As a fan of stand-up comedy, one of my favorite aspects of Louie is the rotating cast of great comedians he has on the show. It’s one of the benefits of creating your own show and calling all the shots — you get to hire your friends.
While we love to highlight the genius that is Louis C.K.’s stand-up around these parts, his comedy peers are also deserving of some recognition. Let’s share the Louie spotlight with some clips of the comics who have appeared on the show over the course of its three seasons. Consider it an excuse to watch a some Maria Bamford.
1. Jay Oakerson — Season one, “Pilot” and season three, “Barney/Never”
We first see Jay Oakerson as “bathroom guy” in Louie’s pilot episode, but he re-emerges again in season three’s “Barney/Never” as the strip club DJ who plays Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” as a tribute for the deceased club regular, Barney. Oakerson’s voice has always reminded me of Dave Attell, and his crowd work is even sharper than his material.
2. Nick DiPaolo — Season one, “Poker Night” and assorted episodes in seasons one, two, and three.
If you ever watched the defunct Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, then you’re already familiar with Nick DiPaolo. He’s been a go-to talent for Comedy Central for years, appearing on everything from their animated series Shorties Watchin’ Shorties to being a regular roaster at their celebrity roasts.
3. Todd Barry — Season one, “Dr. Ben/Nick” and assorted episodes in seasons one, two, and three.
I’ve been a fan of Todd Barry since the early 2000s, and he’s actually etched out a pretty good career as a character actor appearing in The Wrestler, Bob’s Burgers and Louie CK’s first sitcom, Lucky Louie. His dry delivery isn’t for everybody, and according to at least one Late Night With Conan O’Brien viewer, he can be “icky.”
4. Jim Norton — Season one, “Poker/Divorce” and assorted episodes in seasons one, two, and three.
There’s a fair amount of crossover between Louie and the regular panel of comedians from Tough Crowd, with Jim Norton having appeared fairly often on both shows. Norton doesn’t do a lot of late night TV spots, but the man has long been a king on morning radio with his regular spot on Opie & Anthony.
5. Ted Alexandro — Season one, “Night Out”
I can’t remember much about Ted Alexandro’s appearance as “flyer comic” from season one’s “Night Out,” but I’ve always enjoyed his late night TV stand-up spots. He’s been on just about every late night show that features stand-up comedians, probably because he’s always got a fresh perspective on universal experiences.
6. Greg Rogell — Season two, “Eddie”
The standout comic of season two’s “Eddie” was of course, Doug Stanhope, but the episode features cameos from a lot of other great comics playing themselves, as well. Greg Rogell has been a regular on the New York club circuit for decades and can take credit for one of the best George W. Bush jokes ever written.
7. Joe DeRosa — Season two, “Halloween/Eddie”
If you’ve got any interest in the working life of a stand-up comic and you haven’t already seen the web series Modern Comedian — watch it. DeRosa’s episode about how he approaches his material and how he handles shows that don’t go the way he wanted is particularly great.
8. Todd Glass — Season two, “Duckling”
Todd Glass makes his first Louie appearance in season one’s “Travel Day/South” and returns for “Duckling” as the USO emcee. Glass has been around since the 90s, with probably his most mainstream visibility as being a contestant on season three of Last Comic Standing. His material is generally pretty silly and upbeat, but the video below of him giving a well-deserved tongue lashing to a heckler is a thing of beauty.
9. JB Smoove — Season three, “Barney/Never”
I’m actually a little surprised we haven’t seen more of JB Smoove on Louie, considering he was in Pootie Tang and was a regular sketch player during C.K.’s stint on Late Night.
10. Maria Bamford — Season three, “Ikea/Piano Lesson” and “Daddy’s Girlfriend Part: 1”
We can’t have a lists of the Louie stand-ups and not include Maria Bamford. Between touring, shooting Arrested Development, Adventure Time, and a number of other projects, it’s amazing that Bamford even had time to fit a Louie cameo into her schedule. It’s not every day that Louie C.K. calls you to sleep with him though, you don’t pass opportunities like that up.