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Louie CK

The Details

FX, Tuesdays, 11 p.m.
Three and a half stars

Four years ago, comedian Louis C.K. had a series on HBO called Lucky Louie, an audacious subversion of the classic sitcom form, in which C.K. played a working-class husband and father in a show that added nudity, sexual situations and nonstop explicit language to the typical multi-camera show taped in front of a live studio audience. It was panned by critics and rejected by audiences, and C.K. went back to writing and doing stand-up comedy.

Now he’s returned to TV with Louie, which probably fits better with his stand-up material, and is creative without being as potentially off-putting.

The show intersperses footage of C.K. doing stand-up with short vignettes starring the comedian as himself, a middle-aged, divorced father of two young girls. The narrative bits don’t feature much in the way of continuity, and the show is less like a sitcom than a series of short films or sketches, some of which work better than others. But all the bits effectively convey C.K.’s bleak sense of humor, with his mordant musings on aging, divorce and parenthood. Without the burden of pushing formal boundaries, C.K. simply delivers his hilariously pessimistic worldview unfiltered, and it’s a pretty bracing experience.


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