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Tribute to George Carlin
September 6, 2011 11:02 AM   Subscribe

Louis CK talks about what George Carlin meant to him during a New York Public Library tribute to Carlin hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, that also featured, among others, Ben Stiller, Kevin Smith and Carlin's children Kelly and Patrick.
posted by Kattullus (136 comments total) 81 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beautiful tribute.
posted by gallois at 11:28 AM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Taped in March of 2010 right before Louis became a big hit.

I like Louis a lot more than Carlin, but this will definitely make me take another look.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:35 AM on September 6, 2011


right before Louis became a big hit.


Louis the TV show on FX I mean.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:35 AM on September 6, 2011


That was fantastic, thank you.

And how old was that stand-up comedy list to have Louis CK at #98? He's top 20 material for sure.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:37 AM on September 6, 2011


Bookhouse, When Comedy Central made that list, I think they had been rehashing Louis CK's "15 years of awful material" for at least 10 of those years. I thought his old material was pretty funny, but the "new" Louis is definitely a lot more raw and emotional, which definitely takes him up a few dozen pegs.
posted by mrzer0 at 11:41 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Louis the TV show on FX I mean.

It's called Louie, which is hilarious in itself
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:41 AM on September 6, 2011


And how old was that stand-up comedy list to have Louis CK at #98? He's top 20 material for sure.

God I was thinking top 5 (and for me personally #1). Could you even name 50 pretty good stand up comedians?
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:42 AM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Carlin's albums Class Clown, FM & AM, and Occupation: Foole were major developmental influences during my early teen years (decades later I can still quote vast swathes of them). Unlike Louis CK, Carlin didn't impel me into standup comedy as a career. But Carlin's humor did help me learn to see the world with fresh eyes, to pay attention to everyday things, to notice the absurdity of everything from the ways we use language to religion to politics to...well, Life; and how to use a sense of humor to cope with all of it. Thank you, George.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Louis CK is a worthy heir.
posted by whuppy at 11:45 AM on September 6, 2011 [14 favorites]


It's called Louie, which is hilarious in itself

I never notice that. Or, I guess I knew the show was called Louie, but it never occurred to me that that wasn't his name.

Dear AskMe: What else haven't I noticed?
posted by bondcliff at 11:45 AM on September 6, 2011


That you're not on AskMe?

*ducks*
posted by zombieflanders at 11:48 AM on September 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


God I was thinking top 5 (and for me personally #1).

Well, I'd say Louis is in the top ten personally, but I didn't want to sit down and make the list to be sure, and I knew top 20 would be safe. I wouldn't put him above Carlin, Pryor or Cosby, not yet. Steve Marin is pretty tough to beat too. A lot of people (including a lot of comedians) would name Kinison. I'd have to think about how he compares to Bill Hicks. I think as Hicks' material ages he comes off worse, so sure, yeah, Louis CK over Hicks. While I will laugh much harder at Louis CK than I will at a Lenny Bruce album, you have to rank Bruce high just for the massive influence he had on the greatest comedians of the following generations.

Don't get me wrong, I adore Louis CK. I go back and forth between Doug Stanhope and Louis for best comedian working today, followed by Patton Oswalt, Bill Burr and Chris Rock.

Could you even name 50 pretty good stand up comedians?

Over the history of comedy? Sure.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:55 AM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yes, if only because I've seen every episode of Dr Katz, Professional Therapist at least 50 times.
posted by Lorin at 11:58 AM on September 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


Over the history of comedy? Sure.

I can name 50 that are working today.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:59 AM on September 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


> I guess I knew the show was called Louie, but it never occurred to me that that wasn't his name.

...and it's not supposed to be him, exactly, but a fictionalized version.

I took this to mean the stuff about divorce and dating as a 40-something was made up, because it does make for some great comic fodder & I hadn't heard he got divorced, but welp, that turns out to be true. I blame seeing Pamela Adlon's browneye in Lucky Louie.
posted by morganw at 12:00 PM on September 6, 2011


Speaking of Stanhope, holy cow that was a brutal performance in Louie the other week.
posted by whuppy at 12:01 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


(And I meant "brutal" as a compliment.)
posted by whuppy at 12:02 PM on September 6, 2011


I will say this: he's so right about clowns. God knows I'm not a violent man, but I do think it ought to be legal to beat the living snot out of clowns. And when I say legal, I mean compulsory.
posted by Decani at 12:08 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


That Carlin tribute is the nicest thing I've ever heard Louis CK say. He nailed it.
posted by busillis at 12:08 PM on September 6, 2011


...and it's not supposed to be him, exactly, but a fictionalized version.

For some reason a date abandoning him via a waiting helicopter was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
posted by bondcliff at 12:10 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think as Hicks' material ages he comes off worse, so sure, yeah, Louis CK over Hicks.

I'm glad you said so. I watched one of Bill Hicks' specials for the first time the other day, and I thought it was trite, arrogant, and derivative. I kept thinking, "This guy had better dig a bit deeper if he's trying to be Lenny Bruce or George Carlin. This is closer to the Red Neck Comedy Tour." I'm sure I was being overly critical, but my expectations were way up there.
posted by jwhite1979 at 12:18 PM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Could you even name 50 pretty good stand up comedians?

It's a little easier if you don't think standup started in the 1960s --- Henny Youngman? Bob Hope? Jonathan Winters? Don Rickles? Will Rogers (if you stretch the definition a bit)?
posted by empath at 12:31 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amazing. Every time I think I couldn't hold Louis CK in higher regard, he goes and does something like this.
posted by Jofus at 12:34 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I always figured that the show was named Louie because otherwise viewers would read Louis and call the show "Loo-iss". Similar to how he used the stage name C. K. because his actual last name, Szekely, sorta sounds like "C. K." and nobody would ever get it right otherwise.
posted by dammitjim at 12:36 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just want to add here that the directions CK is going in with his show "Louie" are really interesting, even when they don't completely succeed. We chez everichon are impressed over and over.
posted by everichon at 12:37 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not a fan of George Carlin, but I'm a huge fan of Louis CK. What a great homage, thanks for posting. Maybe I should listen to some of George Carlin's older specials.
posted by falameufilho at 12:45 PM on September 6, 2011


I'm sorry, Louis CK has his charms, but his material and performances don't come close to the sophistication and intelligence of Carlin. George was an unparalleled analyst, critic and celebrant of language, culture and more. This tribute by Louis CK is sweet but unenlightening about what made George great and, sadly, a reflection of the differences between the two men's talents.
posted by twsf at 12:46 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I watched one of Bill Hicks' specials for the first time the other day, and I thought it was trite, arrogant, and derivative.

I can't speak to the first two for you, but it has been almost twenty years since he did was really out and about. Long enough for those who saw and loved his act as young people, to make it seem like it is derivative when, in fact, they're deriving much of it from him.
posted by inturnaround at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2011 [13 favorites]


Not a fan of Andrew WK, but I'm a huge fan of Carlin. What a great homage, thanks for posting. Maybe I should listen to some of Andrew WK's older songs.
posted by hal9k at 12:51 PM on September 6, 2011 [33 favorites]


Um...
posted by Sys Rq at 12:57 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You will, in the future, utter the phrase, "Well, I remember a time when we had BREAKING BAD and LOUIE on every week..." So remind yourself -- you're alive during a time when BREAKING BAD and LOUIE are on every week.
-Patton Oswalt
posted by naju at 12:57 PM on September 6, 2011 [20 favorites]


Long enough for those who saw and loved his act as young people, to make it seem like it is derivative when, in fact, they're deriving much of it from him.

Certainly, but by "derivative" I was referring back to Carlin and Bruce.
posted by jwhite1979 at 1:01 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just want to add here that the directions CK is going in with his show "Louie" are really interesting, even when they don't completely succeed.

He's got guts, that's for sure. He's living like a man who has nothing to lose, which is fascinating to watch.
posted by empath at 1:04 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I felt like i was late to the Louis CK party, especially after the HBO 'talking funny' special (link is to previous thread on the blue).
But luckily between netflix and hulu i have gotten caught up. I'm in my forties, divorced, raising a great kid, and so very very much of his material, and the material of the Louie episodes rings so true to me that i have really become a fan. He creates some terribly awkward situations for his 'character', but unlike a lot of recent comedy (like the office or extras), it's the courage and humanity that the Louie digs deep to find and express that make the show more than just awkward funny. it's powerful. the episode where he follows the bully home could have gone so many ways (and i won't spoil it), but the way it did go really speaks to the man behind the comedy.
I first saw Carlin in '79. I've always found him to be quotable, but his material never really made me laugh. Louis make me LAUGH.
thanks for the post.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:09 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Coming to defense of the clowns: Bill Irwin remains amazing for his work in Regard Of Flight. Carry on.
posted by davejay at 1:12 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Louis CK is a worthy heir.

Yea, this.

Comparisons between the entire body of work of Carlin and Louis' last few years are somewhat disingenuous and short sighted - I happen to believe that in 40 years Louis will be seen as the rightful heir to Carlin and there just isn't any way that Louis won't get "deeper and deeper" like he said of his hero.

I am, in fact, happy to be alive to see the emergence of L.C.K. as the legend he sure will be.
posted by victors at 1:14 PM on September 6, 2011


I'm glad you said so. I watched one of Bill Hicks' specials for the first time the other day, and I thought it was trite, arrogant, and derivative. I kept thinking, "This guy had better dig a bit deeper if he's trying to be Lenny Bruce or George Carlin. This is closer to the Red Neck Comedy Tour." I'm sure I was being overly critical, but my expectations were way up there.

Context is pretty important when you consider Hicks. He was working the clubs at pretty much the peak of what I think of as corporate stand-up, the heyday of the chain comedy clubs, at a time - the late 1980s - that was one of the safest, blandest, dumbest moments in the history of mainstream American pop culture.

Hicks would've been sharing bills with piles of second-rate Seinfeld wannabes making jokes about airplane food and the ad wizards who came up with that one, all of 'em elbowing each other out of the spotlight to try and get a sitcom development deal. In that context, Hicks was a Molotov cocktail. He said exactly what was on his mind, and he sought out sacred cows to kick over.

In the age of expletive-filled cable channels and YouTube, that might seem old hat, but when Hicks was doing it, it entailed the same risk that Louis CK so respected in Carlin.

And Louis CK, IMHO, is very much the same calibre of talent as Carlin, and anyone questioning his sophistication and intelligence isn't appraising him honestly. This is an excellent start, especially if you're a parent. He wanders off fearlessly into a minefield of sanctimony and sentimentality and finds not only laughs but a couple of universal truths about parenthood that few of us are willing to say aloud.
posted by gompa at 1:23 PM on September 6, 2011 [23 favorites]


And how old was that stand-up comedy list to have Louis CK at #98? He's top 20 material for sure.

I'm pretty sure that was a joke.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:28 PM on September 6, 2011


The thing about Carlin that really made him special, and rises him to the number one spot in my mind, is his mastery of just about every form of stand-up. Watch his specials and you'll see social commentary, topical humor, observational humor, wordplay and puns, one-liners, storytelling, characters, philosophy, dirty jokes, fart jokes, absurdist one-liners, stuff that depends on being written exquisitely and off-the-cuff remarks. I don't think I ever saw him do prop comedy, but I bet he did it at least once (maybe with the Hippy Dippy weatherman?)
posted by Bookhouse at 1:32 PM on September 6, 2011 [16 favorites]


I should add that the late '80s was so bland that when I first saw Denis Leary as a teenager, he came across as dangerously edgy. It was only several years later I learned that he was basically a cartoon version of Hicks with all the real subversion and iconoclasm rounded off.
posted by gompa at 1:33 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, it wasn't a joke, the list was just made years ago, when C.K. was juuuuuuussst getting into the deeper material he talks about here, and was known only to the stand-ups themselves. Also, the list was an all-time thing. So Louis, at that point, was more of the producers throwing in the unknown guy they had high hopes for at the bottom of the list to retain some credibility.

Nowadays I'd like to assume he'd be in the top twenty at least. He and Oswalt really are the greatest comedians working today. The ones who are going to have lasting legacies and who will have earned them. I think comparisons to Carlin are tough, though. Carlin is a legend, so it's always going to be tricky, but C.K. also brings the laughs more, I have to say. Carlin's work was more clever (and insanely prolific) whereas C.K. sort of rips the laughs out of you. It's just a very different style and people are likely to prefer one to the other.

In related news, it continues to suck that Mitch died.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:35 PM on September 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


I think what puts people like Pryor, Carlin, and Cosby in a different league than Louis CK is the care they took to enunciate each syllable for maximum effect. CK is way more conversational, and that's fine, but he doesn't have the rhythmic genius of the best of the old crew.
posted by jwhite1979 at 1:36 PM on September 6, 2011


falameufilho: Maybe I should listen to some of George Carlin's older specials.

As the years went by Carlin's HBO specials got more "out there" - as Louis CK said, he kept digging deeper. When I first watched some of the later ones I heard more anger and ranting than laughter...but going back later (did I mature? couldn't say) and listening again, I was more aware of the underlying humor and the connections between his earlier and his later work. Sure he was angry at many things about Life and society and humans that was legitimately frustrating and anger-inducing, but ultimately underneath it all I feel like he was laughing the whole time and I just missed it at first. YMMV.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:36 PM on September 6, 2011


Louis might be able to mine the depths of the human condition but I've yet to hear him bring back the polished, crystalline gemstones of lyricism that Carlin delivered effortlessly even in his earliest works. Carlin's art was always, always poetry. He didn't want to make you laugh or tell you stories, he wanted to make you think. His language didn't just sparkle and sing, it took flight and danced around the mind like maple seeds in a strong breeze. And where they land, ideas grew.

I'm so glad we have so much of his work to look back on that those seeds can fly again for a new generation.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:38 PM on September 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


He and Oswalt really are the greatest comedians working today.

Don't forget Maria Bamford. When she's on, she's as good as anyone.

"Sing your anxieties. Sing them aloud . . ."
posted by gompa at 1:41 PM on September 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


I forgot Maria Bamford and David Cross (who I know a lot of people hate, but whatever.)
posted by Navelgazer at 1:43 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't forget Maria Bamford. When she's on, she's as good as anyone.

Didn't you hear? Years ago Hitch proved that women aren't funny.
posted by jwhite1979 at 1:48 PM on September 6, 2011


Maria Bamford is my favorite American stand-up working today. Of Brits who aren't already global treasures (i.e. Izzard and Connolly) Daniel Kitson is probably my favourite.
posted by Kattullus at 1:49 PM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


No, it wasn't a joke, the list was just made years ago, when C.K. was juuuuuuussst getting into the deeper material he talks about here, and was known only to the stand-ups themselves.

So, it was just the use of the outdated list to poke a little fun, then. Cool. I like him for the same reason I like most good comedians -- their ability to call bullshit.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:50 PM on September 6, 2011


For what it's worth, the list, which appears to be from 2005, is monumentally wrong. I like Louis, but I don't think he's top 20 material – you have to ignore a lot of great comedians to say that – still, on that list he got beat by Sinbad. Seriously. Sinbad.
posted by koeselitz at 1:52 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


FWIW, when the hosts got to Sinbad's name on the list when this thing aired they all audibly groaned before trying to save some face and give the man any respect at all.
posted by Navelgazer at 1:54 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


still, on that list he got beat by Sinbad. Seriously. Sinbad.

To be fair, there will never be another who so thoroughly examines the foibles of having a big booty.
posted by gompa at 1:57 PM on September 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I remember watching that countdown and waiting for Emo Phillips to show up. I love him, but could he really be this high on the list? No. He's not there at all. What?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:58 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Louis CK is a worthy heir.

There is a... thoughtfulness to both of their brands of comedy, particularly with regard to the use of language and words, that makes me prone to agree with you. I've said this before about both comedians, but their jokes become a sort of inner narrative for life; whenever some sort of messed up, weird thing happens, I can hear Louis or Carlin's voice in my head, explaining how this is actually funny and important thing to be experiencing.

I go back and forth between Doug Stanhope and Louis for best comedian working today

Stanhope's pretty great, but for a while he was married to one of my best friends from college, and I feel like I'm biased by having seen him under some very good circumstances.

posted by quin at 2:18 PM on September 6, 2011


I can't see Whoopi Goldberg's name without wanting there to be an exclamation mark:

Whoopi! Goldberg.

Surely her life would be more enthusiastic if she wrote it like that?
posted by Brockles at 2:20 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think as Hicks' material ages he comes off worse, so sure, yeah, Louis CK over Hicks.

I used to sort of feel this way, but then I saw American: The Bill Hick Story, which was interesting in and of itself, but I had no idea of the distinct stages he went through and hot it affected his comedy. Determined straightedge kid > psychonaut > raging alcoholic > rock bottom alcoholic > sober career comedian. Rock bottom alcoholic Hicks just didn't really get to the jokes, and sober career comedian Hicks was the self-righteous derivative one.

Either way, like Eddie Izzard and Carlin himself lots of times, I don't always think of him as a comedian so much as a spoken word artist who tends to be funny.

Anyway, he might have been Jesus but we missed it.
posted by cmoj at 2:21 PM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Surely her life would be more enthusiastic if she wrote it like that?

Is Whoopi Goldberg's life not enthusiastic enough already?
posted by JauntyFedora at 2:24 PM on September 6, 2011


My sense of humor was forged as I listened to my parents' LPs of Carlin, Cosby, Pryor, and the Smothers Brothers (do NOT say a bad word about the fuckin' Smothers Brothers in my presence). I find that, when I get on a roll about a topic, my speech will fall into the exact rhythms and cadences of whichever of these men would have done the best job of attacking the subject both thoughtfully and hilariously. I don't mean to say I'm anywhere like as thoughtful or hilarious as any of them (I'm so, so not), but rather that each of their ways of viewing the world and of telling us about it are not just unique, but powerfully recognizable.

I'm new to Louis C.K. and I'm really enjoying discovering his work (especially Louie), and I could tell that Carlin had been a huge influence. Listening to his story about his breakthrough moment on stage made me lose my breath for a moment, because yeah, that was very clearly going from "15 years of shit" to "George Carlin has cordially invited you to either share your observations of the universe on your own terms, or go fuck yourself. Please choose wisely."

George Carlin's life-long affair with the English language coupled with his unerring laser-like attacks on hypocrisy in all of its forms are what make it easy for me to say that he is without a doubt my intellectual hero and my mentor-by-proxy. The trouble with trying to explain why George is *always* at the top of the list when stand-ups talk about who the best stand-ups are (generally it's Pryor and Carlin in the #1 and #2 positions) is that you would have to be a deeply articulate and observant philosopher-genius, just like him.
posted by tzikeh at 2:43 PM on September 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


God knows I love Bamford, Stanhope, Hicks, etc. Really, if any of them are on YT or TV I always stick with it because they give me joy and make me think and I have a hard-on for all of them (maybe I'm not hip enough to be super critical of these guys because I see them all as pioneers, finding their own way of self-expression in a very, very difficult art form - perhaps the hardest one we have ever invented.)

But as I've said before Louis carries an air of "making history" transcending the art form into the territory we've reserved for Carlin, Pryor, et. al.
posted by victors at 2:59 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Carlin kind of sucked for most of the early part of his career.
posted by empath at 3:00 PM on September 6, 2011


cmoj: like Eddie Izzard and Carlin himself lots of times, I don't always think of him as a comedian so much as a spoken word artist who tends to be funny.

Eddie and Carlin have extremely different styles, methods, interests, subjects (other than atheism), and if you stood them next to one another, you'd think, these two people cannot possibly do the same thing for a living, but I think you're right.

I remember the first time I had even heard of Eddie Izzard was the first time I saw him--1999, when Dress to Kill played on HBO. I was just flipping channels and saw this man in a silk mandarin tunic, wearing perfect make-up, saying, "So I didn't join the Army... as you might have noticed...." and I cried with laughter for the next 90 minutes.

I immediately found a listing for when it would play again, set my VCR(!), and called my father, to whom I almost never speak, and said "Dad, there's a comic I just saw on HBO who might, possibly, sort-of almost, be maybe nearly as funny, at certain points in his routine, as George Carlin." And I told him what day and time Dress to Kill was going to air next.

(It hadn't occurred to me that my dad, liberal hippie though he was, might have trouble seeing past the transvestitism to the comedian. It took until 2003, when my parents went to see Izzard's Tony-nominated performance in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, that my father was willing to revisit the subject. Now, he's a huge Eddie fan.)
posted by tzikeh at 3:02 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


But as I've said before Louis carries an air of "making history" transcending the art form into the territory we've reserved for Carlin, Pryor, et. al.

Yeah, there's something about watching Louis CK that makes it feel like he's re-wiring your brain. He's not as quotable as bill hicks or george carlin, but it's not as rehearsed sounding, either. He kind of riffs on a train of thought more than recites a prewritten passage... I've watched him do variations on the same bit, and even though I've heard it before, he still manages to make it sound new and interesting every time.
posted by empath at 3:04 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like how Louis CK always seems genuinely amused by what he is saying. I tend to laugh along with him.
posted by found missing at 3:08 PM on September 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


For what it's worth, the list, which appears to be from 2005, is monumentally wrong. I like Louis, but I don't think he's top 20 material – you have to ignore a lot of great comedians to say that – still, on that list he got beat by Sinbad. Seriously. Sinbad.

Yeah, some of the list is quite bad, but I'm prepared to give them a pass. For starters, Sinbad was pretty funny when he hosted SNL. Second, as others have sort of hinted at, Louis CK was NOT at all the comedian in 2005 that he is today. He was funny ("Everytime I have sex, I just want to yell out, 'Hooray for this!'"), but if you look at his old clips on youtube, you'll find him surprisingly pedestrian if you only know him from his present works.

And indeed, it's that transformation into the comedian we know today, and into a charter member of the Ebert-Dawkins Metafilter Lifetime Appreciation Hall, that he discusses in the clip and credits to Carlin. Thanks for posting this, Kattallus.
posted by mreleganza at 3:10 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like how Louis CK always seems genuinely amused by what he is saying. I tend to laugh along with him.
posted by found missing at 3:08 PM on September 6 [+] [!]


Yeah, I love that too.

Been loving his show. The husband and I watched all of it in about two nights. Really amazing . . . poignant.

I don't know if he's better than Carlin, though. Carlin was Rufus.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:16 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


empath--if by "sucked" you mean "had not yet met Lenny Bruce, seen him perform, and been in the audience when Lenny Bruce was arrested for obscenity, asked to present I.D. to the cops, refused to do so, and been arrested alongside Bruce, setting him down the path that would cause him to break away from what stand-up comedians were "allowed" to be in the early 1960s;"

and if by "most of the early part of his career" you mean "the first six or seven years of a career that spanned almost fifty years;"

then I am with you 100%. :D

(Even though they're pretty timid, you can definitely hear echoes of the future in that routine of what people mean when they say "George Carlin." )
posted by tzikeh at 3:17 PM on September 6, 2011


Curious 1969 footage of a very nice man who has the same name as George Carlin.
posted by cortex at 3:21 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


and if by "most of the early part of his career" you mean "the first six or seven years of a career that spanned almost fifty years;"

He did comedy for about 10 years before he really found his voice, about the same time that Louis CK said that he basically sucked. A lot of people quit when they hit that wall, it takes a strong willed person to tear yourself down and start over like that.
posted by empath at 3:27 PM on September 6, 2011


I can't remember where I heard it, but I heard a comedian talking about how, in comedy, you're as old as how long you've been doing it, no matter your actual age. So if you've been doing comedy for 12 years, you're basically a 12-year-old up there. I don't know how generally true that is, but in terms of developing a mature voice it bears up well with most of my favorite comedians.
posted by Errant at 3:38 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


But as I've said before Louis carries an air of "making history" transcending the art form into the territory we've reserved for Carlin, Pryor, et. al.

The duckling.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:42 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Carlin kind of sucked for most of the early part of his career.

As Louis C.K. notes, so did he. I saw him back in '99 or '00 at the Boston Comedy Club (which is actually in NY) and this was even before Pootie Tang (which he directed) came out. He's the only performer I can remember from that night, so there was something about him, but I don't remember him being particularly funny at that point. I think a lot of iconic comedians will toil for a while in what they think they should be doing before they have the moment that makes things click for them, that frees them the way C.K. describes in the clip.

Since then, though, yeah. He's become a force for change, finding new ways to mine fathomless self-loathing into joyous laughter. He has moved beyond "shock" comedy or "discomfort" comedy into flat-out bravery with his show, which is unreal. Having Dane Cook on there just so that Cook could lambast C.K. for accusations of joke theft over the years was a masterstroke. If he keeps going, I have no doubt of his place in the upper pantheon.

As for the other major comedians of this era, well:

Mitch Hedberg: Died too young but left behind a nearly perfect output. His physical resemblance to Kurt Cobain has always seemed eerie to me, given the young deaths and huge legacy created in such a short amount of time. And while I don't think Dmitri Martin is bad per se, his existence raises the constant question of what might have been. Clearly influenced by Steven Wright, but with a delivery which didn't rely on the deadpan monotone. Tragic. RIP.

David Cross: Not everyone's cup of tea, but a giant in his own way. From the Mr. Show stuff, without which we'd have no WonderShowzen, or Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job or any number of other things, to his overt political humor (which goes beyond what his contemporaries go for by a mile) to his refusal to play clubs, which itself allowed for comedians to become like rock stars again. Bigger and Blackerer wasn't as solid as It's Not Funny or Shut Up You Fucking Baby, but showed some notes of C.K.'s influence on him, as he began to turn a lot of his acerbic anger inwards a little bit.

Maria Bamford: Don't know her well enough yet, to be honest. Very funny, very much an acquired taste. Clearly picking up where Amy Sedaris seems to have left off.

Sarah Silverman: Jury's still out. Clearly broke in with an original schtick, but might be too one-note. Fears of more and more diminishing returns.

Patton Oswalt: The big one. The only guy out there right now who can match C.K. for total importance and future legacy. I haven't seen Finest Hour yet as I don't have showtime and can't find it online, but Oswalt and C.K. are the two comedians whom I just wish would keep on talking, about whatever, indefinitely. I will never get bored. They are like biting, scathing comfort food. It's hard to say how much Oswalt is changing the game for other comics, because he hasn't done anything as ballsy as Louie (though almost nobody in television has ever done anything that ballsy) but as far as imagery and love for the English language, he's the only guy I've seen who can go toe-to-toe with Carlin.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:43 PM on September 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


I asked a friend of mine if he thought George Carlin was funny and his reply was "My dad bought me a George Carlin quote -a - day calendar and in my opinion he was 0 for 365.".
posted by josher71 at 3:44 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Between this video and the 9/11 video about the guy in a red bandana, I've never been more inspired nor cried so hard. Seriously, this is such a great video. I took a class this summer on teaching, and one of the things we learned is that students - and I extrapolate from that to be everybody - choose to learn for four reasons one of which is the desire to emulate a role model. I think this is such a great explanation of that.
posted by scunning at 3:44 PM on September 6, 2011


I've managed to completely miss Louis CK's entire career until reading this link. I went on a YouTube video binge and, holy cats, the man is hilarious.

Are there "must see" Louis CK clips out there? Because I must see them.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:57 PM on September 6, 2011


He has moved beyond "shock" comedy or "discomfort" comedy into flat-out bravery with his show

This season has become surreal. He isn't even going for the funny much anymore and I find I don't care.
posted by Justinian at 3:59 PM on September 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


Joey Michaels:

Deer
Awesome Possum
Being White

All clips extremely NSFW
posted by Navelgazer at 4:03 PM on September 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


Joey Michaels:

His second HBO comedy special "Chewed Up" won me over for life. (Part 1)
posted by cazoo at 4:05 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, that Dane Cook/Louis C.K. clip kind of blew my mind. What a complicated and emotional scene, and it's on a comedian's "sit-com" on FX of all places. This alters my perception of Dane Cook tremendously.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:09 PM on September 6, 2011 [11 favorites]


I thoroughly enjoyed this. Louis C.K. definitely deserves a place at the top. He's absolutely great at observational stuff, but I still don't think he digs as deep as Carlin did - although Carlin was getting progressively angrier as he went on. Not that that's a bad thing...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:17 PM on September 6, 2011


He just played in Sydney. I never listened to his stuff, but I know that I'm going to end up regretting missing it... sold out so quickly.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:28 PM on September 6, 2011


Wow, that Dane Cook/Louis C.K. clip kind of blew my mind. What a complicated and emotional scene, and it's on a comedian's "sit-com" on FX of all places. This alters my perception of Dane Cook tremendously.

Agreed. and I think that Louis C.K.'s take on the matter was probably dead on, that Cook didn't say, "HA HA! I'm stealin' that!" but sort of got lazy with his memory when he decided to do them. And although I very much commend Cook for doing this scene on Louie, it doesn't change my opinion that Louis C.K. is a genius and Cook kinda just sucks. I think Anthony Jeselnik, a vastly underknown comedian, nailed him here.
posted by mreleganza at 4:38 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


empath: A lot of people quit when they hit that wall, it takes a strong willed person to tear yourself down and start over like that.

Yeah-- he started out as half of a comedy duo (Burns and Carlin) on the radio and then in little clubs, and...

Okay, everyone should just go buy Last Words, which is George Carlin's autobiography, co-written Tony Hendra, and published in 2009. They had been working on it together for nearly ten years before George died in 2008.

Here are some review pull-quotes:
"Last Words is a jazzy, inward-looking piece of work...as a chronicler of the working of his own mind, Carlin is terrific. The book is very strong when it goes into his analyses of how he learned to speak his mind onstage and also of how he took timid backward steps following many of his eureka moments. This is the stuff of a great comedy seminar." -- New York Times

"...what Last Words ultimately reveals is how Carlin became a political protester, slam poet, cynic, polemicist and performance artist whose messages were delivered under the veneer of humor." -- Washington Post

"This is not a collection of setups and punch lines, but a candid, fearless accounting of his life and art...Last Words shows a comic master at the height of his storytelling powers and with no limit to what he had left to say." -- L.A. Times

"Seven particular words are associated with the late comedian George Carlin, and sentimental is not one of them. But that's the surprising portrait that emerges from Last Words." -- Houston Chronicle
posted by tzikeh at 4:44 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, that Dane Cook/Louis C.K. clip kind of blew my mind. What a complicated and emotional scene, and it's on a comedian's "sit-com" on FX of all places. This alters my perception of Dane Cook tremendously.

Indeed. I really want to know more of the backstory behind it. As one of the people who perpetuated the joke-theft narrative, it actually shamed me.I don't like Cook's comedy any more than I used to, but I like him more as a person.

And the crazy thing, on this scripted show where each man is playing himself with this well-known backstory behind it, is that neither entirely backs down. Cook still insists (rightly) that C.K. took passive advantage of the narrative in order to increase his own cred ad reputation, and C.K. still insists (rightly) that whether or not is was intentional, Cook probably absorbed the bits and used them as his own.

It's complicated and uncomfortable and yet in the end mostly, but not entirely, forgiving to both parties and yet they were both willing to write it and shoot it. Incredible, to me. And for whatever it's worth, Dane Cook, sorry for being a small part of sullying your reputation.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:08 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having real difficulty in remembering the last time I've seen *any* performer receive such near universal (and snark-free) praise. Enjoy it while it lasts, Székely.
posted by wensink at 5:15 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't speak to the first two for you, but it has been almost twenty years since he did was really out and about. Long enough for those who saw and loved his act as young people, to make it seem like it is derivative when, in fact, they're deriving much of it from him.
Yeah, on TVTropes they call this Seinfeld Is Unfunny. These days, to a lot of people. just seems like a generic sitcom, because so many of the sitcoms that came after it copied it's style.

If Bill Hicks is derivative, who is he derivative of?

Anyway, I don't really think Louie CK really matches Carlin. Carlin was really a master of language and timing in a way that CK doesn't come close too. Carlin was also great doing "goofy, silly" jokes as well as the harder stuff. CK says things that a lot of people don't want to say, but fundamentally he talks about stuff that's close to home while Carlin really tackled the world as a whole.
Carlin kind of sucked for most of the early part of his career.
Eh, you can't really judge topical humor from 50 years ago.
posted by delmoi at 5:17 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


but fundamentally he talks about stuff that's close to home while Carlin really tackled the world as a whole

Louis CK talks about stuff close to home as a way of addressing the world as a whole, I think. Have you seen the second season of his TV show? I would think it would be hard to sustain the idea that CK doesn't address the world as a whole in light of the show.
posted by Justinian at 5:30 PM on September 6, 2011


This is outstanding.

I don't mean the Louis CK thing. I mean the entire 1h45m tribute evening for Carlin.

It's made me laugh and made me cry, and I'm not even halfway through it yet.

Thanks so much for posting this. I didn't know this evening ever took place, and it's a wonderful thing to get to experience.

(Plus, it's great to see Whoopi being an older version of who she was during her Broadway debut. I know she never changed, but wow, echoes from the past.)

If you haven't bothered to watch the whole thing. Do it. It's well worth while.

Again, thanks. A million thanks.
posted by hippybear at 5:36 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have you seen the second season of his TV show?

Exactly. There is something downright magical going on there.

All I can say to people who claim that LCK is lacking in depth is you really, really aren't looking at him deep enough - it's totally there and FFS give this guy another 40 years before comparing him flat out to Carlin... no? Jeez. If you don't see the subtlety of LCK's timing then again, look harder - his act is NOT an accident. That breezy, whimsical delivery is his voice, not Carlin's, and it's no less viable especially at this stage of his career.

His persona is less intellectual than were Carlin landed after 50 years of doing comedy - but don't mistake that for the man being less of an intellect.
posted by victors at 5:40 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Carlin is one of my all-time heroes, and although Louis CK took a long time to click for me, I've loved everything he's done in the past 4 years or so. I can't wait to see where he takes his work in the future.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:46 PM on September 6, 2011


Indeed. I really want to know more of the backstory behind it.

Just a small piece, but Louis was talking about this scene on Opie & Anthony, before he could talk about the specifics and give away the surprise. Basically he said that he deliberately wrote the scene so the other person (Dane) would "win", and his own character would say all of the "wrong" things in the argument. That was how he wanted to present it to Dane so he would do the scene. He said that's a reoccurring theme in his show, that by making his character the bad guy in some scenes, he can push the idea farther than he could with another character.

Amazing show. The Afghanistan episode is the only one so far that he had to present a script to the network, just because he was asking for double the normal episode budget to do that one. It truly is the culmination of one man's vision, and I think that is a great thing in comedy particularly. Many more examples of that are popping up - see also Marc Maron's podcast.
posted by shinynewnick at 5:50 PM on September 6, 2011


Exhibit A: Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy
posted by whuppy at 5:51 PM on September 6, 2011


When I had just moved to Chicago, my only friend I had yet (a comedian) and I bought tickets to see Louis CK at the Chicago Theater. 80 bucks, third row or something, way off to the side. We weren't exactly sure how good the seats were, since 80 was at the lower end of prices for tickets, but he's a hero of both of ours.

Anyway, Sunday comes and we're on the train coming into the loop, and my friend says, "Weird that the show's so late on a Sunday night."

I'm like, "yeah," and check the confirmation on my phone. The show had been Saturday :(

So we went :( for a minute, then (literally) said, "fuck it. " There was nothing we could do about it, so we went back to my place to smoke and watch old Louis CK instead. I feel like that's the response Louis would endorse.
posted by cmoj at 5:54 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


finds not only laughs but a couple of universal truths about parenthood that few of us are willing to say aloud

I wonder how his daughters are getting on at school now.

I don't think I'd enjoy being that girl whose own dad has made a living off telling the entire Internet how much she sucks.
posted by flabdablet at 6:01 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


katullus: Maria Bamford is my favorite American stand-up working today. Of Brits who aren't already global treasures (i.e. Izzard and Connolly) Daniel Kitson is probably my favourite.


Kitson's great - also Stewart Lee, Boothby Graffoe and Simon Munnery, just off the top of my head.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:32 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pool players talk about each others playing with time in mind. Someone who's playing flawlessly is said to be "hot". You're not "great" until you've been "hot" for a long time.

George Carlin is great. This is beyond debate.
Louis CK is hot. Very hot. I think his comedy mines shit deep inside the American psyche that's on a level NOBODY else can touch right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=betkymYDzfg (NSFW)

He's also doing class and race based humor that's as important as anything Chris Rock's done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG4f9zR5yzY (there's an ad in front but you can skip in 5 seconds, sorry)

I really think that Louie is some of the finest television ever. I'm given to hyperbole but I swear we're watching something important happen on tv right now. "The Bully" blew my mind. The "Dane Cook" episode is legendary. I'm still reeling from it considering that I'd been hearing that Dane stole material from Louis for years. I'd kill to hear their initial conversation about it.
posted by asavage at 6:43 PM on September 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


Stewart Lee is great too, Munnery just doesn't quite click with me, but he seems like someone who will one day. I haven't heard of Boothby Graffoe, I'll have to check him out.
posted by Kattullus at 6:45 PM on September 6, 2011


cmoj is right on the money about George Carlin being a spoken word artist who is also funny.

Years later, Carlin's bit about shell shock still gives me goosebumps.
posted by dr_dank at 6:55 PM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


It strikes me as a bit weird to compare LCK and Carlin because, despite this clear and important influence that LCK cites, their output has been very different. In terms of stand-up styles, Carlin was certainly more versatile, and has an amazing legacy that stretches across multiple decades. On those grounds, there's not much room for comparison.

On the other hand, LCK is a filmmaker now; at this point, I imagine him literally making the film, in addition to all his other duties on his show. As such, a more apt comparison might be someone like Woody Allen, and who would compare Woody Allen with George Carlin? The period of their works greatly overlaps and they are both East Coast comics, but you would barely think of them as contemporaries.

As for myself, I prefer Louis CK's delivery. Navelgazer said it well, that he kind of drags the laughs out of you, as if by brute force. Of course, there's an elegance underneath that, and he ends up getting a lot of laughs out of me. But anyway, despite this clear influence, I don't see LCK as the heir apparent of some kind of overly-specific mantle.
posted by Edgewise at 7:04 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dane Cook looks a lot like Sylar from Heroes.

Cook is another stand-up whose career I've managed to miss entirely, so the episode of Louie that has been discussed here is my first exposure to him, too. He comes across really well. I mean, besides the Sylar thing.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:12 PM on September 6, 2011


On the other hand, LCK is a filmmaker now;

I think this might be a mostly unknown fact, but he wrote and directed Pootie Tang over a decade ago.
posted by quin at 7:13 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


who would compare Woody Allen with George Carlin?

And yet... you seem to be comparing LCK with Woody Allen?

(There's more in common between Woody and George than you think. Their delivery is completely different, and the conclusions they draw aren't very similar, but the subject matter... it overlaps quite a bit at times.)
posted by hippybear at 7:16 PM on September 6, 2011


And yet... you seem to be comparing LCK with Woody Allen?

Not really; I'm just using that comparison to point out that I don't think LCK and Carlin have much in common. I mean, all three have some things in common, like being soul-baring East Coast comedians, neurotic, etc. but many of those terms are considered redundant (I know I'm being a little glib, but you know what I mean).

I think this might be a mostly unknown fact, but he wrote and directed Pootie Tang over a decade ago.

I guess I should have said accomplished filmmaker. That is a little unfair since the final cut of PT was very different from what Louis envisioned, but the man himself has declared himself dissatisfied with his own final cut even before it was butchered further by the studio.
posted by Edgewise at 7:28 PM on September 6, 2011


There's a clear and understood veneration of Carlin at this point which I think is both well-deserved and yet antithetical to the anarchy that underlies comedy. The man was amazing and yet criticism should be made.

Personally, his material rarely makes me laugh.

I don't know if it's because I'm removed from the context too much or what. I know I've always liked him, but very rarely laughed out loud at him. (The one major exception to this being his line that, "if whites are going to burn down black churches it's high time for the blacks to start burning down the House of Blues.")

Still, I enjoy him, and could listen to his material all day. I would be captivated and entertained and it would make me think about things differently. It just wouldn't make me laugh very often.

But there's something I noticed tonight which is an attribute rarely ascribed to Carlin, which is how flat-out motherfucking effortlessly charming he was. Of course he was a disk jockey and radio personality first, just listen to him! We're so used to seeing his face, knowing his content, understanding him as a counter-cultural figure that, for me at least, I'd never realized that he has the quintessentially perfect classic radio voice, like butter with just the hint of gravel for gravitas.

I remember being about 12 or 13 and hearing Casey Kasem introduce "Cypress Hill's 'Insane in the Membrane'" on the Top Forty, and laughing my ass off due to the incongruity. I wonder how much of Carlin's inconoclasm sprang from his sounding like a voice of somber authority while speaking the words of the revolution. Damn, that must have been something to have experienced with context.

For me, it was Louis C.K.'s bit about his daughter. He crossed a line that comics, as "dark" and "edgy" as they might have appeared, never crossed, and instead of being just shocking it was revelatory. It was clear that he loved his daughter and wasn't blaming her for things, but he also wasn't bullshitting about the anger and frustration surrounding having kids, and it was fearlessly different.

It also probably contributed a lot to ending his marriage, and I hope once his daughter is old enough to really know about the bit she can understand it enough to forgive him for it. He has seemingly both lost everything and gained everything for choosing to go down that route, and seeing him in the clip tearing up thinking about his own daughters and Carlin's daughter brought it all home.

This is where I feel the comparison is accurate. Carlin loved language, and his love of language came through in every bit he ever did. He played with it and riffed on it and in his most famous bit declared that nothing within it was off-limits to him, and comedy followed suit as a result. He changed the face of it. C.K., in the bit about his daughter, showed that he played in the depths of dark emotions, and that nothing at all was going to be off-limits to him in that particular sandbox. And he made it work. Because he made us laugh. Both comics busted out societal boundaries through laughter. That's their legacy.

I'm still waiting to see what Oswalt's legacy will be, but for now he remains simply one of the funniest people alive.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:34 PM on September 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


If we're throwing out names: Norm. Macdonald. (But only when he's cutting up/seriously fucking with late night talk show hosts.)
posted by Roachbeard at 9:40 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't even BELIEVE there are 100+ comments on this thread most of which seem to be elevating Louis CK to equal status with Carlin and Allen. I agree that CK is "hot" right now. And I've laughed at some of his material. But no way in hell is he comparable to Carlin or Allen. Let's see if he comes up with fresh material for 15-20 more years. Then we can talk.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:15 PM on September 6, 2011


ReeMonster, I think you'l see that the people in this thread generally agree with you, but are looking at things through the lens of seeing somebody who is not just "hot," but doing some things currently which are pretty groundbreaking on their own, and predicting that with time he will reach those same heights.

But it raises an interesting question. When did Carlin become "great"? When did Allen? For Carlin, "Seven Words" is his greatest living legacy, but would he be such an icon had he not continued on for so long? Nobody really considers his later material in factoring into his reputation, no matter how good it was, aside from passing out his stats, so to speak.

With Allen, well, it's a little bit clearer. He became "great" when he made Annie Hall and Manhattan. He made other good movies before and after those, but those aren't what we think of if we call Woody Allen "great."

Louis C.K. is making Louie, which is an astoundingly audacious achievement on its own. So do we really need time to see if what he does for the next twenty or so years sours this, or falls off too much, or what? What are we really looking for here? All of the greats have high points.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:26 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really enjoy LCK, but I can't watch the tv show. I watched one episode and enjoyed it except that there was about 25 minutes of material and 35 minutes of horrible commercials. And as the show goes on the episode material is less and less and the commercials are more and more. Sorry but that's another show I will be missing.
posted by charlesminus at 10:39 PM on September 6, 2011


Wow, what? Really? You're going to miss out on some of the most innovative television being made now--or that's been made since, I dunno, pick something...Seinfeld? Because of commercials?

Watch it on Hulu or FX's site. Checking now on Hulu... yeah, three commercial breaks. Even if they run two ads, that significantly less than what you're going to see on TV.
posted by Maaik at 11:23 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watch it on Hulu or FX's site. Checking now on Hulu...

LOL, people still watch commercials? There are many ways to consume your media with zero commercials, ever.
posted by Meatbomb at 1:09 AM on September 7, 2011


"The Bully" blew my mind.

That episode could have gone in several predictable places, but LCK really surprised me; it was a pretty nerve-wracking bit of storytelling.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:47 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me, Carlin's crowning moment of awesome was " . . . but He loves you" from You Are All Diseased.
posted by whuppy at 3:19 AM on September 7, 2011


With Allen, well, it's a little bit clearer. He became "great" when he made Annie Hall and Manhattan.

I think you'll find that Woody Allen became "great" sometime around when he was pushing forward the art of the comedic monologue with his own standup act, while writing for Ed Sullivan and Sid Caesar, or perhaps when Play It Again, Sam hit Broadway. That he's happened to underscore his "great" status time and again with each new phase of his career only really proves that he's "great". But he was "great" long before Annie Hall.
posted by hippybear at 4:23 AM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


I got to see Carlin live once, in 2007, at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He was prepping the material for what would become his last HBO special, It's Bad For Ya. The material was very new, he was working almost entirely from his notes, and it was somewhat uneven. And yet, because the material lacked polish, it was like getting a behind-the-scenes look at how a master comedian hones his craft. It was fascinating to witness firsthand.

My favorite and most-quoted Carlinism is his offhand remark (from "Doin' It Again") that "These are the kind of thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools."

As for Louis C.K., I've watched "Chewed Up", and seen some of his other bits (though not his TV show, which I apparently must check out), and he also strikes me as uneven and lacking polish - and yet, I'm fascinated by a comedian so nakedly building his act. Assuming Louis doesn't subsume himself in filmmaking, I can seem him being Carlin's legitimate heir in another decade or so.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:08 AM on September 7, 2011


I really enjoy LCK, but I can't watch the tv show. I watched one episode and enjoyed it except that there was about 25 minutes of material and 35 minutes of horrible commercials. And as the show goes on the episode material is less and less and the commercials are more and more.

The only time I ever watch TV commercials is when I'm visiting my parents who are the only people on earth that don't Tivo everything. Seriously, who watches commericals?
posted by empath at 6:18 AM on September 7, 2011


As for Louis C.K., I've watched "Chewed Up"

"Hilarious" is better than "Chewed Up", imo...
posted by empath at 6:19 AM on September 7, 2011


Can we focus on the big news here? Louis C.K. directed Pootie Tang!

That was... unexpected.
posted by elmer benson at 6:47 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, who watches commercials?

I do. DVR is too expensive with Verizon cable and my laptop blows in terms of streaming video.
posted by josher71 at 7:01 AM on September 7, 2011


Sa da tay!
posted by Optamystic at 7:53 AM on September 7, 2011


You can just buy a DVR for like $100
posted by empath at 8:12 AM on September 7, 2011


"the duckling"

Of course. What a fucking good comment robocop. The fucking duckling. I'm tearing up again. Shit.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:18 AM on September 7, 2011


All this talk of great comics and not ONE mention of Paul F Tompkins?

SHAME ON YOU, INTERNET.
posted by grubi at 8:21 AM on September 7, 2011


or kaufman! like this is one of the most awesome things ever :P
posted by kliuless at 10:10 AM on September 7, 2011


I've managed to completely miss Louis CK's entire career until reading this link. I went on a YouTube video binge and, holy cats, the man is hilarious.

Are there "must see" Louis CK clips out there? Because I must see them.


Let's not forget his career as a comedy writer. He wrote for The Dana Carvey Show (the entirety of which is available, apparently legitimately, on YouTube), alongside Robert Smigel, Dino Stamatopoulos, Spike Feresten, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Jon Glaser, and Robert Carlock. That show was a frigging petri dish of comedy juggernauts.

Also, you should watch him, and everyone else, in Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:54 AM on September 7, 2011


Huh. I had no idea you could buy a stand alone DVR.
posted by josher71 at 12:14 PM on September 7, 2011


I really enjoy LCK, but I can't watch the tv show. I watched one episode and enjoyed it except that there was about 25 minutes of material and 35 minutes of horrible commercials. And as the show goes on the episode material is less and less and the commercials are more and more. Sorry but that's another show I will be missing.

You know it's a half hour show, yes?
posted by papercake at 12:59 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the half of Louie that was Everyone Loves Raymond sucked completely.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:25 PM on September 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sys Rq, don't forget Charlie Kauffman was one of the writers on Dany Carvey. Talk about an asterisk!
posted by Edgewise at 3:11 PM on September 7, 2011


What the-- I was totally sure I'd included him!
posted by Sys Rq at 3:16 PM on September 7, 2011


I'm glad to see David Cross mentioned here, as well as some others, but...

Where's the love for Lewis Black? No wonder the man is so bitter, you fuckers never seem to give him the respect he deserves!
posted by symbioid at 5:18 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where's the love for Lewis Black? No wonder the man is so bitter, you fuckers never seem to give him the respect he deserves!

...something something Dangerfield.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:23 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and Galafinakis? (I'm not saying Black or Zach are Carlin level material, but they're both great in their own way, IMO).
posted by symbioid at 5:23 PM on September 7, 2011


Where's the love for Lewis Black? No wonder the man is so bitter, you fuckers never seem to give him the respect he deserves!

I've liked Lewis Black for quite a while, and then I saw Basic Black: The Lewis Black Story. It's a career-spanning documentary which gave me context for his career and let me view his development over time. I now have an entirely new appreciation for him (even greater than what I had before), and I cannot recommend this documentary highly enough for anyone who likes him, or even is a bit meh about him and might need a bit of a push.
posted by hippybear at 5:37 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the reasons people have yet to mention (before now) Galafinakis, Tompkins et al., is because, oh, I don't know, this was a post about LCK and Carlin.
posted by mreleganza at 5:46 PM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, he's no Gallagher II.
posted by cmoj at 6:44 PM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


...or is he???
posted by Sys Rq at 7:46 PM on September 8, 2011


Onion AV club is going through every episode of Louie with Louis CK. Part 3 discusses the Dane Cook episode.
posted by Gary at 2:17 PM on September 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


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