Boston Robb

Passion is the Genesis of Genius

Everyone’s anger at Louie CK is misplaced

Louie CK is again in the headlines. After admitting to and apologizing for his criminal like behavior less than a year ago, we now hear about his on stage bit that’s been leaked. Louie CK a veteran stand up, taking shots at gender neutral people and the parkland survivors. Neither joke sounded clever which  helped me come to my conclusion, Louie lacked effort, he left his talent out of his writing this time, he was wicked lazy. Not clever comedy is the worst (for me). But I hesitate to condemn the comic. Comics are supposed to speak about life, all of it. The good the bad and the ugly. It’s a joke. And the comics job is to make a joke. They may be bad jokes but it’s their job to find that out. It’s in the appropriate arena. Where this would be unacceptable is coming from the office of a company or school or the President. I will comment that within the arena of comedy, a veteran comic would have discernment over what topics to take on and more importantly how to cleverly jest those topics. *See Dave Chappelle’s stand up. Yet when a veteran comic is working out material for their crowd and it’s sent to the world, a lot of things can happen. Most importantly, the world has to accept that comedy exists in a place (sometimes far) outside of its own norms or morals or comfort level. Maybe that’s why comics perform late at night in underground clubs for an admission price and not on street corners during the day. 

When someone, who looks to be a Pastor, tweets condemnation to Louie online claiming they wouldn’t go low like that, I’d friggin hope so. That’d be the weirdest church service ever. And a bunch of people have come out of the woodwork to claim how “unacceptable” and “off limits” this is... but it’s not, not for comedy, nothing is off limits to the joke. And it never should be, I’m scared to live in a world that dictates comedies rules. And yet I find it somewhat understandable that the pastor thinks his line of work could possess someone who would say such things, most likely because in our emotionally fragile country we have a leader who does it regularly. And we’ve seen this rise in confusion, mistaking art for being a jerk. People mistake being a D hole for speaking out against political correctness. Let’s never confuse professions - presidents and comedians. We have a certain expectation of both of them and that line shouldnt be blurred. Comics must create art that provokes in any way possible, and hopefully is always funny. Just like a President must represent his people and lead always, in tough or prosperous times. 

The moral of this, of comedy, is... that if you were offended, then this comic isn’t for you. And trust me, this comic (Louie CK) has done some heinous stuff offstage making him “not the comic” for a lot of people. But I’m sure there’s a comic out there somewhere that will make you laugh. This bit (people are complaining about) does not mean the comic is bad. And definitely should not be calling for an end to their career. Just don’t support them, it’s just that simple. Don’t go to the club they perform at and capitalism will sort out the winners. The lesser lessons in this story is that veterans comics can be Lazy, selfish, unaware, and hacks. Lazy btw with a capital L. Lazy jokes are the worst. The comedy scene knows. 

But when your time starts on stage and you took time & wrote jokes as a comedian to entertain others, then no topic is off limits. At least in the free world. 

I understand how easy it is to want to get upset that Louie CK said these things. But don’t let the anger from his off stage stuff get blurred when critiquing the artist. And I know the off stage stuff is enough to write Louie off for good. Which I’m totally ok with - but keep it at that. Don’t start drawing lines for comedy to have to entertain in.

I remember right after my dad killed himself, I happened to come across a George Carlin special. I love Carlin yet this time he was talking about suicide. And I didn’t think it was clever but worse for me was how graphic his bit was on suicide. It was the first time I actually felt that comedy wasn’t for me that night. And I turned it off. I still listen to and love Carlin, yet that night I couldn’t watch his bit. 

You may not like it, it may upset you, it may be lazy writing but it’s comedy, it’s meant to entertain someone. It’s not like the president of the USA said it in a presidential address. Or did he..... 

Keep the free world free. Protect comedy. Whether the joke is for you or about you. It’s important our speech keeps its freedom.