My Louie Problem
Look I love Louis CK. Well… I love Louis CK’s stand-up. I haven’t seen Pootie Tang or The Chris Rock Show, and I missed Lucky Louie on HBO. But the stand up! I came to CK’s stand up in the mid 2000’s and I have never laughed so hard at any stand up as I have his. He brilliant and dark and hilarious. These are things that have been written ad infinitum on the internet and I won’t rehash them here. Suffice to say though when Louie premiered on Fx I was excited.
And the first season of Louis turned out to be some of the strangest, funniest, television ever. CK was writing, directing, and editing his show and his vision was unlike anything else on tv. The humor was sometimes screamingly funny, other times pitch black, and often totally absent. He took on the etymology of the word “fag” and how it makes a gay friend feel. He reminisced about a growing up catholic. Got into a fist fight with Nic Dipaolo over politics. And in one of the most uncomfortable scenes ever ever ever, he has a date utterly ruined by a teen aged bully before coming to feel some sympathy for the kid.
It was dark, hilarious, and brilliant, and I completely missed the second season. I intended to watch it, but we no longer had cable. When Fx was growing the show’s audience in season one it gladly placed the show online for free and it was easy to keep up with, not so the second season. So I waited knowing that in time it would show up on Netflix instant watch. The season aired and it was clear that Louis CK had succeeded in making another great season of tv.
Fast forward to few months ago and season three of Louis has debuted and season two is available on Netflix. I set my DVR to record the new season three episodes and set about catching up on Netflix. I made it through about three episodes. Most of season three sits unwatched on my dvr. It’s not that the season two episodes are bad, they’re just as smart and dark and funny as season one. Yet, I don’t feel compelled to keep watching.
I think the issue is this: I like having watched Louie but I don’t necessarily like watching Louie. I like uncomfortable humor and dark humor as much as the next person, comedies without some darkness always end up feeling toothless. But Louie spends so much time right on the line of being too uncomfortable that it makes his show draining to watch. A man can only cringe so many times in 22 minutes and come back for more.
Of course this makes me feel like some combination of a philistine and a wuss. It’s just a tv show. Hell, it’s a tv show I like but I just find it hard to tune in. I have tickets to see Louis CK in December and I’ll probably spend the time between then and now feeling guilty about not watching his tv show. So what do you think readers? Should I feel guilty that Louie is a too uncomfortable for me? Or should I suck it up and enjoy the greatness amidst all that awkwardness?