Laughing Matters: Louis C.K., “Of Course, But Maybe”

Sometimes comedy illuminates hard truths with a pointed urgency that other means can’t quite achieve. Sometimes comedy is just funny. This series of posts is mostly about the former instances, but the latter is valuable, too.

Louis C.K. has talked openly and repeatedly about the way that George Carlin changed his career. It was Carlin’s practice of throwing out all his material once it was documented in one of his many HBO specials and then building an act anew that inspired C.K., making him go deeper and be smarter with his own work. So when C.K. signed on for his own HBO special, he paid direct homage to Carlin by recording it at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, home to one of his esteemed predecessors most notable early outings for the pay cable network.

Fittingly — and perhaps intentionally — C.K. also closed the show with the most Carlin-esque bit he’s ever created, an ingenious riff on dueling intellectual impulses that vibrates with exactly the sort of precise language disguised as casual musing that the Carlin perfected. It’s utterly remarkable.

Previous entries in this series can be found by clicking on the “Laughing Matters” tag.

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Posted in television
One comment on “Laughing Matters: Louis C.K., “Of Course, But Maybe”
  1. ccyl says:

    I saw this bit in Chicago live. I remember observing how loudly and freely everyone laughed at the suggestion that we let nut allergy kids die off (I wasn’t laughing) and then how people got all uncomfortable and weird when he moved on to veterans. His comedy did exactly what it was supposed to do and I appreciated that, but I think it also revealed the ugliness of the crowd to me. Because I happened to be in the minority that was deeply affected by the first joke, it put me in the role of observer and analyst rather than participant for the rest of it. Ultimately, it’s a really good bit, but I experienced it differently than most of his audience.

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