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June 29, 2010 9:40 PM   Subscribe

Louis CK is a pretty funny guy. While the Boston comic hasn't fared well in scripted formats -- projects like The Dana Carvey Show, Pootie Tang, and Lucky Louie were all commercial flops -- his stand-up is quite popular, and his new series Louie (premiering tonight on FX) looks like a winner -- and just in time, too. But that's something you'd need a TV to know about. Luckily, the guy's a big hit on YouTube, and has even added some of his own homemade content to the mix. Click inside for a collection of some of his best (and most NSFW) routines. posted by Rhaomi (86 comments total) 86 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought he was awesome in Parks & Recreation, too. An uncharacteristic performance, from what I know of him, but an outstanding one.
posted by ErikaB at 10:00 PM on June 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


I would have missed this, so thanks for the FPP.
posted by fook at 10:09 PM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lucky Louie sort of collapsed under the weight of its own unpleasantness but, too late, it started to have some interesting things to say about interpersonal relationships. I haven't watched the show since it aired, but that episode halfway through the season about the fallout from Louie calling his wife a cunt during an argument felt brilliant at the time, even seemed to retroactively brighten up the darkness that came before it. Hopefully he can make this new show work.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 10:19 PM on June 29, 2010


I love me some Louis. "A man will rip off your arm and throw it into a river, but he will leave you as a human being intact. He won't mess with who you are. Women are non-violent but they will shit inside of your heart."
posted by vito90 at 10:55 PM on June 29, 2010 [7 favorites]


Louis C.K. does something, particularly in the last couple of years, that I haven't really seen any other standup do (except Richard Pryor), and that is true melancholy. Plenty of other comedians (most of his Gen X contemporaries) have a seemingly similar whining misanthropic curmudgeon shtick, but Louis C.K.'s bits often go beyond the typical cheap laugh and into actual pathos. He'll be this outrageously insufferable prick one second, and then, out of the blue, he'll twist the joke around and you'll suddenly sympathize with him on a really profoundly human level, and yet, somehow, it is still very, very funny. And also there are a lot of swears.

PS: The Invention of Lying is worth seeing if only to behold Louis C.K. minus facial hair. He's barely recognizable. Dude must be the only person in the world whose face actually looks better with a goatee.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:57 PM on June 29, 2010 [13 favorites]


Thanks for the post; I've never found louis ck all that funny, so it was good to have someone cherry-pick the notable jokes. Still was not that into it, really, and I'm not sure why. It's not that the material is too offensive or something - maybe it's the delivery?
posted by dubold at 10:57 PM on June 29, 2010


The problem I have with Louis' comedy, and also Bill Hicks, is that if I want to laugh at bitter angry whining I can just get drunk, put on a clown nose, and look in the mirror.
posted by idiopath at 11:05 PM on June 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought Luckie Louis was pretty funny, and was disappointed when it got canned. I'll check this new show of his out.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:07 PM on June 29, 2010


Speaking of FX comedies: I don't care how much acclaim it gets, I do not like "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" one bit.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:08 PM on June 29, 2010 [14 favorites]


I don't care how much acclaim it gets, I do not like "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" one bit.

THANK YOU.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:17 PM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The awkwardness of the Louis' date on tonight's show made me feel like the most smooth ladies man in the world.

I don't care how many people say that Sunny sucks, I like it. And Archer is fucking awesome.
posted by birdherder at 11:27 PM on June 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


idiopath: "The problem I have with Louis' comedy, and also Bill Hicks, is that if I want to laugh at bitter angry whining I can just get drunk, put on a clown nose, and look in the mirror."

If you're half as good at it as Bill Hicks, you should invest in a few gallons of malt liquor and hit the comedy circuit.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:45 PM on June 29, 2010 [6 favorites]


Thanks for the post; I've never found louis ck all that funny, so it was good to have someone cherry-pick the notable jokes. Still was not that into it, really, and I'm not sure why. It's not that the material is too offensive or something - maybe it's the delivery?

I have the same reaction. I should like CK; hell, I should love him, considering how much I listen to Pryor, Hicks, Carlin, Mitch Hedberg, David Cross, Patton Oswalt... There's just something about him that doesn't click. I've had friends cherrypick their favourite CK bits for me more than once and, while I see the appeal, he's not my cup of tea, or jug of Olde English, pick your beverage. The delivery might just be the problem.

Or his face?

Also, I'm again aghast at the sausagefest of stand up. Where the ladies at?
posted by Chichibio at 12:31 AM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pootie Tang is a Homeric classic. It's simply too awe-inspiring for the average human to bear.

Someday it will be taught in history classes as the only true window to this era.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:53 AM on June 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


Louis C.K.: Everything's great, I'm still not happy.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:28 AM on June 30, 2010


Pootie Tang is a Homeric classic.

Wa Da Tah!

Pootie Tang is to motion picture what Vincent Willem van Gogh was to post-impressionist painting.

Sadly, true genius isn't widely recognized until after the artist has died.

Louis C.K., Lance Crouther, J.B. Smoove, Reg E. Cathey, Wanda Sykes and Chris Rock: you are all amazing.

Sa da tay!
posted by stringbean at 1:38 AM on June 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Don't get me wrong; I love Louis C.K. He's great. I personally enjoy him a lot. Really funny, and as someone said above, full of pathos... but I can't help but think what his daughters will think of a video like "Having Kids" ... I dunno, they'll probably be driving shiny beamers when they do their driving tests, but still, the moment they give their dad shit at some point for a routine like "I come home and she's just laying on the carpet with just spread-eagled naked and she's just stretching her vagina open going AAGGHHHH!!" would be an awkward one I'm glad I don't have to be present for.
posted by malapropist at 2:24 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the cold open of the second episode where he and his comedian friends discuss the word faggot was the perfect blend of sincerity and humor. I really enjoyed both episodes a lot. (Even the Pig Newton Inc. production company title card at the end.)

TVSquad had a long interview with him which covers a lot of ground but most interesting is how he compares working for HBO with working for FX. Apparently this time around he is simply given a budget and has complete artistic freedom with close to zero interference from the network, unlike when he was with HBO where executives gave him endless notes at all stages.

Also, no Louis CK linkdump is complete without duck vaginas.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:06 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And now I see that bit was included in the 'Shameless' part 1 clip.)
posted by Rhomboid at 3:13 AM on June 30, 2010


And Archer is fucking awesome.

Yes! Single-handedly validates that channel.
posted by jbickers at 3:58 AM on June 30, 2010


People that didn't like Pootie Tang, didn't get pootie tang. It was genius. One of my favorites. (i'm being sincere here).
posted by djduckie at 5:06 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Louis ck is a pretty funny guy. Eh tells jokes and doesn't afraid of anything.

Seriously. Have you heard his handjob routine? Only Louis could have pulled off that joke.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:29 AM on June 30, 2010


The whole Last Chance video is possibly the best "watch the premiere" ad of all time.
posted by Hiker at 5:32 AM on June 30, 2010


mefi's own Potomac Avenue interviewed him for BYT.
posted by empath at 5:46 AM on June 30, 2010


Uh, fixed link.
posted by empath at 5:47 AM on June 30, 2010


It's good to know that there are others who recognize the brilliance that is Pootie Tang. My everflowing tears shall cease, for there is hope left for this world.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:50 AM on June 30, 2010


Handjob routine? Uh, sorry. I don't get the guy either. Bitter misogyny and self-abuse have never struck me as particularly amusing, and I stopped laughing at shock jokes about genitalia years ago. Maybe if I were a frustrated divorced guy I'd feel differently?
posted by kinnakeet at 5:58 AM on June 30, 2010


The thing about Louis CK is that he doesn't take things for granted. Pretty much everyone just assumes that they are a good person but really most people, myself included, aren't all that great. We assume that the things we think are wrong are wrong. We assume that things we expect to make us happy we will. Most comics will flatter themselves and their audience and create an "us" who sees the truth. Why can't everyone see that george bush is bad like us? Why can't everyone see that political correctness has gone too far like us? Why can't everyone see that marijuana should be legal like us?

He doesn't do that. He will tell the audience that he does the things that everyone does but no one really admits like hurts other people on purpose. And the audience is not elevated and put on a pedestal but actually indicted along with him. And I like it because I am a this rare smart realist who can take it.
posted by I Foody at 5:59 AM on June 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Pootie Tang is one of my all-time favorite movies. God damn, what an amazing thing it is.

True story: a friend of mine worked at a mac repair shop, and one day, this dude comes in to get his computer fixed, and he's wearing a baseball cap with the words Pootie Tang stitched on the front. My friend's like "Holy shit! Where did you get that hat? That's such a good movie!" And the guy looks really surprised, and says, "You liked Pootie Tang?" and she's like, "Yeah, it was fantastic!" And he goes, "Oh, thanks! I directed it." And that's how my friend met Louis C.K.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:01 AM on June 30, 2010 [27 favorites]


Also, I'm again aghast at the sausagefest of stand up. Where the ladies at?

Maria Bamford
The End.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:13 AM on June 30, 2010 [13 favorites]


Maybe if I were a frustrated divorced guy I'd feel differently? Yes. And?

Louis CK has a certain sincerity about him that I like. The guy has been around forever and his comedy has evolved over the years which is amazing considering the Byron Allenesque bullshit comics who do the same schtick year after year after agonizing year. That said, I still do not find him funny. I barely muster a chuckle when I see one of his routines and I can't explain it.

Now with all the Pootie Tang Love, I will go see the movie.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:36 AM on June 30, 2010


Louis CK's bluest material. One of my favorite stand up comedy pieces.
posted by Hume at 6:37 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Louis CK has an amazing ability to present progressive ideas in a way where they just seem dead obvious. Nobody will ever explain the concept of "white privilege" as well as Louis CK does in his bit, "being white." And nobody will ever (comedically) express outrage at "rape culture" -- the assumption that sexual aggression by males should be taken for granted, part of their nature -- as effectively as he does in the sketch about the girl who wanted him to "go for it."

And when I first saw the Catholic Church sketch I thought it was insanely offensive (and yet funny) but with every week that goes by it the news makes it seem more likely that it is absolutely, literally true.

(On the Pathos/melancholy thing mentioned above -- the Louis CK ability to combine the horribly offensive with the painfully touching happens in the Catholic Church sketch, where the priest asks him to think back carefully and see if he's sure that he wasn't molested by a priest, and he smiles and slaps his forehead and says oh yes! Yes I WAS! And the priest says, We're very thorough. And Louis is smiling and nodding with him but tears are beginning to fall from his eyes.)
posted by edheil at 6:39 AM on June 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


Man, I want to use the Why? bit in my Pre-Socratics lecture so fucking badly, pity I cannot because of the fucking language.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:29 AM on June 30, 2010


Louis CK first came to my attention from my stay-at-home-mom sister, who related very strongly to his bits about the sheer grinding boredom of parenting young children. It's the kind of thing that every parent feels, but none will admit out loud. Louis has a joke about how he has to treasure the "little breaks" -- like after he's buckled in the kids, closes the door, and has a few seconds to himself as he walks around the car to the driver's seat -- and, well, she really, really relates. I think he's hilarious and the sexism doesn't bother me -- at least he's honest about it and seems to have some self-awareness.
posted by chowflap at 7:59 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always forget how much I like Louis CK until I watch him again. Agree with others here that he uses material that few, if any, other comics could pull off (nevermind decide to use).
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:22 AM on June 30, 2010


Yeah, I don't see the misogyny with Louis CK. I just see someone really kind of nailing the ennui of marriage and parenting and aging sexuality.
posted by padraigin at 8:32 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm a nanny. I honestly love children.

His bit on kids is the truest thing about children that I have ever seen in the history of ever.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:43 AM on June 30, 2010


I own maybe 5 movies. One of those movies is Pootie Tang. Because the cammytown's a biddy on the pannie sty.
posted by orville sash at 9:09 AM on June 30, 2010


(Also "Why" is a conversation I have every day. Several times. It is indeed exhausting to have a child constantly point out how little you ACTUALLY know about ANYTHING.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:11 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The delivery might just be the problem.

Yeah, me too. The material is pretty good, but I can't take the delivery.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:13 AM on June 30, 2010


Maria Bamford
She's great. If you don't know her, this.

Where the ladies at?
In my experience, for whatever reason, not very many women ever start doing standup comedy in the first place. Something like 80% - 90% of new open mic'ers are guys.
posted by msalt at 9:35 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I said this in the piece empath linked but the funniest thing about louis's routines are his unique and demonstrative hand gestures. Until you've seen him do that 5 fingered downward point in person you might mistake some of his motions onstage for being overly fluid or choreographed, but let me tell you he does those weird and delicate gestures in person, and they make everything he says LOOK amusing.

And of course he was nothing but polite and open to me, even as he took multiple phone calls about some kind of situation involving his (now) ex. But he also scared the shit of me. He was clearly incredibly smart and terrifyingly clear-eyed, like some kind of caustic Pope or Socrates. He's so far above 90% of other comics these days in terms of pure stagecraft, and yet everything he does is utterly instinctual.

Anyway, yeah, he rules. Go see "Hilarious" if it ever comes out in theaters.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:40 AM on June 30, 2010


For me, the strength of his influence is that he's got a joke for whatever horrible thing in life I'm currently dealing with. It doesn't resonate beyond being funny when you first hear it, but then, later, you find yourself in exactly the situation he's described, and your somewhat inoculated by already having laughed at it.

Unfortunately, having made this realization, I hear jokes about the surviving the death of your spouse as being a "best case scenario" because of the lifetime that preceded it, and I wince, because that too will one day come to pass.

I love comedy, but he's one of the rare comedians that I thank for giving me a short-hand vocabulary, through his words, to describe the some of the joys and pains in life.

He's also earned my trust enough that I'll sit through anything the guy films. If he thinks it's worth doing, I'll probably find it worth watching.
posted by quin at 9:56 AM on June 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love Louis CK, both his stand-up and Pootie Tang, of course. And while Louie is significantly better than his HBO show, I just couldn't get into it. To call it "episodic" is probably even overstating it a bit. It's really just a series of short vignettes that don't really come together as a whole. I'm sure I'll give it another chance, but I thought the pilot was pretty weak.
posted by dhammond at 10:26 AM on June 30, 2010


Louis C.K. does something, particularly in the last couple of years, that I haven't really seen any other standup do (except Richard Pryor), and that is true melancholy. Plenty of other comedians (most of his Gen X contemporaries) have a seemingly similar whining misanthropic curmudgeon shtick, but Louis C.K.'s bits often go beyond the typical cheap laugh and into actual pathos. He'll be this outrageously insufferable prick one second, and then, out of the blue, he'll twist the joke around and you'll suddenly sympathize with him on a really profoundly human level, and yet, somehow, it is still very, very funny. And also there are a lot of swears.

So, so true. Why? is just one of my very favourite things in the world - that last few minutes of it is just so beautiful. How funny it is of course, his fantastic control of the rhythm and the repetition of it - but when he seamlessly slides from hilarity into cos my parents gave me no guidance, they didn't give a shit... to the understanding of cos they had shitty parents, it just keeps going like that, to cos fuck it, we're alone in the universe, nobody gives a shit about us. And then he makes an excuse to take the audience back out of it, and returns you to more absurd hilarity, and makes it okay. And it's like a warm hug at the end, even if it ends with "Fuck you, you little shit, eat your french fries goddamit!", because all of it is wrapped up in his obvious, overwhelming love for his daughter. It's absolutely transcendent. It's as if he used his daughter's questions as a child to answer his own; and the audience knows, he's not going to let it keep going like that. I must've watched that maybe 50 or 100 times, and every time I am in awe. That is the absolute power of standup, and so so few comedians even aspire to it.
posted by catchingsignals at 10:26 AM on June 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


Louis CK is a worthy heir to George Carlin.
posted by whuppy at 10:32 AM on June 30, 2010




Thanks for the post; I've never found louis ck all that funny


It's nothing groundbreaking. I've heard his schtick all done before. But to a 20-something, it's fresh and exciting -- I guess.
posted by L'OM at 10:45 AM on June 30, 2010


L'OM: like who, in particular? and which bits?
posted by Mach5 at 11:00 AM on June 30, 2010


What catchingsignals said. It's almost as hard to explain why something's deeply, resonantly funny to you as it is to explain why you like the music you like - and it leads down the same tired road of kneejerky your-favourite-whatever-sucks meh that we see sprinkled throughout this thread - but I've never seen anyone walk that fine line between empathic exasperation and plain old misanthropy that Louis CK does.

This is especially true of his parenting bits, because (and I say this as a parent married to a woman who probably empathizes with Louis' parenting bits even more than I do) almost no one - not your friends for the most part, not the grandparents, definitely not the parents you become sort of half-friends with because your kids are in school together or whatever, no one - will as a matter of course accept the vocalization of those fleeting everyday moments of grinding anger and frustration and seething rage that are the flipside of the bottomless love for your kids and that I'm pretty sure every parent in the history of having kids has felt.

I mean I bet Mary had her days where Jesus just wouldn't put his damn sandals on and she had to grind her teeth and bend down and then, sort of by accident but barely, she like yanked his leg a bit too hard as she pulled it up to get the sandal on and he cried out just a bit and then God's looking down at her with that accusing look and she's thinking, Fine, big shot, you get him fucking dressed.

Anyway.

I remember one of the first Louis CK routines I heard was about trying to take his kids shopping in New York. (It's from Chewed Up, apparently, but I can't find the clip.) Anyway, he's explaining this kind of garden-variety ain't-fatherhood-a-whirlwind scenario, the kind of thing you'd find in Dave Barry or Roy Romano - the kids are whining and he's trying to corral 'em through Chinatown or something, and then his phone rings and it's his wife with some silly question. And then he notes sort of in passing that he's carrying his two-year-old. "She can walk," he says, "but she won't. She's a bullshitter." And the shock of transgressive truth in just that line was all I needed to become a lifetime Louis CK fan. He hasn't let me down since.
posted by gompa at 11:18 AM on June 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


No 20-something here, and it hasn't been done quite like this in my experience (plenty of poor versions of it abound, though, sure).

But delivery preference is a personal thing. I know loads of people love Louis Black, for example, but I can take about two sentences of him before I have to turn him off.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:19 AM on June 30, 2010


It's nothing groundbreaking. I've heard his schtick all done before. But to a 20-something, it's fresh and exciting -- I guess.

Whoa. Did he kick your dog? Do you need a hug?

I mean, I can see just saying "it's just not my thing", but a blanket "well, maybe if you don't know shit about shit, I guess it's decent" seems ill-placed.

Honestly, no trolling, I have the same question as Mach5 had :
L'OM: like who, in particular? and which bits?

I love comedy (and I'm a comedian), so if there's someone who's doing what Louis does better than Louis does it, I'd honestly* love to see/hear it.


*once again, for the record, this is not snark
posted by revmitcz at 11:30 AM on June 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Big thanks to the Too Cool For School kids coming in here to let us all know that Louis is not, in fact, funny. I've had it wrong this whole time.

My eyes have been opened.
posted by BobFrapples at 11:44 AM on June 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


This post makes me very, very happy. I'm a little annoyed that the combination of Louis CK getting a series and Conan O'Brien heading to TBS pretty much compels me to goddamn sign up for cable again, but I simply can't do without awkward, red-haired comedians in my life.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:14 PM on June 30, 2010


It's nothing groundbreaking. I've heard his schtick all done before.

Man, keep your groundbreaking as far away from my comedy as possible. If you can't just be funny, all the innovation in the world is not going to help you. "Nothing groundbreaking" is a feature. "Heard it all before" is not a bug, so long as I'm laughing.

But to a 20-something, it's fresh and exciting -- I guess.


Also fresh and exciting: the old "I don't like it, but I can see how the ignorant and inexperienced would like it".

I'd argue that a 20-something might get a gross-out kick from some of Louis CK's bits, but that a lot of his material would go completely over the head of a less experienced adult. There's such a vast difference between "it's funny 'cause he's talking about a hand job!" and "it's funny because it's true".
posted by padraigin at 12:55 PM on June 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Louis' parenting bits were immensely valuable to me as I went through the first few years of fatherhood.

They taught me that I wasn't alone.
posted by Fraxas at 1:55 PM on June 30, 2010


One thing that really startled me in last night's show was that in the high school flashback, the girl says "no sir" in her thick Boston accent, which actually was a Massachussets localism from 30 years ago. It's such a random & authentic thing to find in a TV show.
posted by scalefree at 2:34 PM on June 30, 2010


the girl says "no sir" in her thick Boston accent, which actually was a Massachussets localism from 30 years ago.

I will tell half the population of Rhode Island that they are living in 30 years ago. I'm sure they'll be happy to know.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:43 PM on June 30, 2010


Has it survived to the present? Last time I heard it was early 80s, what can I tell you.
posted by scalefree at 3:06 PM on June 30, 2010


Oh yeah, you hear it in RI all the time. "NO SUH!"
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:09 PM on June 30, 2010


Well, damn. I spotted Pootie Tang on Hulu the other day - it's gone as of 8 this morning - & it was still brilliant.
posted by Pronoiac at 3:09 PM on June 30, 2010


No body is talking about the new Louis CK show anymore?

I watched both episodes and thought they were good and hilarious, respectively.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:08 PM on June 30, 2010


The only thing I don't like about Louis C.K. and his new show is the way he holds the mic on stage.
posted by mullacc at 7:41 PM on June 30, 2010


So...I watched the first two episodes of "Louie" and something odd occurred to me. And it's a bit of a stretch, so go with me on this one:

It's not just that it's set in New York City and he's a comedian. It's not just that he's redheaded and has flashbacks to his childhood where he inserts his adult self into the action. It's not just his sexual appetites or his dark world view. It's all of these things put together that make me see for the first time that Louis CK may be on the path to becoming Woody Allen.

Before you naysay, consider that Louis writes and directs this new series, as well as edits. And except for a few HUGE mistakes (the subway car that never moves, the shitty jerkiness of the school bus), he's pretty good. Not great, but learning. There's a distinct comic voice that separates him from the Seinfelds, the Chris Rocks, or even the Larry Davids.

There's a scene in the second episode that killed me. Louie is looking at himself in the mirror and he really starts checking himself out: he grabs his flabby gut, he looks at his lack of arm tone, he even pulls down his underwear to check out his ass (thanks for the nudity warning, FX. I was expecting...something more feminine) and finally, he stops, take a long look at his face, flips himself off and walks off. It's really great.

Mark my words, a few years from now, Louis CK will make some romantic comedies, then some dark, moody European stuff, but then...hold on. I can't wait to see Louis CK's equivalent of "Manhattan."
posted by ColdChef at 10:36 PM on June 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


KevinSkomsvold & msalt: I shall get myself to some Bamford forthwith. Thanks for the recommendation.

I still don't get the lack of ladies in this domain. Physical difference is no obstacle to the art, since being able to talk means you're in, and there are no longer any social norms that should prevent a woman from rocking a microphone while standing next to a stool and some bottled water, all in front of a fake brick wall.

I'm off to do my homework on this, but before I go, another "Kapa-Chow!" for Pootie Tang.
posted by Chichibio at 5:37 AM on July 1, 2010


I seem to remember that back in the early 90s when all Comedy Central did was play endless standup that there were numerous female comics -- possibly as many as 1 in 3 or 1 in 4. That could just be my memory or maybe that time period was a high water mark of female standup, or maybe CC just didn't have a lot of material.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:06 AM on July 1, 2010


Chichibio - For you.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:02 AM on July 1, 2010


In addition to Maria Bamford: Jen Kirkman, Tig Notaro, Natasha Leggero, Karen Kilgariff, Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Peretti (who was Louie's date in the show)...Janeane Garofalo is still doing stand-up and so is Sarah Silverman. No doubt that men outnumber women in stand-up, but it doesn't feel like a sausagefest to me.
posted by mullacc at 8:45 AM on July 1, 2010


You know who else still kills? Laura Kightlinger. I heard her on Marc Maron's podcast and she floored me. Again.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:20 AM on July 1, 2010


mullacc, amazing, I've only ever heard of Garofolo (meh) and Silverman (whom I like and should have mentioned in my first comment). I'll crank up the YTubes.

Yet, what msalt said about how "80% - 90% of new open mic'ers are guys" feels true to someone like me who is not an insider in the biz, and that's a sausagefest, my man. Whereas in 2010 an estimated 40% of British lawyers are women, and we're talking about a job that was legally barred to them until 1919.

Anyway, Louis CK, not a sexist, but working in a strangely sexist industry.
posted by Chichibio at 10:32 AM on July 1, 2010


Margaret Smith, Kathleen Madigan, Jo Brand, Debra DiGiovanni, Wendy Liebman, Nikki Payne, Tracey MacDonald...
posted by Sys Rq at 10:58 AM on July 1, 2010


Judy Gold, Susie Essman, Ellen Degeneres, Rosie O'Donnell, Margaret Cho, Kathy Griffin, Joy Behar...
posted by Sys Rq at 11:04 AM on July 1, 2010


I knew I'd love getting schooled on the blue. I've only watched a half a dozen of the examples above and fuck, brilliant! Tig Notaro is amazing (her No Moleste bit is hysterical) and Chelsea Peretti, a close second. Wendy Liebman, also very funny.

I'll ignore Ellen Degeneres, Rosie O'Donnell, and Joy Behar because they're no longer known as stand up comics, to my knowledge. I mean, Bette Midler would count if we were going there.
posted by Chichibio at 5:01 PM on July 1, 2010


Tig Notaro is amazing. She headlined the Bridgetown Comedy Festival and did a 15 minute story with about 100 words in it that killed. She's also drier than freeze-dried tandoori dessicant, so be prepared for a unique style. Maybe it's not as striking to non-comedians, but her comfort with silence on stage is godlike.
posted by msalt at 5:58 PM on July 1, 2010


80% - 90% -- that's a sausagefest, my man. Whereas in 2010 an estimated 40% of British lawyers are women, and we're talking about a job that was legally barred to them until 1919.

Well, I'm only really familiar with the NW USA, but I haven't seen any signs that it's much different elsewhere. And it is striking because there are literally no barriers. Anyone can get up at the mics, and it's pretty much a meritocracy. Maybe if it required an advanced degree...
posted by msalt at 6:02 PM on July 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I still don't get the lack of ladies in this domain. Physical difference is no obstacle to the art, since being able to talk means you're in, and there are no longer any social norms that should prevent a woman from rocking a microphone while standing next to a stool and some bottled water, all in front of a fake brick wall.

This Salon article (has it been linked to yet?) talks a little bit about perceptions of women and humor. A lot of shit hath been said about the subject apparently:

The subtext of all "Women: Funny? Discuss" pieces seems to be that women can trade on their sensuality or their humor but not both. Should we pile on with a list? Paula Poundstone, Ellen DeGeneres, Fran Lebowitz, Nora Ephron -- the criteria for a career in comedy used to be that you not be conventionally attractive in the eyes of conventional men.

Though attitudes are slowly changing, Tina Fey herself must be bored with reading profiles that wink wink nudge nudge over how she's surprisingly do-able for a smart, funny lady. (I'm bored just typing that sentence.) For reasons that elude me, American culture loves throwing out these binary options and then feigning -- or is it real? -- surprise when the world proves three-dimensional. That we're still having this conversation speaks to the genius of the Bechdel Test for Women in Movies. People fed a steady pop culture diet are not accustomed to images of well-rounded women -- let alone women who don't fret much over men, Oscar gowns, low-fat yogurt, yoga mats, babies or Sephora.
posted by Think_Long at 12:08 PM on July 2, 2010


Louis CK's bluest material . One of my favorite stand up comedy pieces.

He stole that dolphin safe tuna bit from Denis Leary.
posted by empath at 2:08 PM on July 2, 2010


The subtext of all "Women: Funny? Discuss" pieces seems to be that women can trade on their sensuality or their humor but not both.

Doesn't seem to be true any more. Sarah Silverman, Maria Bamford, Natasho Leggero -- if anything the new paradigm seems to be funny, smart, and hawt.
posted by msalt at 3:38 PM on July 2, 2010


Against my better judgment, but at the suggestion of many of you here, I am about to watch "Pootie Tang" for the very first time.
posted by ColdChef at 7:55 PM on July 3, 2010


Huh. Ooooooookay.
posted by ColdChef at 8:11 AM on July 4, 2010


Why would that be against your better judgment?
posted by msalt at 12:31 PM on July 4, 2010


FYI, the new episode just started, and the AV Club gave it good marks. Also: Ricky Gervais is guest-starring! Yay.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:05 PM on July 6, 2010


Rhaomi: Also: Ricky Gervais is guest-starring

Eh, I'll watch it anyway.
posted by paisley henosis at 8:08 PM on July 6, 2010


Why Louis CK Matters.
posted by ColdChef at 12:25 PM on July 14, 2010


Thanks for reminding me, the show's finally up on Hulu now.
posted by Think_Long at 12:34 PM on July 14, 2010


An exchange from a recent interview Louis CK did with NPR's Fresh Air:
Louis CK: But if I'm with a woman and she wants to be with me, she must like me. I definitely have sex with my T-shirt on, always. I haven't had sex without a shirt on, God, since I was about 23."

Terry Gross: Is that true?

Louis CK: Yeah, I just don't think that's fair. I mean, you know, let her think she's with somebody decent, you know? ... I do have sex sometimes on the show, and there's a rule that I have to be on my back.

Terry Gross: Why, because your stomach flattens?

Louis CK: Well, no, God, no. I'm not laying back in that bed thinking, "I look awesome right now." It's because I think I should always be the victim of the sex. I don't think anyone wants to see me looming over her. I think that's an upsetting image. And then also, the mother-dog stomach that I get when I'm ... you get the point.
It succeeded in getting Fresh Air banned in Mississippi. His response:
I guess what I’d ask you to do, Mississippi, is go ahead and let there be something on the air that you don’t like, because your neighbor may like it; somebody in your family may like it; and you may benefit from hearing it. I think it’s a shame when people want to stop something from being on the air because they don’t agree with it. There’s a lot of things on television that I hate, but I’m glad they’re there, and I watch them. I don’t like Glenn Beck; I don’t like Bill O’Reilly. But I watch them, and the reason I do is because I want to understand people I disagree with; I think you grow from that. I’m glad that this country has such a wide spectrum of ideas, and that everyone can express them.
posted by Rhaomi at 3:31 PM on July 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


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