For lack of simpler description, Rambling Dispatches is the sanctified space every Thursday on Heave in which Quinn McGee rants and rambles about whatever he damn well pleases. This week: Louis C.K. and the state of comedy.
So I saw an advertisement for the new season of Louie, and I began to lament my lack of the FX network in my apartment, because I don’t really get any networks. Speaking of that, I wish I knew beforehand that “limited basic channels” meant multiple Spanish news networks and like five home shopping channels. I can’t get television shows, but I can get cat print sweaters. It’s good to know this now, so I never turn the television on when I am drunk lest I end up like a friend of mine, who is the proud owner of an Ab Belt.
Anyways, I remember seeing the show, and I absolutely love Louis C.K. First off, he was the writer and director of Pootie Tang; if you have forgotten, Mr. C.K. is an almost translucent white man with red hair. That’s awesome in itself, and is made better by the fact that it was spawned from The Chris Rock Show, for which he was an award-winning writer. Not everyone knows this about him, and I was included in that until a few years ago,when I became hooked on the man. Why have I become hooked, you ask? It is because he is, pretty much by himself, returning comedy back to the roots of what is funny, and that is real life. He works in the funniest shit you will ever see happen or hear about right outside your front door.
Look at the majority of comedians. They have stories that feel like they are pulled from nothing, with these weird little “insert joke here” parts attached. I am even guilty of doing that when I tell stories to friends, and I don’t have a professional stand-up career, so there is no need for me to even do that. Two comedians come to mind when I think of the bane of comedy now, and those names are Dane Cook and Russell Brand.
I’m going to start with Dane Cook. The guy made me laugh before, but I never believed a word that came out of his mouth. He would tell stories about him looking at porn, or him out in the world in general, and would just keep elaborating and elaborating until everyone laughed. One joke was about him talking about an erection he had, and how it was like a tower. He followed it up with saying that he flicked a cashew off of it into his mouth. It’s funny, sure, but not really relatable in the slightest. Do I think he did any of the shit he said he did? Not a chance. Did he actually flick a cashew into his mouth with a mythic penile catapult of his own design? I highly doubt it, and if it is true, that is just kind of sad. He wasn’t doing real comedy, he was playing to his crowd. Though I’ll admit that’s part of entertainment, he was then an entertainer and not a comedian. To me, those two things are mutually exclusive.
My second, and he even beat out Carlos Mencia in my book, is Russell Brand, who’s just a funny accent on average shit. I won’t even sugarcoat it; I actually hate this man. To me, his is the proof that no matter how bad the cake, you can put enough frosting on it and pass it off as a fancy cake. He comes onstage and just rants gibberish and absolute stupid shit. If you read the jokes on paper, you would just shrug your shoulders and move on. Yet his stupid accent comes in and saves the bad writing. It’s evident in his acting too. What role is he playing, always? Oh, it’s the usually alcoholic, goofy accent guy who doesn’t make sense. Seeing a trend here?
Now, this leads me to my point. I like Louis C.K. because his stories are real. He talks about his kids, real world issues, and things he has experienced. And you know what? These stories are actually really funny. The world is a funny and ridiculous place. Kids are hilarious because they are just crazy, and he can relate with a lot of people because he is a dad and talks about it. He talks about the woes of children not eating, and the fact that kids will just talk about nonsense and you have to listen to them, even though they have nothing important to say, pretty much ever. You were or are a kid, a parent, or both, and have gone through things probably similar and can look back at them. The stories don’t have to be laced with additional fluff and jokes; they are funny on their own, because they stand as the lighter side of reality.
Comedy, at least to me, is another way of looking at the world. It’s another way of stomaching and viewing the really stupid and crazy things this world has to offer. Comedians have a way of taking these things and making them tolerable and funny in the ways they should be. Louis C.K. is one of the comedians who can paint the world in the colors it should be painted: real and humorous, not sugarcoated with mindless entertainment.