This episode’s two pieces are thematically linked by Louie’s position in show business, i.e from the outskirts. In the comedic domain, he is king, but comedy in the hierarchy of show business is several pegs lower than films, where he is nothing, and therefore he treats it (and they treat him) likewise.
The episode starts as any average episode does, with Louie doing stand-up. But then our attention is drawn to an attractive woman sitting just to the side of the stage, who’s talking so loud everyone in the club can hear it, especially Louie. At first Louie asks her politely to stop, and she does for a second. Then Louie does his next bit, and she interrupts Louie to say it happened to a friend of hers. Louie says he doesn’t care, but she provokes Louie and says it was funny “unlike you”, and Louie decides to destroy her. He launches an absolute tirade, saying among other things that if it her mum hadn’t raped that Chinese homeless person she wouldn’t have been born. She informs him that her mother’s dead, to which he replies that’s good, “she cant make any more c***s with her c***”. That particular word isn’t allowed on the FX network, so C.K makes sure the audience knows exactly what word was bleeped out by having the woman say “You did not just call me the c-word!”, which is a nice trick.
Cut to outside the club, and Louie joins his comedian pals and complains that she “was a nightmare”. The woman confronts him, saying it was totally uncalled for and that she’s allowed to participate. Louie sticks to his principals and asks “then why wasn’t anyone else participating? He goes further by saying a good person wouldn’t do that, so you must be a bad person., and that comedians only have the stage for 15 minutes in their lives, and she ruined it. She can’t accept it, and says “you’re just one of those unattractive people who are totally bitter against people like me”. Louie just gives up, and says “good night” over and over until she leaves.
The entire “heckler” sequence makes it hard to know where C.K wants our sympathies to lie. On the one hand, heckling is nothing but an annoyance, and comedians need to develop a way to handle it if they are to succeed. Louie certainly handles it, but he rips her to shreds after just a slight aggravation, and as the protagonist for the show, it’s a particularly ugly event, and even on the commentary Louie says he goes too far. He does succeed however in showing the TV audience, most of whom presumably aren’t comedians, just how frustrating hecklers are. Todd Barry, who’s one of the comedians Louie joins outside the club, witnesses the whole thing and says until he started saying “good night” over and over, he had a shot with her, which makes Louie regret the whole thing. Principals mean nothing to Louie if he can get laid.
Next sketch begins with Louie going to see his agent. His secretary asks why they don’t see him more often, and he goes on a rant about how acting’s stupid and the chances of becoming successful are miniscule, and to believe you can be is the “dumbest, most irresponsible, stupid, stupid thing to want to be an actor.” It’s at this point that the secretary says she wants to be an actor, and Louie goes silent, giving the look he always gets when he fucks up. When he’s entering the agent’s office, he tries to say sorry, but he flubs it and then gives up. The elderly agent says he got a part for him in a remake of The Godfather, set two years in the future with Jews replacing the Italians, possibly the worst idea ever. Louie is understandably hesitant, but the agent says he can’t say no. The two go back and forth, with the agent working himself up, to the point where he has a heart attack. C.on the commentary says he killed off the agent because although he needed him for this scene, agents are something of a TV trope at the moment. While I agree with him, it’s a shame, as the agent does a hell of a job killing himself. In the hospital, his wife (now widow) says Louie was his favourite client, and is basically guilted into the part.
Cut to the set of the film, and Louie is in a cop uniform. Louie asks Matthew Broderick (the director of the Godfather remake, who also gave Louie the part) if he’s “one of the Jews”, which strikes the wrong tone with Broderick, and the two get off to an awkward start. Then comes the montage of Louie telling Broderick’s character in the fictional film that his father is dead, first completely emotionless, then many more variations, but none appropriate for the scene. All are hilarious, showing that in fact Louie in real life is a good actor (comic actor at least), and Broderick’s reactions to each of them (with dramatic music swelling every time up until the point he says cut) getting more and more angry and pained are perfect. This is a much straighter comedy sketch then most of the show, but just like “Dr Ben” in episode three, it’s so funny that it doesn’t matter.
Broderick confronts Louie after a break, and asks if its because he’s nervous. Louie says its not that, but that he doesn’t like acting and he’s not good at it. Broderick says take a walk, and try to find it in yourself to give a shit. A nice contrast between the first sequence develops here. When he’s disrespected at his main job by a heckler, he’s furious and can’t believe someone would ever act like that, and yet here he’s doing exactly the same to someone else, making his tirade at the woman in the first scene seem all the more unnecessary.
Louie then makes his way to a corner store, wanting a “cakey, doughnutty treat thing”. Two guys come in and hold up the place, but then get scared because Louie’s still in his cop uniform. Louie then pulls out the uniform’s gun, but it’s just the handle, and the facade goes away. But Louie gets a lucky break, because the robber’s gun isn’t real either. They get chased out of the store with the owner and his baseball bat. This is easily the slightest bit in season one, and far too sitcommy for Louie. It’s a shame it ends on this note, as the rest of the episode is strong. But after this episode, the season’s back half has an almost perfect run, stretching the possibilities of what a sitcom can do, so one minor sketch is excusable.