Louie 2×10: “And what are you…?”

August 22nd, 2011 by | Tags:

Last weekend (Friday night?), I sat down to watch the tenth episode of Louis CK’s fantastic FX show Louie. It was a good episode, as usual. Dude is seriously talented. I wrote “seriously, absurdly talented” first right there and deleted it because it isn’t absurd at all. He’s a guy who knows his craft, who studies his craft, and clearly has a vision of how things should be. When a person with talent gets to do what he wants, the results are going to be good. There’s nothing absurd about that. That’s natural.

Anyway, check out this trailer spot for the tenth episode, “Halloween/Ellie.”

And let me tell you, this bit killed me. This hits early in the episode, before what other people would probably consider the real high point of the episode (the youngest daughter going off on someone, I’d say), but I was already done. I could’ve turned it off right there and been incredibly happy with the five minutes of TV I just watched. I buy these off Amazon for like two bucks a piece, and that interaction in the trailer? That was enough. I was completely satisfied and had one of those deep laughs that come right from your heart.

Louie is great at nailing that sweet spot of real-life awkwardness and comedy. The bit last season where he follows Tarese home (wrong clip, he buys her flowers in that one, but it’s related) was brilliant. It pulled one of those things we’ve all thought (“Oh, I bet I could woo her if I could just ______”) directly into real life and whoops, look at that, life doesn’t work like that. It’s funny because it’s mean, but it’s also funny because it’s relatable. It’s Charlie Brown missing the football after Lucy promises that she won’t pull it away this time for sure.

The most awkward thing in the world is going anywhere with young children. They either have no filter (like when my little brother, back when he was 3 or 4, said “Mommy, I don’t like her butt, she has a fat butt” about the lady in line in front of us at the BX) or they do stupid things just because they thought it would be fun.

Kids are a social faux pas waiting to happen, you know? I know this firsthand. I can only imagine how parents feel. Louis CK is great at showing you how parents would feel. The whole interaction between him and the lady–I don’t know what ladies who do nails are called–rings so true. The sort of condescending way she compliments them without even looking, and then the way she really notices the older daughter, pauses, and says, “And what are you…? Because, wow, little girl, there is no way you are actually what you look like, oh wait, yes, yes you are, wow” and the way she snaps directly to Louie like “Dude, seriously, what in the world? She’s a little girl!” is great, great writing.

Louie’s response is even better. That light stutter says so much. He’s clearly had a fight with her about the costume, and all his well-reasoned, mature, level-headed adult reasons why she shouldn’t dress up as a black guy ran up against the iceberg that is childlike innocence and being really into something after you learn about it for the first time. It’s so awkward, but so true.

I love how true this joke is. I grew up around a lot of kids, so I saw a lot of this firsthand. My aunts and uncles are probably like “You did a lot of this, too, boy,” but they aren’t here to snitch on me, so who cares. Kids do dumb things. That’s a huge part of the whole “being a kid” experience. But, looked at from the right angle, those dumb things are really, really funny. It doesn’t matter how horrible or outrĂ© or gross. There’s huge comedy potential in there. Louis CK is good at digging that stuff up and putting it where we can laugh at it. Sure, I mean, it’s terrible, that little girl is wearing blackface, whatever, but so is someone falling down after tripping over their own feet, and we all laugh at that. Everything is funny in the right light.

The best part of this gag is that that is all the attention it gets. While my first thought was that this was going to be a teachable moment, like the very good episode about Louie’s aunt, and we’d all learn a lesson about accidental racism or blackface (or whatever the technical term for non-minstrel blackface is). But, no, because, guess what? It’s 2011, the joke is that blackface is stupid, but the kid is too innocent/dumb to know better, and Louie is both too good of a dad and too bad of a dad to crush her dreams. “Well,” he probably thought to himself, “it’s just one night.”

I’ve watched this clip like eight times now while writing, and the look on the stylist’s face and her “Welp… OKAY!” response to the blackface never fails to crack me up. It’s cut a little differently on the show, and the music doesn’t cut out, but man, it’s such a good joke.

Similar Posts:

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

5 comments to “Louie 2×10: “And what are you…?””

  1. Louis is excellent; thanks for putting this up.

  2. Wow. Seriously, I have to start watching this thing.

  3. It’s the beard, totally makes up for the blackface.
    Shoot watch the trailer first and thought it was a black child with a fake beard.
    Now having read the article I see it as a child with a beard and good makeup looking like Fredrick Douglass.
    So I guess Blackface is allowed for costumes if the person throws a beard over it?

  4. […] CK’s Louie is painfully funny. I wrote about it back in August after an episode floored […]

  5. I’m going to have to check this show out. I loved his show on HBO and I’ve seen his standup. Brilliant talent.