Sunday, June 3, 2012

Louis C.K. : America’s Unlikely Conscience.

Louis C.K.'s unique sense of humor consistently straddles and often crosses the line of offensive, vulgar, awfulness. Many of his jokes obviously fall in the "no-go zone", or were just "too soon" and are embarrassingly hilarious in an shameful way (better off laughed to alone to avoid judgement). He commonly jokes about the frustrations of being a parent, raising two daughters alone, and how exhausting it is.  However, he is brutally honest throughout, speaking his mind no matter how delicate or perverted the issue. He isn't afraid of admitting who he is and openly owns his tendencies to sit on his ass all day, eat ice cream, order pizza, jack-off, and finish on a cat's face.

Does he go too far? Would people would even listen through the obscenities to see Louie for who he really is? Would they get his message? Content of comedic material today often gets condemned as offensive or crude, and it often is. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but isn't the concept of comedy, to point out our habit of complicating things, poor choices, and embarrassing realities? To find the humor in ironic, moral and ethical situations life puts us in?

Aside from his poor choice in diet, and admitting that he would "totally have sex with animals" if no one had told him not to, there's a strict moral code that he believes in and it points out the awful realities that we have grown accustomed to. He brings to light how it is that we sophisticate and construct ourselves to meet these stressful social standards and complain about our complicated lives when we have it so easy. He poses question after question of asking how people can be so selfish. He delivers a powerful blow by gawking at the immorality of the American Dream while admitting that he's totally part of the problem.
“I drive an Infiniti. That’s really evil. There are people who just starve to death – that’s all they ever did. T Meanwhile I’m driving in my car [kicking back music blaring] having a great time, and I sleep like a baby. There’s people who are like, born and they go ‘Uh, I’m hungry’ then they just die, and that’s all they ever got to do.
It’s totally my fault, ’cause I could trade my Infiniti for a [less luxurious] car… and I’d get back like $20,000. And I could save hundreds of people from dying of starvation with that money. And everyday I don’t do it. Everyday I make them die with my car.
He seems to be one of few that own their way of life for what it really is. Rather than attempt to project this delusional identity of morality and righteousness; he says what so few are willing to admit. If that were true, we wouldn't act as if the world is ours for the taking. We say we are equals but greed and power prevail time and time again, while the rest fight for survival. We want to consider ourselves civilized, but we have missed the mark somehow. We should be grateful but we act as if we're entitled. Life is full of moral decisions, comprises, and contradictions. According to Louie, "Life is something we do not posses, but something we get to take part in."

Unexpectedly, people are laughing and apparently listening. Despite what he might say, its obvious that his daughters mean the world to him, and that he's a great dad, dedicated to raising them to be decent human beings. At first, it appeared he would be highly unlikable, and expected to be scolded by the media for, what appears to be, disrespect for the sensitive issues he commonly jokes about. The truth is, we live in a world where "fuck" is said every other line in PG-13 movies, sex sells, and reality TV shows are considered prime time television. What about that isn't a joke? Its laughable and awful. In the world of comedy, especially today, almost anything is game. Louie makes the sad, shameful truths of American life terribly hilarious in the way he presents them. That doesn't mean that he affirms them, in fact -- his jokes are aimed at how either ungrateful we are to keep doing what is so clearly wrong.

His sit-com premiered on FX in 2010, and from commercial break trailers out months before it aired attracted much attention to his name, Louis C.K.. Louie has been doing stand up for quite some time and until recent years has been only popular to the underground comic scene. Obviously his show effectively improved his career because as he traveled the country and for the first time, his shows were selling out and being moved to bigger venues. Just a few months prior, he performed fifteen minutes small clubs filled by drunks and local New Yorker fans. Louie has come a long way, from being a comic we were only comfortable laughing to alone, then processing the shame that followed, to making it to  Time magazine's list, "The 100 Most Influential People In The World"  nominated by career comic, Joan Rivers.

Yeah, so I borrowed a line from Atlantic Magazine and rephrased it as my title, so what. Here's me giving credit. I must say, Louie is blowing up, and I am thrilled.

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