The comedian Kevin Pollack just released an awesome documentary called “Misery Loves Comedy” about how depression, axiety and social awkwardness play deeply into the careers of many (if not all) comedians. That topic of discussion will always make you think of one individual in particular: Louie C.K.
In the world of “taking my sorrow and my rediculous life and making it funny” Louie reigns supreme, and more so over the past few years due to his TV show “Louie”. Although it seems like a “day in the life” type of show, what you actually realize by the end of the first season is that it’s an Epic. Like Odyssius, Louie is just trying to make it through life with his sanity, career and kids intact. Being a Father of a little Girl, his relationship with his daughters and the way they interact really hit home, and they will with any parent. His dedication to his kids and his skills as a Dad, awkward though they may be, truely reflect being a Dad in modern society. Surrounded by a judgemental world, feeling the pressure of having to provide mixed with the innocence, intelligence and naiveness of his kids, plus the unrelenting love between them all makes for a perfect showcase.
Its a wonderful balance between both sides of his life, being himself and being a parent. Because he only has the kids 3 days a week, he has a lot of time to himself and that can be dangerous for your psyche as a parent. For all of us, you have to pick and choose the moments when you are able to act out accordingly to your “pre-parenthood” personality, constantly thinking of how it will affect the kids. Being that Louie has a few days of “buffer” between when he has the kids with him, he can act out a little more freely while still handling the responsibilities of parenthood. It’s an interesting mix of what seems like two characters, the free-for-all lifestyle of a middle aged comedian with decent change in his pocket, and the SuperDad provider and caregiver.
The story of Louie is a brilliant balance of thought provoking, entertaining and rediculous content. How is all of this pulled off so well, you ask? One reason: he does it himself.
Yes there are producers and a crew but the entire series is written, directed, edited, produced and is led by Louie. He bought the camera’s with his own money, and although they may not be worthy of a normal film set, they are high quality and work perfectly in this medium. Backed up by an amazing menagerie of fellow comedians including Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman and Jim Norton along with the amazing performances by the actors who play his kids (Hadley Delany and Ursula Parker), Louie is an incredible series that just keeps getting better.
I heard someone say once that its along the lines of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, but this is on a level far above. It tackles all the issues of modern life such as social media, parenting, relationships and more while not taking itself too seriously, allowing the silly to come into play as much as the serious. Because that’s what life is.
Life is a series of rediculous events spread throughout our day-to-day attempts at normalcy and success. As humans we judge our lives based on our failures and successes, not really seeing the big picture. We are somehow unable or unwilling to view our lives as a “whole life”, we feel this urge to pick through the details. But by chronicalling the details of his own life for us to view and be entertained, Louie has given us a tool of perspective.
He has given us the gift of an encapsulated normal life. There are great moments and terrible moments. Awkwardness, humility, depression, sex, love, monotony, money, lack of money, places to go, people to experience, and shits to be taken. “Louie” is an average life with a lense put in front of it, and while it may harvest its stories from the details, when each episode/season ends we look back on it as a whole. Even now as each new season rolls in, critics and fans alike are able to look at it from the viewpoint of a “whole series”, a life. Taking not into consideration the details, and instead considering the body of work that it is.
Life is a big picture, and Louie is helping us see it.