If you couldn’t already tell from the numerous posts devoted to Louis C.K. this week, “Louie” returns tonight to begin the third season of what may be the best all-around comedy on television right now. It’s at the very least, the most abstractly original, insightful, and interesting comedy on television right.
Louis C.K. appeals to a lot of people in different ways, but the biggest comedic draw for me are his parenting philosophies. A lot of stand-up comedians center their acts on exes, sex, masturbation, politics, gender, race, and sexuality, and there’s plenty of that in Louis’ stand-up, but what sets him apart from almost all the others are his thoughts on parenting. They are funny, they are wise, and they are spot-on. Once you have kids, there’s little more satisfying than having your biggest complaints about parenting reflected back in a darkly hilarious manner. Somehow, it makes parenting feel more cool than it actually is.
In fact, If you ask Louis C.K. what makes him a successful stand-up comedian now, he’ll tell you that it was becoming a parent. Actually, Rolling Stone did ask him that question, and he responded:
It was because before I was a kid, I think, and I’d simply escaped – those were just childhood annoyances that I escaped from, I think, through a certain kind of comedy. But having kids, you don’t escape from it, you seize onto it, it’s a big, stressful, exhilarating, real life thing. And it’s permanent, it’s something that you have to evolve for. Some people don’t, but I think you have to actually change your values system, and you have to revolutionize yourself in order to do it properly, because kids can’t raise kids, and I think you’re somewhat a kid until you have them, then you really have to grow up. Again, some people don’t, there’s a lot of bad parents. That’s what you call on.
Since parenting plays such an important role in his comedy, I spent a couple of hours going through Louis C.K.’s interviews and through his stand-up acts, and below I’ve collected his best quotes on parenting. Think of it as a handbook on how to be a good — or at least successful — parent without losing your sense of humor or perspective.