Louis C.K. and David Lynch, A Match Made In Dreams

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Back in September, I was watching some ’90s romantic comedy with my mother on the couch when a good friend text me saying, "Are you watching?" To which I replied, "Watching what?" "Louie. David Lynch," he said. I practically flew into the next room, turned on the television, and didn’t stop squealing with delight for a good fifteen minutes. I mean, yes, how many times I have seen David Lynch’s face—hell, I even hugged him last year—but it’s not everyday I turn on my television and there he is alongside Louis C.K., you know? Seeing that perfectly sculpted quaff of hair and hearing that "Jimmy Stewart from Mars" voice is always going to make me happy. And thanks to Louis, Lynch came into the living rooms of America once again with his brief but memorable role as Jack Dall, on Louie.

As Louie’s industry veteran/on-camera coach, Lynch’s role as Jack was as bizarre and wonderful as one could hope for. And after the show aired I couldn’t help but realize the similarities between the two men. The more I thought about it, the more they seemed made for each other—cut from different ends of the same cloth—on side heavily tethered to life’s mundane frustration and ennui, the other off in some nightmarish dreamscape—yet each dealing with what the hell it means to simply exist. But Lynch and Louis both are tremendous good at what they do and unwavering in their particular sensibilities. They show heightened versions of reality with absurd characters and plot lines that not only reveal the things we ignore or choose to hide but also find the humor in the darkest places. In writing about the episode back in the fall that:

…when you really think about it, you can almost see a direct parallel between Louis’s character Louie and Henry in Eraserhead. Just think about the infamous dinner scene in beginning of Eraserhead in comparison to the season opening with Louie and his girlfriend in a diner. Both Louie and Henry are perennially wearing a face of perplexed anxiety or confusion as they kind of meander through life, just trying to get by while the dual fears of failure and parenthood loom over them. The absurd characters that pop up on Louie really do feel like they could have been plucked from Lynch’s own coffee pot—for example, that kid who “diarrhea’d in the bathtub” or the parents that just pounce on Louie for help, it seems, whenever he goes to pick his daughters up from school. There’s also Louie’s use of long, painfully awkward takes that leave you questioning whether to cringe or to laugh, that feel inherently Lynchian in their almost uncanny delivery. 

But anyhow, as two of my favorite working humans in show business, I was excited to see that Louis had recently gone into great detail with NYT’s Art Beat about casting Lynch. He reveals that after being turned down by Ben Gazzara (because he had passed away), Jerry Lewis, and Martin Scorsese, he happened upon Lynch and as a massive admirer realized, this is the guy:

I thought, “That would be really weird. It doesn’t make any sense. It makes no sense.” I put him in my head and I read the script and I’m like, “This is way better than any of those guys. This is the only guy that could ever do it. If I don’t get David Lynch, I’m not doing it."

But if course the process wasn’t easy, taking two months to seal the deal. Louis also goes on to say that:

I’ve learned when you work with people that are heroes to you, you have to be really careful, especially if you’re directing them. It’s unsettling to act and you feel a little untethered, and the director makes you feel like someone else is in control and it helps you. So when the director is someone going, “Oh my God, I’m like the biggest fan of you” – when he showed up, I said “Hi” to him, quickly. “You have any questions? Thank you for coming.” And I stayed away from him. And we just started shooting. The first thing we shot was him coming to say goodbye to me, his last scene. And he comes and sits down and he just says, “Well, I’ve done my part. Now it’s up to you. It’s just, if you can do it.” I’m sitting there in character, going, “I can’t believe how good everything he says is. This is way better than I thought it would be.” He had it perfectly memorized. He had something to prove as an actor.

You can read the article in its entirety HERE and if you haven’t seen the episode, I suggest you find a way to do that immediately.

Is Louis C.K. Moonlighting as a Peeping Tom?

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Posters have popped up at Edison Community Park in Huntington Beach, California with an ominous message: a peeping tom is hanging around a trailer park and has already been caught looking in on underaged girls as they’re undressing. The weird part? Not that some dubious character would be creeping around California trailer park, for sure. The picture of the alleged creeper is none other than beloved comedian Louis C.K. A weird prank? A baffling viral marketing campaign? It’s a mystery! [via LAist]

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Louis C.K. Doesn’t Want Fans To Die In Hurricane Sandy, Cancels NYC Show

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"I know that a lot of people are excited to come and they are fine with taking the chance, but I really don’t want a pole to smash your face in because you saw some comedy," wrote Louis C.K. on his web site today as he cancelled this evening’s show over Hurricane Sandy.

Flavorwire notes that just yesterday C.K. emailed ticketholders and said the show would still go on, but offered a refund to anyone who did not want to risk the bad weather. Today that changed. Explaining that New York City’s MTA has officially shut down buses, subways and trains after 7p.m., C.K. wrote in a letter to fans that he didn’t want to inconvenience or endanger anyone who was unsure how to get in/out of Manhattan to the City Center or whether they should skip the show. In a lesser-of-two-evils compromise, he opted to cancel. C.K. praised the City Center for allowing him to reschedule the gig for all ticketholders on March 2 (or offer a refund).

C.K. continues:

I know that probably it’s going to be a starry clear night and the trains are going to be just gliding up and down the traks and a baby zebra is going to whinny as he trots by the City Center on a night that is going to break records for being placid and perfect for a night of comedy. And I’m going to feel like an asshole. And I know that some people had their plans set and are going to be pissed off at me. I know. but I also know that some of you are struggling with whether to come in or miss the show and this is the closest I can get to a solution. You don’t have to take a chance and you don’t have to miss the show. Just come see me in a few months.

If it’s any consolation, I’m eating a pretty staggering fee for cancelling the show. But I can take it. What I can’t take is the thought that there’s a CHANCE 4300 people will be in danger trying to get home from my stupid show.

Aw, what a mensch.

Undoubtedly some of C.K.’s fans are probably bummed by having to wait another five months for their comedy show. But on the bright side? Look at this as an opportunity to get drunk off hurricanes and watch old episodes of Louie on Netflix.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Louis C.K. To Host ‘Saturday Night Live’

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Louis C.K. is set to for his first-ever hosting gig on Saturday Night Live on November 3 with musical guest Fun, says The Hollywood Reporter.

All I have to say about this is that I hope he doesn’t sing and dance in the opening monologue, because that’s just going to be awkward.  It will be a sooner return to TV than waiting around for his FX show, Louie, which is on extended hiatus. "I don’t want it to be making the doughnuts. I want it to keep being something that comes from somewhere fun and important, and I want it to stay funny. It’s a luxury that I asked for, which is more time to create Season 4," C.K. told a reporter from the New York Times. C.K. has also been crisscrossing the country on a comedy tour.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

There Are No Television Comedies Other Than ‘Modern Family,’ Apparently

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So, the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards were last night, and considering we still have a bad taste in our mouths from our inappropriate drunk uncle Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars, for the most part, they were actually pretty fun to watch. Jimmy Kimmel had some funny bits, Giancarlo Esposito and Aaron Paul hugged it out and made us all verklempt, Lena Dunham ate cake naked and Julia-Louis Dreyfuss and Amy Poehler stole the show with their acceptance speech switcheroo.

In terms of the awards themselves, the recipients were almost painfully predictable, especially in the comedy category. The drama awards were mostly bang-on, as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the most part avoided the soapy pleasure of Downton Abbey and Don Draper’s steely gaze to actually reward what probably are the two best dramas on TV right now, Homeland and Breaking Bad (Aaron Paul’s Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award made our hearts happy). And Louis C.K. took home two awards — one the writing on Louie and one for his standup special at the Beacon Theatre.

But in terms of comedy, once again, the Academy chose to throw Louie its one bone—the equivalent of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences giving the most envelope-pushing film of the year Best Original Screenplay and then kind of ignoring it the rest of the night—and then choosing to celebrate thoroughly mediocre stuff. In a run similar to the one Frasier made in the mid-‘90s, for the past three Emmy cycles now, Modern Family has dominated the comedy categories to the point where even better stuff from the banal, laugh track-y, Chuck Lorre school of TV comedy was ignored (come on, as eye-roll-worthy as The Big Bang Theory can be sometimes, seeing Mayim Bialik win an Emmy, especially as the show’s saving grace that is Amy Farrah Fowler, åwould have been golden). All four of Modern Family’s big winners—Outstanding Supporting Actress Julie Bowen, Outstanding Supporting Actor Eric Stonestreet (convinced that there is one dude voting in the Academy who is just still totally super shocked that a straight dude can play a preening gay man even though this is 2012, y’all), Director Steven Levitan and the show for Outstanding Comedy Series — are repeat wins, with the show itself and Levitan earning them back-to-back-to-back. This year, the rest of the show’s adult cast members were nominated for acting awards.

I like Modern Family. It’s cute. Ty Burrell and Sofia Vergara are eternally fun to watch. I usually walk away from it not hating myself. My whole family watches it (cross-demographic appeal!). And granted, the Outstanding Comedy Series pool was a little thin this year—the token Lorre (The Big Bang Theory), two former comedy powerhouses that are still very funny but mostly over-the-hill (30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm), and the two other HBO shows, Girls and Veep, which were long shots anyway. But at a time and place where so many awesome things are happening with television comedy, at a time when a fart and smunny show like Parks & Recreation or something that, love it or hate it, can spark an international conversation like Girls or a show that is so funny and so human like Louie or a show that celebrates its dweebiness so joyfully like Community or a great traditional thirtysomethings-in-the-city sitcom like Happy Endings can all exist, it seems a disservice to let more of the same rack up statue after statue. It seems kind of silly to rant—the Emmys will probably never change and TV comedy is full of niches and Modern Family certainly isn’t the worst thing to happen to television ever. But when the whole run of programming is so totally awesome, it would just kind of be nice seeing the celebration of the awesomeness spread around a bit. At least Leslie Knope won her city council election. Better luck next time, Team Dunphy.

So, to make ourselves feel better about everything, here’s Aaron Paul’s acceptance speech again. 

“This is the Guy”: David Lynch’s Guest Appearance on ‘Louie’

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As a victim of my own youth, I never watchedTwin Peaks when it was on the air. And even now, it’s very rare to flip through the channels and seeBlue Velvet or Lost Highway or Mulholland Dr. playing. Not only that, but it’s been over half a decade since David Lynch had a film to promote. So the concept of turning on my television and seeing that perfectly sculpted quaff of white hair and hearing that “Jimmy Stewart from Mars” timbre is not usually something to be expected. But leave it to Louis CK to change that.

From Parker Poser and Chloe Sevigny to Marc Maron and Melissa Leo, this season of Louie has featured some pretty notable guest appearances. But last night’s episode, the second installment of his Late Night saga, featured the king of absurdity himself, David Lynch, as Louie’s coach—a bizarre and surreal character that was as wise as he was hilarious. And people went nuts for it. As it turns out, the crossover between David Lynch fanatics like myself and Louie fans is surprisingly large—and rightfully so. The more I think about it, the more these two make a perfect pairing; one is grounded in the mundane reality of everyday life, the other off in some nightmarish dreamscape. But at the end of the day, both are just regular guys with tremendous control over their skill, using their work to show a heightened version of reality that not only reveals the things we ignore or choose to hide but also finds the humor even in the darkest of places.

This past July, Louis CK broke the record for the most Emmy nominations in a single year. The person to hold that title before him? David Lynch for Twin Peaks. And although Louie and Twin Peaks have almost nothing in common on a conceptual level, they both ushered in a new kind of television series that pushed boundaries and broke from the typical sitcom or drama format that was as lovable as it was twisted, setting them miles above everyone else. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in July, Louis said, “I love that David Lynch had the record before me. I love him. He’s like an idol of mine.”

And when you really think about it, you can almost see a direct parallel between Louis’s character Louie and Henry in Eraserhead. Just think about the infamous dinner scene in beginning of Eraserhead in comparison to the season opening with Louie and his girlfriend in a diner. Both Louie and Henry are perennially wearing a face of perplexed anxiety or confusion as they kind of meander through life, just trying to get by while the duel fears of failure and parenthood loom over them. The absurd characters that pop up on Louie really do feel like they could have been plucked from Lynch’s own coffee pot, for example, that kid who “diarrhea’d in the bathtub” or the parents that just pounce on Louie for help, it seems, whenever he goes to pick his daughters up from school. There’s also Louie’s use of long, painfully awkward takes that leave you questioning whether to cringe or to laugh, that feel inherently Lynchian in their almost uncanny delivery. Whether you can see the multiple comparisons or not, there’s no denying last night’s episode was one of the best of the season and proved not only that Louie’s writing just keeping getting better and better, but that if David Lynch really isn’t making movies anymore, then perhaps it’s time someone gave him his own late night talk show.


Image via Jake Fogelnest

‘Louie’ Returns Thursday (Awkwardly, Of Course)

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Season three of Louie returns to FX this Thursday, June 28, and foulmouthed ginger Louis C.K. is back with more of the same. Which is great, of course, because what he’s got is excellent. Louie‘s return will see more even explorations of friendships, conundrums as a parent, and of course, the hits-and-misses of the dating scene as a 40-something father and divorcée.

In real life, C.K. is the father of two girls ages seven and 10, of whom he has joint custody. Plenty of celebrities refuse to mine their young children for material, but in C.K.’s case, he’s interested in telling both the charming and the uniquely sexist experiences of being a devoted but part-time dad. He told the New York Post:

When you’re divorced and have part-time custody of your kids, that’s something I have a vivid perspective on. When you have your daughters with you half the week and you’re really taking care of them, and then you take them for lunch and the waitress says, ‘Isn’t that cute that you’re out with your daddy,’ you kinda want to punch her in the face. It’s very patronizing. Because a lot of people expect that if a father’s with his kids, it’s an unusual event, or his birthday or something. A lot of people don’t know what that feels like, and I do.

Whether C.K. actually punches any waitresses in the face in Louie remains to be seen. But I’d bet good money at least one of his onscreen love interests — this season will see Parker Posey, Melissa Leo, Gaby Hoffmann, and Maria Bamford in the hot seat — will want to punch him. For example, he described his Hoffman relationship thusly to the Post:

What’s the worst thing guys do when they break up. Well, they don’t do it. They won’t break up. They make her do it. So I make myself a real asshole for that whole episode.

So true. So true. Man, on behalf of all womankind, I want to punch him myself.

Will Louis C.K.’s CBS Sitcom Be a Hit?

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Now that Louis C.K. is famous, he can work on staying paid: CBS has ordered a half-hour comedy from him and writer Spike Feresten for immediate development. As The Hollywood Reporter says, "the project centers on an ensemble of young people who are trying to achieve their creative dreams in these tough financial times." Sounds like HBO’s Girls with more dudes, then. We can’t wait.

C.K. is, of course, horrendously busy with Louie, going strong at two seasons — he writes, directs, edits, scores and acts in the show, which seems like it should take up all of his time. But there ain’t no money like CBS money because CBS money keeps flowing, what with all the Two and a Half Men merchandise there is to push like Blu-ray box sets and Charlie Sheen-branded condoms. Feresten is active in his own right, with a writing credit on an untitled comedy being developed by Fox — if you forgot, he used to write for Seinfeld (Soup Nazi!) and The Simpsons, as well as his own late-night show a few years ago. With such a creative pedigree, how could this show fail?