Seriouspost Alert: this concerns an episode of Louie that aired two nights ago, but really needs to be addressed.
The first two episodes of Louis CK’s new show were every bit as great as they should have been (in case you missed it, Matt posted video of last week’s incredible poker scene). The show could be nothing but this — stories and thoughts from a pessimistic yet giggly deconstructionist — forever, and it would leave nothing to be desired. The third episode, though, signaled to us that this is not simply a “comedy show.”
The show’s first act, a damned funny bit featuring Ricky Gervais, was followed up by a nine-minute arc in which Louis gets in a fight with fellow comedian Nick DiPaolo. At first, it seems bizarre. This… this isn’t funny. I think this is a serious scene. What’s going on? Wait, is this supposed to be funny? Am I missing it?
Eventually, we see the two sitting in a hospital waiting room. A few legitimately funny jokes are sprinkled into an honest, unassuming conversation about family relationships and getting old. It isn’t a happy conversation. Being funny was not Louis’ objective here; he was simply taking the next logical step: taking the worldview and observations that inform his comedy, and using them for a different purpose. He isn’t afraid to take this detour, apparently, and if this is indicative of his approach to the show, Louie has the potential to be the best show on television.