/verbal cartoons. But even in that first season, there were hints that he had more on his mind, and when he wrote his character an Annie Hall-style nervous romance (“Daddy’s Girlfriend,” aka the Parker Posey episodes), the emotional stakes were raised; the comedy became more grounded, more about the real world, and more concerned with genuine emotion. All of which is a long way of getting around to noting that last night’s episode, “Untitled,” was in many ways the closest thing he’s done to that inaugural season in quite some time: a bizarre exercise in pure absurdity.
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‘Louie’ Season 5 Episode 4 Recap: “Bobby’s House”

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Last summer, midway through Louie’s fourth season, Matt Zoller Seitz posited the theory over at Vulture that creator/writer/director/star Louis C.K. “is aware of how Twitter and Facebook and recap culture have changed the way we watch TV, particularly by putting social pressure on viewers to have a loud and definite opinion on an episode right now,” and was thus using his show to troll the Internet. Co-star Pamela Adlon all but confirmed it in a subsequent interview; Vanity Fair’s Joanna Robinson convincingly posited, at the season’s end, that it was about “the cycle of Internet outrage,” and “our tendency as pop-culture consumers toward volatile, knee-jerk reactions.” All of which is a long way of getting around to saying that there are episodes where it feels like Louie’s just plain fucking with us, and last night’s “Bobby’s House” is one of them.
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‘Louie’ Season 5 Episode 3 Recap: “Cop Story”

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I know it’s logistically impossible for the opening scene of last night’s Louie, “Cop Story,” to have been a response to Noah Baumbach’s recent While We’re Young, which is all about people approaching middle age and regarding those younger than them with a reverence that gives way to cynicism, skepticism, and ultimately contempt. “Cop Story” tackles the subject in a more interesting way (and with a helluva lot more brevity) by taking the opposite approach: Louie begins his little lecture to the clerk-who-turns-out-to-be-the-owner with contempt, and discovers that it’s an encounter he can’t win. She has comebacks for all of his presumed wisdom, and each one seems to inch him a little closer to an uncomfortable truth about himself. One of the things I like so much about Louie is how it captures the way things stack up, for good or ill; if the season premiere found Louie on the winning end of confrontations with assholes, here we see him getting called on his bullshit.
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‘Louie’ Season 5 Episode 2 Recap: “A la Carte”

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For a show about a stand-up comic, and with frequent inserts of its protagonist doing that job, Louie doesn’t often delve deep into stand-up comedy itself; as on Seinfeld, comedy is our title character’s job, and the particulars of that job are of only a passing interest, as in any workplace sitcom. But occasionally, Louie goes into the weeds: on the first-season “Heckler” episode (see title), in last year’s “Model” (where our hero badly bungles opening for, wouldn’t ya know it, Jerry Seinfeld at a charity function), and on last night’s “A la Carte,” an episode easily read as Louie’s take on the current vogue of “confessional comedy.”
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‘Louie’ Season 5 Premiere Recap: “Potluck”

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In the first non-stand-up scene of the fifth season of Louie, our hero Louis C.K. is opening up to his therapist. “I’m not that good anymore about navigating between the good and the bad times,” he tells him. “I just don’t know how to live a life anymore.” And as he goes on, explaining what is clearly an oncoming depression, he realizes that the therapist is nodding off. It’s a moment of realization for him: “I’m a boring asshole now!” he exclaims, and leaves. It’s a funny little scene — the kind of neurotic psychiatry-based humor that Woody Allen birthed a career from — but it’s also, in pretty clear terms, an acknowledgment of the criticisms of the show’s previous season.
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How 10 of the Best Stand-Up Comedians Handle Hecklers

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If we learned anything about stand-up comedy last fall, it’s that when a Hannibal Buress video goes viral, you should probably watch it. This time, his YouTube hit isn’t going to end an icon’s career; it’s just an enormously entertaining three-minute destruction of a boorish heckler. Said hecklers have been the bane of many a comedian’s existence — drunken assholes, bachelorette party morons, and would-be comics have been mistaking stand-up for interactivity since the form began. So on this April Fools’ Day, we thought we’d take a look at how Buress and a few other comic greats handled these particular fools.
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