Louis C.K. is an Emmy-winning comedian who has worked as a writer for David Letterman, Dana Carvey, Chris Rock, Conan O'Brien, Cedric the Entertainer and on Saturday Night Live. He had his own series on HBO called Lucky Louie, which only lasted one season. This new series on FX, which he himself stars, writes, produces, directs and even edits, is brilliant, my hope is that it goes for more than just 13 episodes.
Louie, much like the TV show Seinfeld, is about a stand-up comedian and the people in his life. The show is set up where you'll see Louie performing at the Comedy Cellar, which is a real comedy club on MacDougal Street in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan. It's then inter-cut with vignettes out of Louie's life whether it's awkward dates, embarassing situations with his kids, friends, and even a doctor's appointment that's absoluting humiliating.
Except for one episode where Louie goes after a heckler who isn't really heckling but merely talking while he's trying to do his act, most of the jokes have Louie as the butt of them. Being that Louis C.K. is the writer and creator of this show, it's all self-deprecation at a max, but the way that the show is photographed makes it all so believably real. The situations are never really over-the-top as in Curb Your Enthusiasm. They're merely honest in a raw yet refreshing way.
Some characters are exaggerated for effect, but this could almost be a documentary of Louis C.K.'s life. In the episode "So Old/Playdate," where you're watching Louie in the Comedy Cellar, Louie has his back up against the brick hall in this small cabaret environment and throughout the scene you can see the shadow of the cameraman. This show is not like The Office where people break the fourth wall and start winking at the camera. Thankfully, Louie doesn't go down that route but there is a realness to it that is probably the best of any comedy series on TV right now.
There have been some really cool guest stars like Ricky Gervais and Matthew Broderick, but the best guest stars have been Louie's friends, Jim Norton and Nick DiPaolo. One episode involving Louie sitting down with his friends for a poker game honestly did not feel scripted. Louie starts a conversation with his gay friend Rick Crom and what results felt so off-the-cuff, so candid and so genuine that I was amazed just to be hearing it.
What I was also amazed to hear is the theme song that was chosen for the show. The 1970s hit song "Brother Louie" was written by Errol Brown and Anthony Wilson. It was performed by Ian Lloyd. The song was about interracial dating but because the chorus is just the repeating of Louie's name, it's somehow perfect.
Five Stars out of Five Rated TV-MA for adult content and language Airs Tuesdays on FX at 11 p.m. Running Time: 30 mins.