"I would happily blow twenty guys in an alley with bleedy dicks so I could get AIDS and fuck a deer and kill it with my AIDS.
from Chewed Up
Louis C.K. began performing stand-up comedy in the late 1980s. His act has always taken Vulgar Humor
. His inspirations are George Carlin
and Richard Pryor
, and it shows.
In the 2000s, he began incorporating brutally honest observations about his marriage and children that take Refuge in Audacity
, to say the least. The Unfortunate Implications
of his complaints about his wife were easy to Hand Wave
under the Rule of Funny
...until he got divorced, perhaps causing his audience to rethink things slightly
He created and starred in Lucky Louie
's first traditional three-camera Sitcom
, and followed up with Louie
, a stand-up/auto-bio show on FX. He has also begun to emulate George Carlin
's practice of creating a new hour-long stand-up special each year.
In 2011, he broke ground in comedy by releasing a new comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theater
, exclusively online, editing it himself and funding all the production costs out of his own pocket. It could be easily bought through Paypal for only $5, and was not copy-protected.
Despite warnings about torrents and illegal downloads, in a few months the special made over a million dollars, even after Paypal fees. It was so successful that he later donated some of the proceeds, totaling $280,000, to charity. He later released an extended version of his 2013 HBO special, Oh My God
, through his website. He also hosts the most recent comedy special for his friend Todd Barry
This idea was so incredibly successful that fellow comedian Aziz Ansari
did a similar
sale for his next comedy special; Soon after, Jim Gaffigan
also released his 2012 comedy special Mr. Universe
in the same way (with some of the proceeds also going to charity). Comedy Central at its CC:Direct
website has since commercialized this model, making its specials from multiple comedians available at the same $5 price point.
Tropes explored in his stand-up and shows
- All Men Are Perverts and All Women Are Prudes: In Live at the Beacon Theater he says that the reason why these two tropes are Truth in Television is because women are great at sex while men are terrible at it.
"'Why don't women want to fuck all the time? I do!' Of course you do! Because when you fuck, you get to fuck a woman! When she fucks, she has to (disgusted) fuck a guy!"
- He has also implied in several of his bits that women aren't really that prudish, they just seem that way in comparison because men are just so much more perverted.
(from Live at the Beacon Theater
) "Women, you get
to have sexual thoughts, I have
to have them!"
(from the Just for Laughs festival) "Women have the ability to decide whether or not to have sex with their minds
. They get to look at someone and think 'Should I have sex with this person?' I have never had that thought in my life
. There's no criteria for us, just 'She's letting me!
- A Man Is Always Eager: Despite everything above, he has said that it is actually possible for a man to not want to have sex with a particular woman... but he'll still do it anyway if she's offering, forcing himself to have an erection if he must. A man never turns down sex out of sheer principle.
- Ambiguous Syntax: His reaction to being told to "Suck a bag of dicks!"
"What does he want me to do? Does he want me to take a bag of dicks and suck it, like suck the side of the bag? Does he want me to open up the bag and suck each dick individually? Do I have to make them all cum?"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: His revenge fantasy against Jizanthapus, the kid who twisted his daughter's arm comes off as this. He begins by saying he wants UN authority "to waterboard this little motherfucker", then he wants to ship him to Venezuela with a envelope over his head, and finally culminates it with how he wants to fuck his mom and never call her, then turn himself gay, find the kid's dad, turn him gay, have a romantic relationship with him for a few months, then just when the kid's dad starts cutting all ties to his old life and is ready to fully embrace being gay, Louis will go to a Christian Cure Your Gays place to make himself straight again, come back and dump the kids dad while shaming him for being gay just to make him feel bad. Because he has to protect his kids.
- Berserk Button: People who interrupt and heckle, to the point that he not only confronts them, but will aggressively single out and pick on someone who doesn't take the hint and shut up. Even addressed and justified in Louie:
- Black Comedy
- Black Comedy Rape: He'll go there.
- But Not Too Foreign: Louis C.K. is actually Mexican and Hungarian-Jewish (his actual last name is the very Magyar Szekely) on his dad's side and Irish on his mom's side. His stage surname is phonetically the same as his given one.
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Country Matters: Used excessively, but because he loves the word and he's expected to use vulgar language.
- Deconstruction: Louis manages to deconstruct the Clifford the Big Red Dog series by describing a hypothetical book, in which Clifford accidentally steps on a policeman and gets the death penalty for it.
- Disproportionate Retribution: A bit in Live At the Beacon Theater is about a kid in his daughter's class that he hates. When he sees the kid bully his daughter, he goes into an elaborate revenge fantasy that culminates in him turning himself gay, turning the kid's dad gay, having sex with him, moving away with him for a couple months, joining a Christian Cure Your Gays program to make himself straight again, calling the kid's dad a faggot, and making his life miserable from there.
- What he says he actually does qualifies as well. According to Louis, he got in the kid's face and said, "If you ever, ever, touch her again in your life I will..." but he didn't finish the threat when he saw how much it was scaring him.
- Fiery Redhead: More like sarcastic, cussing, and sometimes enraged, redhead.
- Foreign Language Tirade: He once recounted a time when a French tourist asked him for directions in French, to which Louis had no answer. This only angered the Frenchman and his friend, who shouted at him angrily, also in French.
- Gayngst: He goes on about an elaborate scheme to get back at the kid who shoved his daughter. He would turn his father gay, and just when he comes out of the closet, he would dump him and leave him as a mess of sexually confused feelings.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Think he looks and sounds a lot like Brendon's dad on Home Movies? It's not just you.
- If It's You, It's Okay: His bit on Ewan McGregor. He states emphatically that he's not gay...but that he would happily blow Ewan if he had the chance.
- No Equal Opportunity Time Travel: Black people can't fuck around with time machines. White people, by contrast, can go almost anywhere - in the past. He doesn't want to see what happens to white people in the future, because "we're gonna pay hard for this shit, you gotta know that."
- N-Word Privileges: He hates the phrase "The N Word", because everyone knows what you mean by it anyway, and you're putting the actual word into their heads when you say it. He loves "The C Word" however.
- He also defends usage of the word "faggot", because he's used it since before he knew gay people even existed.
"Faggot didn't mean
"gay" when I was a kid. You called someone a faggot when they were... being a faggot
, you know?"
- Old Shame: Invoked. This video is full of jokes he says he no longer uses.
- He makes a point of once he completes a new special to retire the previous material, as he tends to find re-cycling jokes lazy.
- Playing Against Type: His role as Dave Sanderson, a cop and really nice guy, in Parks and Recreation. He becomes Leslie Knope's boyfriend for a time in Season 2, and, being totally over the moon over her, he has nothing really bad to say about her at all.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: His new show, Louie is loosely based off his life as a comedian on stage and a recently divorced father with two children off stage.
- Refuge in Audacity: A lot of his act is based on this; saying things that are so shocking that their sheer inappropriateness becomes the joke.
- Self-Defeating Prophecy: Once stated that no one one in the audience of Inside The Actors Studio, specifically those who ever stood up to ask questions, would ever become famous. Fast forward a few years later when one of his co-stars in American Hustle, Bradley Cooper, actually did ask a question as part of the audience in the aforementioned show.
- Made even more ironic when you consider that Louis' original statement was "There's no way you ask Sean Penn a question and then, you're gonna be HUGE !" and the person who Bradley Cooper did ask a question of in the show was Sean Penn.
- Self-Deprecation: A big part of his stand-up comedy.
- Stage Names: His real name is Louis Szekely. C.K. comes from an approximate English pronunciation of his surname.
- Strawman Political: Louis can't stand people with anti-gay views, they inevitably come up at least once per show (however, in keeping with his stance on Acceptable Targets, he's got no problem with mocking gays himself, either).
Come on, Jesus didn't die on a cross so you could touch dicks in front of my cereal spoon! I'm sure that wasn't why! I mean, I wasn't there, but I assume that's not why.
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Used hilariously in his special Shameless with Ewan McGregor (see If It's You, It's Okay above).
- Vulgar Humor: Part and parcel with the above. He never passes up an opportunity to curse when a softer word would've made more sense.
- What Could Have Been: Was one of many up-and-coming comedians who auditioned to be on Saturday Night Live (around the 20th seasonnote ) and didn't make the cut. However, his not becoming an SNL cast member led to him getting a writing job for Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
- White Guilt: He has a standup bit where he extols how wonderful it is being a white male in a world that's basically run by (and for) white men. He admits that he's going to enjoy this while it lasts, because he figures karma is going to bite white men in the ass soon (and that they're going to deserve it when it does).