Being Louis C.K.

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Louis C.K. in 'Louie.' He became a one-man show, because that’s the only way to make loneliness present.Credit: AP

Season 4 of the FX comedy “Louie” opens with a brilliant scene. It’s early in the morning and the show’s eponymous star, "Louie," is still asleep in bed. In the street below, a garbage truck stops and New York City sanitation workers empty garbage bins with deafening noise. Louie is unhappily roused from sleep. The garbage men proceed to bang the bins together, raising a hellish racket. Louie tries to get back to sleep but the noise is intolerable. A window shatters and the garbage men break into the bedroom, clap the bin lids like cymbals over his head, heap garbage on the bed and smash up the room. Louie gives up and gets up. His day has begun.

This scene captures the essence of “Louie.” We’ve seen comedy series starring stand-up comics, which try to convey the experiences and world view the star describes on stage. “Seinfeld,” for example, was an illustration of the world as Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David saw it. “Louie” refines and perfects this concept and takes it a step forward. The series, especially so far this season, manages to get into Louis C.K.’s head and show us life as seen through his eyes. Through this filter, everyday situations sometimes seem bizarre and extreme. Obviously, sanitation workers don’t really break into Louie’s apartment. But as he experiences it, these people aren’t just doing their jobs or being inconsiderate. They’re going out of their way to ruin his morning.

Louie is an accurate surreal work. It is no accident that it’s often dream-like. In the second episode, which also aired last week on YES, a pretty young blonde appears, takes Louie to her grandiose beach house and sleeps with him. The girl laughs at everything he says, even when he doesn’t mean to be funny. When he asks what her name is, she doesn’t answer. She has no name. Outside his head she doesn’t exist.

“Louie” airs on YES Wednesdays at 10:30 P.M.

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