Nobody will make TV like Louis CK. Not in the next 50 years
Fancy shows are not my jam.
I got hooked on Game of Thrones way before the majority of Earth’s population and now I yawn with 90% of the seasons (actually the bigger the intro gets the louder I snore).
I got into Scandal because of the show’s handling of social media And because of the way it captures today’s communication paranoia. And I was an early adopter of Homeland because of its premise.
And I followed Californication from pilot to series finale because of Tom Kapinos. Big fucking spoiler: I never saw an episode of Breaking Bad or Mad Men so bring the cross cuz I got the nails in my pocket. You got all my sins here. I follow anime shows about gamers who get sucked into a giant virtual world. And I watch cartoons like Mike Tyson’s Mysteries or Chozen, which talks about a gay rapper.
Now let me tell you about my ‘crush’ for Louis CK…
It goes back probably to his Chewed Up days (Louis is a late bloomer). As a stand-up comic I rate him in my personal top 5 but I could have never predicted he would be so unique and captivating in his television adventures. If Lucky Louie gave us a subtle hint (where Pamela Adlon first starred as his wife), Louie was television’s greatest show in recent years that, in my modest opinion, was his and mankind’s best personal mirror ever. You can think of him as a pop-philosopher or a cultural ethicist but I truly believe few people can describe a human being so beautifully and tragically as Louis does. He barely talks in his shows. And yet you can recall each and every touching moment he fills the screen as fast as the most memorable Seinfeld gag.
With Horace and Pete Louis admitted he wanted to cast Joe Pesci for the main role. According to the comic, the actor said he wouldn’t do it because he thought the “show was gonna be very successful”. Here’s the catch: Louis doesn’t write for the masses. Every Netflix new… flick is bombarded to our faces just like David E. Kelley was jizzing over our TVs in the 90s: not everything is a masterpiece. With the speed of information today, shows pick your ass, not the other way around (despite Netflix’s premise I do think that: huge production values, big cast, the sets and everything, you’re almost obliged to watch one show after another and you feel left out because of some facebook post you just can’t follow).
But with Horace and Pete, a show that the comic sold in his personal website (you read this right) for 31 bucks, there’s an actual message, there’s some human connection: “We hope you like it”, he wrote in his website when he released the show. Like a film project. That’s Louis CK in a nutshell: doing stuff in his basement, don’t bother his ass.
Who needs teasers and trailers when a simple dialog written by this comic will probably hit you in the gut? The purity and beauty of a dialog sparkles instant emotion with the audience. Because I think Louis writes as he does stand up: with heart and soul. And to which fucking Game of Thrones do you even feel connected with? Emotionally? Please hit nobody and collect your prize.
Louis doing ‘punk TV’ is where he excels. No baggage of promotion, no press tours and heated expectations. It’s a show for you to stumple into and discover. No Fallon plugging bullshit or Comic Con cheap panels. Absolutely no big-time YT trailers. It’s pure magic. No logic. If Louie was in some ways written as a cartoon — characters died and came back to life, no storytelling linear structure… — Horace and Pete is silent film: every episode can take any length or form, a beloved character can be offed with no warning. Louis sets the rules of the game, not the execs. No worries for ratings or second season renewal: it couldn’t be cancelled but it might end at any time.
Making his shows as ‘private presentations’ to his fans is what makes the Bostonian comic a treasure to behold. In a world where everybody think he’s fucking Thomas Edison in Silicon Valley or the new Scorcese of Television, Louis is communicating directly to his most dedicated audience of fans. He creates bonds. Tell me 3 brands or apps that you interact with on a daily basis that do so. Please hit I got nothing and collect your burrito.
Horace and Pete arrives lightly with the creator’s note that it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. It’s an experiment. An exercise in optimism. A moment of realisation in this ‘Beyonce-ized’ society that even features an intermission, like a stage play… who does this kind of TV?!
Nobody today makes TV like him. And nobody will in 50 years.
Stop. Think. And Listen! Just like he does!
(btw, doing shows in his basement means he can actually call Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Jessica Lange, Edie Falco and even Paul Simon to do the title song)