Interview: Louis CK

By MIKE MILIARD  |  March 12, 2009

I was reading the newVanity Faircomedy issue, recently, where they interview you about the rant you did on Conan O'Brien about how people today are a bunch of spoiled, self-obsessed brats. I agree with everything you say. But it also got me wondering: I know you're a huge George Carlin fan, and that he was an enormous influence on you. Do you agree at all with those who say that, toward the end of his life, Carlin was less of a comedian and more of a professional curmudgeon? Is there a fine to walk line between cutting topical comedy and just a rant?
Well, I think it's totally subjective. Some people find things funny and some people don't, you know? Even in his last special, Life is Worth Losing, I forget which one, he does a whole long description of someone committing suicide that just was hilarious to me, I just loved it. I still think the specials where he was just yelling himself hoarse about stuff that pissed him off, he still had great bits in there. This whole thing abut fuck the kids? Jeez, it's just so good. He was very prolific and he had a wide range of ideas and sometimes he wanted to just get down and say something he believed. People are very consumer-ish about their art now. About their comedy and music and movies, and they're like, 'yeah, that didn't really work for me.' Yeah, well, just watch it and try to figure out why he did it that way. Rather than going [adopts a sort of Bugs Bunny voice], "Ehhhhh, I want jokes! I don't like that one." There are many ways to do comedy. And I don't think that George was so great that he had a right to just stand up there and talk, but he was still hilarious. If you weren't laughing, it might be you. His stuff about 'the Earth doesn't need us to save it,' all that stuff, it's really, really great. He's having thoughts that no one had put together in that combination ever before. And it's still funny. It has to be funny. If you stand up there and start having thoughts that are not funny at all, or not caring that you are? I think you should start calling yourself something else: then all of a sudden you're in a different boat. If you wanna start calling yourself a storyteller or a prophet or a writer or something? Then, oh, let's put you up against Kafka or all those other guys who do that much better. But you still need to try to make people laugh, that's what people are watching you for. So it's not fair to do a bait and switch on an audience, really. But, I think people who were saying Carlin wasn't funny in those specials, they probably just didn't find those specials funny.

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  Topics: Comedy , Entertainment, George Carlin, Steve Martin,  More more >
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