Complex TV

p. 109-110: LOUIE

Louie similarly represents the author on-screen, as Louis C.K. writes and directs every episode (and even edits most) while playing a fictionalized version of himself. Unlike Larry’s character on Curb, Louie (the character) is portrayed not as a television producer but as a stand-up comedian and divorced father, like C.K. himself. On both Louie and Curb, viewers are invited to playfully imagine what elements of the series are true to real events and characters, versus fictionalized versions or outright inventions from their central authors, issues highlighted in the episode “Oh Louie / Tickets.” The episode opens with Louie shooting a conventional sitcom that he quits due to its lack of realism and authenticity, a moment that both evokes C.K.’s failed CBS sitcom pilot “Saint Louie” and reminds viewers that Louie itself is framed as a much more unconventionally authentic sitcom, partially legitimated by C.K.’S performed author function. The second part of the episode focuses on Louie reaching out to Dane Cook (played by Cook), the highly successful comedian who was accused of stealing jokes from C.K. years before this episode aired. The scene between the two directly addresses their real feud, with both asserting their perspectives in a dialogue that feels completely organic and even-handed—viewers and critics speculated about the scene’s creation, generally imagining that Cook had a part in authoring the conversation to make it accurately represent his perspective. However, C.K. recounts that the scene was written solely by him, refusing to take Cook’s suggestions for revisions: “[Cook] took my directions. He read it verbatim as I wrote it. And nailed it!” For the many fans aware of the high-profile history between the two comedians, the episode all but demands that we imagine the issues of authorship (especially given the topic of originality in writing jokes), blurring the lines between real comedians, fictional characters, and television creators in making sense of this complex episode.

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