Examining The Cultural Impact Of One Of Louis C.K.’s Best Routines

04.09.15 4 years ago 16 Comments

Louis C.K. had been a well-renowned stand-up comedian long before 2007, when he released his immortal HBO special Shameless. In fact, in 2004, he ranked No. 98 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All-Time. But while he had a following beforehand, Shameless was the special that made him a comedic force. Its raw, self-deprecating tone made it a huge hit and won him thousands of new fans. The most memorable bit from that special involved an unfortunate traffic encounter. Louis cuts a man off, and in a fit of anger, that man tells him to “suck a bag of dicks!” Thus, an immortal phrase is born. Who has never wanted to yell that at their boss? And who hasn’t yelled it at the television after the ref made a bad call against their team? It’s such a satisfying thing to say. And people still say it often.

While the phrase itself is great, don’t sleep on the stand-up routine as a whole. In a rather ingenious move, Louis starts this bit by giving us the punchline, then works backward and explains how we got there. Being that genius that he is, Louis considers the logistics of this. (“Do I have to make them all cum?”). It’s a testament to his creativity that he turns a vulgar traffic insult into a surprisingly thoughtful six-minute bit. If you doubt the influence of this routine, consider that you can actually buy a bag of dicks and send it to your enemies, thanks to a brilliant site called “Dicks By Mail.” If your stand-up routine is so influential that it inspires a means of harassing people by sending them candy-flavored bags of penises, you know you’ve made it.

Even though this bit is from 2007, the “Dicks By Mail” phenomenon did not appear until 2014. The site was not merely a quick reaction to a new catchphrase that might fade out overtime. No, “suck a bag of dicks” had time to properly enter the lexicon and become a common thing to say to your enemies, or even to your friends. Now, when you get back at those kids who picked on you in high school by anonymously sending them a bag of gummy penises, just remember, none of this would be possible without Louis C.K.

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