On the final episode of the most recent season of FX’s comedy Louie, star Louis C.K.’s alter ego was performing stand-up in Oklahoma City, and forced to share a condo with his opening act, a hack comedian named Kenny. At first, Kenny seemed awful: He drank whiskey in the morning; he gave his barely legal chauffeur sexually explicit advice; his stand-up set was rife with masturbation and fart jokes (which, to Louie’s mortification, positively killed).
Yet toward the episode’s end, after a confrontation in which the comics admitted to hating each other, Louie and Kenny reached an unexpectedly touching stalemate when Louie broke down in sobs. “You gotta give so much,” he said of their shared profession, “and it’s so hard. All the years just alone out here ... . I just wanted to be good at it. It’s all I wanted. And I don’t know what happened.”
And Kenny sympathized. “What happened is you tried to be good at it,” he told Louie. “It’s comedy. It’s about being funny and having fun and being outrageous. It’s not an art, stupid. It’s a bar trick.”