May 24, 2007

When Barbara Walters met Louie C.K.

I loved this AV Club interview with Louis C.K., which has a lot about why his HBO comedy "Lucky Louie" failed. The part about Barbara Walters is rich:
AVC: How did The View initially approach you to come discuss Lucky Louie? Did they say "Barbara Walters has seen your show, she thinks you're the antichrist, you're vulgar, and we'd like to have you on so you can defend yourself"?

LCK: Oh no. Wouldn't that have been nice, if that's what they did? I actually reached out to them, because I had been on the show before. Joy Behar used to do a thing called "Comedy Corner," where you'd sit with her and she would set you up and you'd do your jokes. They asked me to do that a bunch of years ago and I said no, because The View is not my crowd. But the producer of the show called me at home and said, "What are you doing Tuesday that you can't take a town-car and just go be on a ladies' TV show?" So I said sure, and I did it, and I had a great time. The thing about the audience there is, they're very enthusiastic, positive people. And I like ladies. I like all ladies of all different ages. Ladies 40-plus, they're a great target for Lucky Louie. They come up to me in droves on the streets. That's a big demographic of who comes up to me to say they love my show, these older ladies.

So I said, "Let's get on The View," and we called them, and they said sure. The producer told me, "Oh we got the tapes, and the shows are great. It's a great show, it's going to be so much fun, we're excited about it." And then I get there, and I meet Fonzie. He loves the show, and everybody keeps coming—people with headsets and in suits and clipboards keep coming by my dressing room to say that they just love the show. And then the segment producer comes in my dressing room and says, "Okay. I have to talk to you. It turns out Barbara and the ladies didn't really watch it 'til last night, and they were horrified, and Barbara's going to say something about it in her 'Hot Topics' moment." Then she turns on the f*cking monitor and I'm watching her, live, saying that it's a terrible show. So it was a bit of a sandbagging. I didn't expect it.

AVC: It wasn't just her saying, "I watched your show, it's not really my cup of tea," it was her saying it's vulgar, it's disgusting what your character does with his wife, the whole idea was sexist and racist…

LCK: Yeah, that made me really mad. She said that, and they told me this before, too, that her objection to the show was that we're having sex and my wife looks bored. This is what's f*cking wrong with c*nts like her, is that she thinks women should be depicted, you know, the way my wife on the show makes fun of. Like, with her hand on her head, "Oh, it should be romantic." And the idea of letting a woman—and, by the way, it's her story, it's the wife's story—letting her show what it's like to be bored in bed with your husband and trying to find something in bed without cheating on him, like f*cking Desperate Housewives and all these whorish shows that people like Barbara love… They love shows about cheating, they love soap operas, and on the segment before me, they're telling women how to eat malnourishing food while keeping their figure. I mean, it's just all so obscene to me. They do nothing for women, and then she goes and calls [my show] sexist. And yeah, we do an episode where we confront race, and we talk about the awkwardness of race relations, and she calls it racist. So inside, I was shaking. I was like, "I f*cking hate her right now."
(Asterisks added.)

They love my show, these older ladies. Yeah, Louie, I loved your show. Though I kind of hated it at first because it replaced "The Comeback," which was another great HBO comedy that not enough people got, and HBO didn't keep around long enough to let more people figure it out or just to support edgier sitcoms that some people love.

By the way, it's her story, it's the wife's story... Yes, isn't it interesting that people don't want to see the gritty reality of a married woman struggling with an inadequate sex life and not demanding more romance?

It's just all so obscene to me.... He's talking about "The View"!

ADDED: Video of the "View" appearance: Part 1 and Part 2.


Jeff said...

Louis CK is an interesting guy. He used to host a small variety show of comics called "Louis C.K.'s Filthy Stupid Talent Show". It's where I first saw Sarah Silverman and Todd Barry. It was really hilarious in a deadpan way. He looks like your average suburban guy turned comedian, but he's a high school dropout who made a really different path for himself to get where he is. Plus, he wrote and directed Pootie Tang!

Louis' View appearance can be seen here and here.

Rich said...

Missing one fucking asterisk in the LCK's second quoted paragraph.

Joan said...

I couldn't sit through an entire episode of "Lucky Louie." It was so blunt and crude, to me, that I couldn't laugh at it. Combine that with a less-than-attractive cast and I had no incentive to watch it. Having said that, I fully realize that humor is subjective perhaps more than any other art form, and after reading this, I feel maybe I should've given the show a more fair chance. OTOH, why should I have to overcome my distaste for a tv show? It's supposed to be entertainment, not work.

What's likely at this point is I'll catch it in re-runs and perhaps not switch it off as quickly as I might have before.

SteveR said...

I don't know much about Louie, but he's got "The View" figured out.

Barry said...

I watched the interview. Henry Winkler set them straight before they got to Louis. He said that
"the line" in comedy gets drawn by the audience - they can just not watch if they feel offended.

Louis does a great job in the interview, and while you can tell he's a little nervous (or trying not to be pissed), he comes across well.

In the AV Club interview, I liked this comment from Louis about how critics today are like bloggers:

"But reviewers now just go, they're like bloggers, they go, "Ha ha hi. Don't bother seeing this, it's shit. Trust me, it's crap. I like this show. That show I just saw sucks. Fuck you. And by the way, I ate a muffin today.""

And by the way... I DID eat a muffin today. Blueberry. Low Fat. Delicious.

George said...

Having never heard of this comedian, he comes off sounding like a lunatic and not a funny one.

I'd love to see someone do an interview with Barbara Walters and have her watch clips of herself in her heyday in the late '60s through the late '70s and ask her what she thinks has become of TV, her career, and American society.

blake said...

Obviously, whether or not he's funny is a matter of taste. But if you want to see nasty, visit his website where he defends Opie & Anthony. (And I even agree that O&A shouldn't have been yanked, but--well, go read his site.)

He's dead accurate though that his show was more wholesome (despite being incredibly crude) than any soap. A genuinely low-income family trying to make it work and dealing wtih all the messy realities of family life: kids are weird; sex is challenging; juggling creditors is a pain, etc. A little bit like early "Roseanne".

Too bad it was cancelled. It was developing nicely.

Synova said...

We don't get HBO so...

Funny I was reading the last comment... "A genuinely low-income family trying to make it work and dealing wtih all the messy realities of family life: kids are weird; sex is challenging; juggling creditors is a pain,"

And I'm thinking... yeah, like Rosanne.

And yeah, cheating *is* more offensive than being bored during sex.

If this guy's show was more like Rosanne than Married with Children and a person had a high crude tolerance, It probably *is* better than all the soaps out there and Desperate Housewives. (and all "reality" versions of same)

Wade Garrett said...

I know that a lot of girls my age (mid-20's) liked his show. I can't speak to the older ladies.

However, I've always maintained that Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives are both terrible shows, and that in 20 years women are going to look back on them and say "these shows did nothing but reinforce negative female stereotypes; why did we ever make them popular?" I don't understand why so many women like them so much. On the other hand, a lot of women hate Woody Allen, but his movies typically have more realistic and fully drawn female characters than either of those above-mentioned shows.

On a seperate note, the Dana Carvey Show featured, among others, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carrell, Louis C.K., Charlie Kaufman, Robert Smigel, Dino Stamatopoulos and a young Dave Chappelle. How was it not more of a success?

Douglas said...

I like the show, it's WRONG! yes, and it's somewhat vulgar, but normal life is like that.

what pissed me off about the clips, is watch about halfway through the interview, you see barbara trying to "apologize" by reaching out to louis, when really what she is trying to do is get him to shut up while she offers her own commentary, but louis keeps going.

Without a doubt louis came off the better, and bab's came off as a self righteous bitch.

JimM47 said...

I remember hearing about this show on Fresh Air and found it quite interesting: streaming archive.