Louie: “Late Show (Part 3)”
Yo, Adrian, Louie's got a shot at the belt.
September 22, 2012 2:32 pmSam Lindauer
The conclusion of the three part "Late Show" run on Louie came to a satisfying crescendo in what was the most moving and laugh out loud funny of the three episodes. I say this every week, but there isn’t a more unpredictable show on television than Louie. This three-parter turned out to be comedy’s version of Rocky. In part one we started in the clubs as a known, but low-level comic. Louie was not a superstar; he was playing perhaps an earlier version of himself. In part two he realizes, after beginning training, that he has a lot of competition and a long way to go before becoming a worth successor to David Letterman.
This episode starts with a familiar image, our hero jogging through the streets of New York. Unlike Rocky, Louie is joined by his two kids, one who reminds him that he is not large, but fat. Louie takes the insult as a learning moment, saying that he’s trying to lose weight because some things in life are worth trying hard.
We’re brought back to late-night talk show host coach Jack Doll’s office where we learn that he thought that Louie was a newsman, because he certainly wasn’t funny. Lynch provided some of the biggest laughs in the episode and in a season filled with outstanding guest turns, Lynch should certainly be considered for an Emmy, though I can’t decide if he was more worthy than Parker Posey from earlier in the year. His chiding of Louie was entertaining as was his witticisms, like “Here’s the thing champ, that’s short for champion.”
After Doll realizes Louie is in fact a comedian and makes people laugh for a living, he challenges Louie to be funny on the spot, to be able to just turn it on. Frustrated at the request, Louie is ready to walk out, but there’s that reminder from within him that this is something to work harder for, this is his last shot. So Louie does a strange dance combined with farting sounds to buy himself a week with Doll. My personal favorite line from his “funny on the spot” performance….”You’re a pencil penis parade”.
We next get Louie’s training in the big chair in a studio. At first he sits on the couch before Doll tells him, “No genius, sit in the host chair”. Louie is tasked with doing an impromptu interview, I liken this to Rocky pounding away in a meat locker, but instead of a steroid-laden Sylvester Stallone, we have a shlubby guy trying to talk to a cleaning lady. The biggest laugh in the episode comes here when he haplessly tries to interview the woman, and instead of getting a laugh, he reminds her of her dead mother and she starts weeping.
We then cut to Louie back in the boxing ring, just getting pounded. The difference between Rocky and Louie is that Louie seems to be constantly beat up, which makes me just root harder for him because the task seems that much more unattainable, but the fact that he’s working for it against the shadow of a Chris Rock or Jerry Seinfeld, makes it feel like a losing battle.
But with that, we get hope, when Louie’s at home practicing being a host, he gets an unexpected visit from his kids. They show him a card they made, and wish him well. While CK is often disparaging of his own acting chops, here we can see his face just well up with everything this test show means and how much love he has for kids. On one hand he’s agreed to see less of his children, but he’s moved by his family’s support. Time to cue the triumphant Rocky run. He really wants it now, and like any great sports movie, CK the director has inspired the viewer to at least believe he can even though we know deep down he doesn’t have a shot.
In the final act, we’re thrust backstage seeing Louie get ready when Doll comes in for his final turn on the show. He tells Louie that this is the last time they’ll ever see each other, if he gets the show there’s going to be a younger producer put in place. If he doesn’t get the show, well, that’s it. Lynch’s final moment on the show is intense in that Louie makes sure we know how important his final words are to Louie. He pronounces with great authority: “These are the three rules of show business: One, Look ‘em in the eye and speak from the heart. Two, you got to go away to come back and three, If someone asks you to keep a secret, their secret is a lie.”
With that, Doll is gone forever, and a bit too serendipitously comes Jerry Seinfeld. He comes in to say hi to Louie, but also bring news that he’s signed the contract and that this is all really an empty exercise. As Jerry leaves, he asks Louie to keep it a secret which immediately pays off the keys to show business line from but a minute ago. Louie knows he’s lying which means he’s got a shot at the show. Louie’s pumped and so are we. I wish the secrets to show business had been dropped a bit earlier in the show because having them come right on top of each other felt a bit rushed.
With this burst of hope, Louie goes out and kills. He has Susan Sarandon on and talks about jerking off to her after seeing Rocky Horror Picture show when he was a kid, and he gives Paul Rudd crap about his daughter’s name. It goes off without a hitch, and looks to me like Louie could actually do this job if he ever wanted to. His interview style has an easiness and he went to unexpected places with his guests. Of course CK has the ability to write these scenarios, though it certainly looked improvised. If that were his case I’d say Louie should do his own show, but that would probably mean the end of his stand-up career as we know it.
We then get the view from the CBS office Louie has been offered the job. Garry Marshall is pleased and declares that they have an option. We next see Louie in a bar with his comedy buddies kind of egging him on. As he walks in we see the news that there is an announcement…David Letterman signed on for ten years. Louie’s agent informs him that he was a negotiating tactic, and widdled down Letterman from 16 million dollars a year to 14. Louie’s crushed to find out that he’s been used this way and so are we. But to CK’s credit, he’s shown us how these types of negotiations work in the real world of Hollywood. People are looked at for options and there are usually negotiations with the big guy (this case Letterman) that really take precedence. Louie was able to show that there are real people who work really hard and dream big when they’re given these option positions – chances that aren’t even chances.
After finding out, Louie leaves the bar clearly uset. He walks all the way to the Ed Sullivan Theater, lit up in all it glory at night. Louie just raises his arms and shouts, “I DID IT!” It’s maybe my favorite single moment from the series thus far. Louie has taken 20 million dollars out of David Letterman’s pocket, and even though he’s been barred from the show, he was good enough to make David Letterman cave. Standing on the street lit by just the Late Show sign, Louie looks like the people’s champion. Like Rocky, he lost but was still seen as the winner of sorts. We’ve seen the work and dedication and he proved himself. While it’s not a win, Louie’s exuberance on the street is as uplifting as this show gets.
|FIND YOUR GEEK RATING
out of 10