The 20 Best Louis CK Moments

Louis CK has been working forever. From Pootie Tang to Late Night, for decades now he’s been making people laugh and showing what a uniquely talented writer and comedian he can be. But only in the last few years with FX’s Louie, has he been able to translate his insanely intelligent and frighteningly human brand of comedy to a mass audience, finally gaining the acclaim he deserves and giving viewers a taste of something no one else has been doing. Bringing the sentiment of his standup routines into the television format, the best thing about an episode of Louie is that you can guarantee it won’t only make your stomach sore, but will provide someone form of lesson on the Louis CK method of living.

Last year, when Louis brought on David Lynch as his character’s late night mentor, I couldn’t help but be amazed by how perfect a pairing the two were, and that I never before realized how much their comedic sensibilities had in common.  Although Louis’ world is one grounded in a mundane reality of daily life and Lynch’s often operates in a nightmarish dreamscape, when it comes down to it, their thematic home base  lies  in everyday existence, using their work to show a heightened version of reality that not only reveals the things we ignore or choose to hide but also manages to find the humor even in the darkest of places. Perennially wearing a face of perplexed anxiety as he meanders through the world  just trying to get by while the fear of failure as a comedian and a father loom over him, Louie is a show stripped of affectation—its tension and excitement stemming from life’s small victories.

Rife with absurd characters that spring up and derail his day—like last season’s kid who “diarrhea’d in the bathtub” or the parents that just pounce on Louie for help at school everyday, the show has also featured a pretty fantastic wealth of guest appearances—from Amy Poehler and Robin Williams to Chloë Sevigny and Joan Rivers. And tonight, the fourteen episode fourth season of Louie begins after a year and a half away, and we could not be more excited.

So to celebrate, he’s a look back on some of our favorite Louis CK moments, from Louie to standup and a bit of everything in between.

http://youtu.be/BnAIX7fWsdU

LOUIE x Joan Rivers

LOUIS CK on Single People

http://youtu.be/-xP-m4tE4ys

LOUIE x Dane Cook

http://youtu.be/BnAIX7fWsdU

LOUIE X David Lynch

LOUIS CK 1987 Stand Up

LOUIS CK, ‘I like to hate people’

LOUIE x Parker Posey

LOUIE, Subway Scene

LOUIS CK, ‘Children and Their Secrets’

LOUIE x Ricky Gervais

http://youtu.be/m01pC9BoyY8

LOUIS CK on Late Night in 1998

LOUIS CK on Gay Marriage

http://youtu.be/4u2ZsoYWwJA

LOUIS CK, ‘You can name your kid anything you want.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpUNA2nutbk&feature=share&list=PL5103AFA6E52562BC&index=5

LOUIS CK, ‘Cell phones and flying’

LOUIE pilot

LOUIS CK Honors George Carlin

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dp_R4cIIaAI&list=PL5103AFA6E52562BC&feature=share&index=10

LOUIS CK, ‘Taking Sexual Inventory’

FX LOUIE Funnies

http://youtu.be/yPHEUb-Q-Aw

LOUIE, Season 3 ‘The Doll Scene’

ICE CREAM, a short film

Get a Closer Look at Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’ With a New Batch of Stills

Yesterday, we saw a peak at Cate Blanchett’s powerful performance in Woody Allen’s latest film Blue Jasmine. As the story of an emotionally spiraling housewife who moves to San Francisco to live with her sister, we can’t help but wonder which bag of tricks Allen picked this one from. As someone who has been churning out films in succession for years, it’s an incredible thing to watch the nuances of his work change—for better or worse—as the years go by. And speaking to the truth of life, Allen said that:

You start to think, when you’re younger, how important everything is and how things have to go right—your job, your career, your life, your choices, and all of that. Then, after a while, you start to realise that – I’m talking the big picture here – eventually you die, and eventually the sun burns out and the earth is gone, and eventually all the stars and all the planets in the entire universe go, disappear, and nothing is left at all. Nothing – Shakespeare and Beethoven and Michelangelo gone. And you think to yourself that there’s a lot of noise and sound and fury – and where’s it going? It’s not going any place… Now, you can’t actually live your life like that, because if you do you just sit there and – why do anything? Why get up in the morning and do anything? So I think it’s the job of the artist to try and figure out why, given this terrible fact, you want to go on living.
With Blue Jasmine‘s release but two weeks away, the film has been garnering praise, comparing its magic to the likes of his more antiquated works. Featuring an interesting cast that features Bobby Canavale, Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard, and Alec Baldwin, you can’t help but anticipate just how things will all mesh up together. So start amping up your neurotic excitement with a batch of new images from the film.
 
 
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See an Unraveled Cate Blanchett in a New Clip From Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’

After finding myself unsettlingly disappointed with Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love last summer, I thought it best to keep my anticipation for this next feature at bay. However, with his latest film Blue Jasmine—which premieres in just two weeks—it looks as though I may be able to dispel my fears and start counting down the seconds until I head to the cinema and get lost in the very particular world only Allen knows how to create.

And thanks to EW, we now have a first clip from the feature which highlights the film’s star Cate Blanchett in a desolate moment that makes you ache to see the film just for the brilliant perfomance she delivers (but let’s be real she could read the phone book and still be astoundingly brilliant). And as the story of a well-kept housewife who moves to San Francisco to live with her sister after her life gets turned inside out, the sprawling cast also includes Alec Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay, Louis CK, Bobby Cannavale—to name a few. 
 
There’s no advantage to ageing. You don’t get wiser, you don’t get more mellow, you don’t see life in a more glowing way. You have to fight your body decaying, and you have less options," Allen said to the Guardian. Going on to say:
The only thing you can do is what you did when you were 20 – because you’re always walking with an abyss right under your feet; they can be hoisting a piano on Park Avenue and drop it on your head when you’re 20 – which is to distract yourself. Getting involved in a movie [occupies] all my anxiety: did I write a good scene for Cate Blanchett? If I wasn’t concentrated on that, I’d be thinking of larger issues. And those are unresolvable, and you’re checkmated whichever way you go.
So with the film’s premiere on July 26th, check out the first clip from the film HERE and start scheduling your nightly Woody Allen retrospective now.

Watch the First Trailer for Woody Allen’s ‘Blue Jasmine’

In a truly saddening turn of events, Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love fell as my second least favorite film of 2012. But with his annual summer picture premiering right on schedule, it appears this time around things will be quite different. And after bypassing a debut at Sundance or Cannes this year, Allen’s latest feature, the Cate Blanchett led-Blue Jasmine already looks much rich and lively a film than To Rome. With a supporting cast that includes everyone from Andrew Dice Clay and Louis CK to Alec Baldwin and  Bobby Cannavale, the film tells the story of  a well-kept New York City housewife who moves to San Francisco to live with her sister after enduring an acute life crisis.

Speaking to the nature of filmmaking with the Guardian, Allen said:
"It’s a bad business. It’s a confirmation that the anxieties and terrors I’ve had all my life were accurate. There’s no advantage to ageing. You don’t get wiser, you don’t get more mellow, you don’t see life in a more glowing way. You have to fight your body decaying, and you have less options." In 46 years as a director, he hasn’t budged on his position that there’s only one response: watch a basketball game, play the clarinet. "The only thing you can do is what you did when you were 20 – because you’re always walking with an abyss right under your feet; they can be hoisting a piano on Park Avenue and drop it on your head when you’re 20 – which is to distract yourself. Getting involved in a movie [occupies] all my anxiety: did I write a good scene for Cate Blanchett? If I wasn’t concentrated on that, I’d be thinking of larger issues. And those are unresolvable, and you’re checkmated whichever way you go."
And now, the first trailer for the film has emerged and as Allen claims this to be a "serious drama," our hopes have suddenly sprung. Get excited and enjoy.
 

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

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.

Don’t Worry, Everyone: That Louis C.K. ‘SNL’ Episode Is Still On

Prior to the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, many artists and comedians, including Louis C.K., canceled gigs so that people would, you know, stay safe in their homes and not drown to go to a gig. In the wake of the storm though, the "show must go on" mentality is returning, and quite a few late-night TV show hosts continued with their late-night shows, even without their studio audiences to marvel at their topical humor and musical guests. 

Those who have their power back by Saturday (knock on wood, as many of y’all as possible) will still be able to watch Louis C.K.’s awaited Saturday Night Live episode, which will still go on, with musical guest fun. This will probably involve an all-hurricane Weekend Update, which will hopefully give Seth Meyers another great opportunity to rip into Donald Trump. Anyway, SNL has released all the Louis C.K. promos, including one Sandy-themed one (with lots of wind tunnels and water and frustrated cursing), some cheesy Halloween-type skits and lots of Louie looking at the camera. 

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

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

Visual Artist Caspar Newbolt’s Otherworldly Projects

Finding inspiration in everything from the mysterious world of David Lynch to the chills of John Carpenter, English graphic designer, photographer, and filmmaker Caspar Newbolt has created a unique aesthetic that blends the world of science fiction with the dark emotions of everyday life. Since co-founding Version Industries in 2003 when he was just 23, Caspar has acted as lead designer for the company, producing websites, printwork, and video pieces for clients such as Daft Punk and Louis CK, to name a few. As an important part of his work, Caspar spends most of his time art directing and designing for bands such as The Protomen, 65daysofstatic, Makeup and Vanity Set, Big Black Delta and SONOIO, as well as giving independent filmmakers the support they need online and in print. When not busy creating a new album cover or film piece, Caspar writes critically on art and film for various publications. We caught up with Caspar to dive deeper into his creative process, his love for David Lynch, and working with Louis CK.

How did you begin designing? Was it something you always had a passion for?
I think the fact that I do photography and websites and music videos and posters proves that either I have a short attention span for one thing or the need to do a lot of things before getting bored. I started designing stuff with my friend Jasper Byrne when he asked me to help him with the graphics for a point ‘n’ click adventure game called Keith’s Quest when I was 14 or 15 at boarding school in England. I remember taking a school notebook, cutting out heaps of images from video games magazines and compiling them as a mood-board of sorts for reference purposes as we built out the game. Some years later I got onto the internet and started to build out basic websites. These sites had photos on them that my friends and I’d taken and combined them with outspoken little rants and essays on how I felt about films and music and the like. When I went to university, I first experienced the site for Requiem for a Dream. It set a new standard and made me realize you could create an emotional, somewhat abstract artistic gesture with a website. Not long after this the idea of starting a web design company came about and consequently Version Industries was born. We still had no money, were working on building sites and small print design bits and pieces, and doing anything to make ends meet, which included a good deal of manual labor jobs around the city. As luck would have it we got a few lucky job offers with companies that eventually (and slowly) put us on the map.

How do you go about your creative process?
I’d say for me, it’s just read / watch / listen to anything you’ve been given a hundred times over until your brain is utterly saturated with and then just lie on your back and let your brain subconsciously do the work for you, and it will. It will tie, much the way dreams do, all manner of strange elements together based on personal experiences of old and the new elements you’ve introduced to it. In this way, I love the way David Lynch’s writes his films. He’ll have one scene that’s just come to him out of nowhere that for some reason means a lot to him, and then another scene after it that’s this completely different — an unrelated thing that he also loves. He’s then compelled to put them in a film together and somehow find another scene that will perhaps connect them or explain why that was happening. It was the power of the two original scenes that lead to this new scene being made, rather than any sort of linear thinking process where you start with one scene and try and think of what might happen next. This is a hugely important way of approaching things because people don’t necessarily think ideas work like that.

What excites you the most about a project? Is it the visuals or the story you’re telling?
Since my original ambition was to make films, it’s meant that we’ve tried to get work that tells a story in a cinematic way. This has meant that the visual and the story have been fairly inseparable. However, since much of design work for clients is primarily visual, the narrative element has been neglected. As we’ve improved though and we’re given more creative control, it’s been possible to bring that narrative element back in, and happily so.

Aside from the web side of things, you do a lot of art for various bands and films. Tell me about the most recent band you’ve worked for as well as about Pavillion which will premiere at SXSW this year.
The bands I’ve worked for most heavily recently are 65daysofstatic and Polinski (two bands but with some of the same members) and The Protomen and Make Up and Vanity Set (again all friends and each with a similar modus operandi). All are very different bands but definitely with similar cinematic core ideals. The work for each band has been hugely narrative-based, as we’ve developed concepts to various level of abstraction to accompany the hugely filmic nature of their music. With 65 we just did a record cover for their re-scoring of the 1970s science fiction cult-classic Silent Running. We created an alternative universe where we redepicted a version of the film they were scoring to accompany their record, so that fans could enjoy the record in and of its own accord should they want to. With Pavilion, we took a step back from the visual directly to create accompanying posters and a website that reinterpret the film’s narrative and visual in a format best suited for those mediums, using stills and video clips to drive them forward. The film has since, indeed, made it into SXSW film festival–I’m sure based on the great merits of the film alone, but it has of course meant we have all the more reason now to keep supporting it and creating new materials for it in whatever way we can.

Tell me about the Polinski video — the creation and the acclaim it has received.
The Polinski music video was in many ways the most self-centered and backward thinking love-in for my brother (who edited and animated it), John Delucca (who redrew my cover artwork as ‘80s video game graphics), myself (who wrote the story), and Paul Wolinski (who created the music and of course helped with the story too). We’d all owned and heavily used an ‘80s European computer called the ZX Spectrum and decided very consciously to create a video that felt like you were playing a game of the album’s story on that computer. The whole thing came together remarkably quickly and we continue to be surprised at the success it’s had to this day. Consequence of Sound selected it as one in their best videos of 2011 and gave it an incredible write-up on their site on multiple occasions.

Polinksi – Stitches (Feat. Big Black Delta)

What would you say influences your work the most?
The biggest influence on anything I do in film is the work of Darren Aronofksy, David Lynch, John Carpenter, and John Cassavetes, to name a few. Their aesthetic, the music they choose, their way of thinking and their way of conveying a story in particular. The work of various artists such as photographer Gregory Crewdson, designer Neil Kellerhouse, painters like Joseph Turner, and the numerous video game artists who made those fantastic ‘80s and ‘90s games also play a big part.

How did you get connected with Louis CK? What was it like working with him?                                                                                                                             

We’d done a site for The Gregory Brothers who without our knowing recommended us to Louis CK. He then called me one sunday evening and we got to talking and then decided we would work with him to release his new video special on a very personal level to his fans. Given his similarities in a few ways to Bill Hicks, he connected with my team and I very quickly. He was very cordial, smart, open to suggestion and focussed.

Did you anticipate the reception that it would get?                                                                                                                                                                          

The project yielded results I think none of us quite expected. We all knew it was a pretty new thing for Louis’ demographic, but we were no stranger to the concept as it was already well developed in the music world. You ultimately just never know how these things will turn out when you’re going out on a limb that much.

Photo by Matt Sundin

In Defense of Coach

Louis C.K. famously and perfectly skewered the grumps who like to bitch about the many inconveniences that come with air travel. You’re flying for God’s sake, is what he told them. Flying. But still, humans like to complain—it’s in our nature—and one of our number one targets, at least where airlines are concerned, is flying coach.

While some of the perks of flying coach are history (free airplane food!), new ones are emerging. In-flight Wi-fi, for instance, is becoming more and more common, and while there’s still a small fee attached, airlines are exploring the possibility of adding free service.

And while airplane food might be a thing of the past, terminals are stepping up their cuisine, and there’s no rule saying you can’t bring a gourmet sandwich on board. In terms of physical comforts, charging for exit row seats with extra legroom has raised the hackles of frequent fliers, but as these programs have been codified into a new “virtual class” within economy class, they’re cheaper than ever and often free to frequent or elite fliers.