Courtesy of FX
Over the past few years, Louis C.K. has proven to be not only perhaps the finest comedian working today, but with his show “Louie” on FX, one of the most interesting voices on television.
With C.K., whose real name is Louis Szekely, scheduled to perform at a sold-out Ohio Union Activites Board event Saturday at Mershon Auditorium, let’s look back at 10 great bits in the comedian’s history.
1. “Offensive Words,” the opening bit from C.K.’s 2008 album “Chewed Up,” epitomizes one of the comedian’s greatest strengths: riffing on well-covered material in new ways. There’s a long tradition of commentary on dirty words in stand-up, but C.K. manages to do something truly interesting and truly funny with three of the dirtiest on this track.
2. From the same album, “I Hate Deer” is a standout bit and one of C.K.’s funniest. A simple trip to the store for toilet paper is derailed by an encounter with a deer, and C.K.’s vitriol toward the animal is filthy and hysterical.
3. C.K. had a recurring role during the second season of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” as Dave Sanderson, a police officer who has a brief relationship with Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler). The Halloween episode, “Greg Pikitis” is a standout for the duo with C.K.’s deadpan Dave stealing scenes throughout.
4. In 2009, C.K also had a small role in Ricky Gervais’ film, “The Invention of Lying.” The scene at the bar where Gervais’ character repeatedly lies to his trusting friends, among them a doltish C.K., is excellent.
5. The first season of “Louie” in 2010 was a good indication of C.K.’s goals as a director, writer and actor. “God,” a darkly funny episode about a young Louie hearing a graphic description of Christ’s crucifixion by a doctor (the great Tom Noonan), was a season highlight, emphasizing the challenging directions C.K. was willing to push the show.
6. The “Hilarious” 2011 concert-film, which became C.K.’s Grammy award-winning third album, is filled with some of the comedian’s finest material. “My 3-Year-Old is a 3-Year-Old,” a bit about the daily struggles of a father trying to reason with a little girl, finds the weary C.K. at his most desperate and honest best.
7. Season 2 of “Louie” took the promises of the first year and ran. One of the highlight episodes “Country Drive” begins with C.K. and his TV daughters on a beautiful drive to visit a relative, in which the comedian shamelessly sings “Who Are You?” by The Who. After the awkward interaction with his racist great-aunt, the episode ends with a fabulous bit about the risks of reading “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” to his daughters.
8. This year, Season 3 of his series found C.K. continuing to play with the formula he crafted over the first two years. The episode “Dad” features a fabulously weird performance from F. Murray Abraham as his uncle Excelsior and ends with C.K. literally running away and stealing a boat to avoid a meeting with his father.
9. The “Late Show” trilogy of episodes, which concerned C.K. possibly taking over “The Late Show” from David Letterman, was the clear highlight of the third season of “Louie.” The trio of episodes was filled with cameos from the likes of Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld, but it was director David Lynch who stole the show as the super-strange Jack Dall, the man tasked with getting C.K. in shape for the job. C.K.’s writing and directing has never been stronger than it is here.
10. C.K. hosted the Nov. 3 episode of “Saturday Night Live.” The timely sketch in which the comedian lampoons his own show by playing Abraham Lincoln as a bitter comic was a riot. His delivery of the joke about Lincoln’s certainty that he would be murdered was flawless.