Troubles with Louis

Curious why my FB feed was suddenly bombarded with clickbait comedy, I wandered over to a new page I had apparently liked entitled "Humor Feed." It was here I found it was a renamed and refocused page from Louis C.K. populated by low bar, clickbait articles.

I wondered if this page was ever actually owned by the comedian and if it was, the recent change in tone and purpose feel like something he might do or at least my imaginings of what he might do.

I've always found Louis C.K. to be a cut above the rest when it comes to comedy and art. The recent headlines about troubles financially with his self-financed web series "Horace and Pete" makes this new "low bar comedy" page a sort of "FUCK YOU" to the internet.

Louis, it seems, thought that self-financing a piece of art, with no studio interference and total freedom to create the art that drives him could easily make its money back once he released it through his site, a business model he's been using with his stand up specials. It seems however, this was not the case and he's lost money and, from what I’ve read, a ton. I would venture to say the worst loss here may be a lack of desire to take on other financial and "risky" artistic projects. A reaction I read into when the next thing he brings to his audience is “Humor Feed.”

A friend of mine once pointed out this same reaction to their art happened with Weezer. After the success of the “Blue Album”, they released “Pinkerton”, a relatively less successful outing. Rivers Cuomo felt that the album’s failures came because he “went too far” emotionally. Their music has really been the same since.

For many years, I've watched Louis C.K. and have been a fan not just of his stand up, but his filmmaking. His 13 minute "Ice Cream" short is still one of the best shorts I've seen. Hilarious, strange, and sad. A precursor to what was to come from him with HBO's Life with Louie & more directly the incredible “Louie” on FX.

In any case, his troubles (and frustrations, it seems) resonate with me. I've lived in LA for almost 10 years now. I’ve had my own (very mild) success. Playing shorts around the world, highlighted by a lifelong dream to play Sundance. These “successes” never actually amounted to anything and why, is my great question.

I moved out to LA in 2006 and by 2008, I was ready to make it happen. And then, it all just sort of fizzled away. I blame a mix of many things: an artistic voice that never resonated with larger audiences, the shock of testing positive for HIV, and in a much lesser way the Great Recession. Money was tight and experimental, unknown voices weren't going to get a chance they might need. 

I was also stubborn, unwilling to bend to something that didn’t feel right. This isn’t to say everything I’ve made is good. So much is SO BAD. My “2 28” web series was so fucking personal and interior that it only makes sense to me. An achievement that I can only be personally happy about. It's not something I think others should seek out or watch. Seriously.

Art is an odd and beautiful thing. The best of it comes from our darkest, deepest selves. The pieces of our souls we’re most afraid to share. And some of the time art, truly personal art, isn't very entertaining. But... when it is. Wow. When you’re able to share your artistic self, your unfiltered thoughts and perceptions – and then also entertain? Wow. The great balance.

Louis C.K. is this rare breed of artist. One who should be cherished and encouraged to create without filter. The always supportive FX has given him this freedom. “Baskets” is the best new show I’ve seen this year.

In any case, I hope that “Humor Feed” is just a momentary statement. An artistic reaction to financial failure. It’s brilliant, as usual.

If, however, Louis C.K. never owned his own Facebook page, well then – this whole blog is a big winded piece of shit.