Recent news has seriously shaken the belief systems of those of us who construct them around our idols’ artistic work, similarly to the way an engineer uses an architect’s blueprint. Not anyone but the epitome of honest, edgy, unbiased, and sniper-accurate comedy – Louis C.K., was exposed for forcing different women to watch him masturbate.
…perhaps the only comedy entity that can compete with South Park in pinning down the absurdity and hypocrisy behind society’s ridiculous trends and turning them into hilarious and sobering narratives.
Over the years, Louis C.K. has turned into somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, perhaps the only comedy entity that can compete with South Park in pinning down the absurdity and hypocrisy behind society’s ridiculous trends and turning them into hilarious and sobering narratives. The shocking events are not only hard to process by themselves, but throw a very thick and sticky shadow on a lot of his jokes, acts and work, not to mention his overall idolized persona.
How much these recent revelations should influence the way we see his work is a question with no easy answers.
Real-life inspired comedy
Louis C.K.’s stand-up and TV series clearly revolve around him and his life. His ability to narrate his life from funny and self-ironic perspectives and pack it with insightful takeaways is what makes his humor so universally relatable. Above all else though, perhaps one of the most signature traits in Louis C.K. acts are masturbation, along with perverted sexual thoughts, and gross hypothetical scenarios. The motto: “It’s funny cause it’s true,” is hardly as resonant with any other comedian as it is with him. What shot him directly into stardom was his ability to humorously voice the inner sexual fiend that lives in most guys. But in his case, it seems that monster took over outside of the stage.
What shot him directly into stardom was his ability to humorously voice the inner sexual fiend that lives in most guys. But in his case, it seems that monster took over outside of the stage.
It’s probably safe to say that this news gives his comedy a full spin – from charmingly dark to almost pitch black.
How separate is his comedy from his life
While even the most misogynist men probably wouldn’t laugh at Louis C.K.’s jokes now without a second thought, perhaps we shouldn’t hurry to put a big, red X over his entire work and persona. We can start going through each and every one of his acts with a magnifying glass, trying to find clues and undertones of his sexual deviance, but at the end of the day, he is a creative mind that comes up with all kinds of fictional scenarios for a living. What part of them exactly are real-life inspired and what are complete figments of the imagination, perhaps even he can’t say for sure, just like he might not have had a firm grasp of his perversion at the time of their occurrence — at least according to his statement.
The “mad genius” cliche might have some substance
The “mad genius” has long been revealed as something much more real than a romanticized, Hollywood cliché. Not only there are various studies that have established a connection between creativity, especially artistic one, and psychosis, but experts have specifically traced this pattern among comedians.
“The creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis – both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”
This redefines the wide-spread notion of the “sad clown” and might also explain some of Louis C.K.’s behavior – at least to some extent.
Researchers have also discovered what we comedy fans have known all along – that many stand-up comedians use their on-stage persona to voice ideas one wouldn’t normally get away with expressing freely in real life. The audience claps at those relatable moments it has already thought of, in one form or another.
…many stand-up comedians use their on-stage persona to voice ideas one wouldn’t normally get away with expressing freely in real life.
Problem with Louis C.K. is that instead of exaggerations of controversial beliefs, opinions and deeds, Louis’s acts might have been toned down, lighter versions of his inner darkness. Without excusing his actions, Hollywood fills us with programs that make us sympathize with criminals and psychopaths and see their good side, but when we are faced with the real-life vices of a man we admired, the rat race for condemnation begins.
On-stage, Louis C.K. is his better version
Louis C.K.’s real-life behavior, as fazing as it might be, doesn’t mean his work is just a cruel ploy or a masterful disguise. Rather, it is at least nice to think it reflects a better version of him, one that millions of people around the world believed in and even looked up to. The existence of his demons might be truly disappointing, but doesn’t exclude other merits that surface in his work and make it stand out.
Unfortunately, his thought-provoking and hilariously insightful ways to look at the world have perhaps come at a certain cost.