05 Oct 2013

Louis CK Tells a Dog Story

Humor 20 Comments

Danny Sanchez posted this on Facebook (it was relevant to the thread), and I’m sharing it here because it illustrates why Louis CK is, in my humble opinion, the greatest living standup comedian. He doesn’t “tell jokes,” rather he tells stories about his actual life that are hilarious. Obviously he exaggerates for comedic effect but what makes his anecdotes hilarious is that they are so realistic, and his commentary is so brutally honest.

In contrast, you have very good standup comedians like, say, Sarah Silverman or Daniel Tosh, but they’re not nearly as enjoyable as Louis CK since they’re clearly putting on an act. They’re pretending (we hope!) to be the awful person depicted on the stage, but the basic joke is that they are much more awful than the average fan watching. But (to repeat) this isn’t what Louis CK does–he is hilarious because you know he actually means what he’s saying (except for slight exaggeration for comedic purposes).

Now if you really want to get technical, part of what makes this particular Louis CK clip so funny is his analysis of his dog’s perspective. The best example of this technique I can think of is Richard Pryor explaining his trip to the jungle. (Watch out, naughty words since it’s Richard Pryor standup.)

20 Responses to “Louis CK Tells a Dog Story”

  1. Bala says:


  2. Eric Evans says:

    I like Louis C.K., but until Bill Cosby dies, the only argument is for who’s the second best living comedian.

    • Jason Bonner says:

      I saw Crosby live back in June. 2.5hr worth of pure hilarity. It’s an honor just to be there and watch him. Such a phenomenal entertainer.

  3. Koen says:

    I don’t think Louis CK is the best living standup comedian (for example, I’m not sure if Robin Williams still tours, but I recently watched a show of his and a couple of days later a CK show’, and Williams’s performance and probably also his material was just better than CK’s, although Williams is of course a different kind of comedian than C.K. and doesn’t do the sort of thing you describe here)

    What Louis C.K. did do on the other hand is create what is perhaps the greatest, most brilliant television show ever.

    Truly, ‘Louie’ has like literally *dozens* of scenes that are at least brilliant, which is an amazing feat. (here is but one example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPsjN2qQGvE )

    I can’t think of any other TV show that has ever done that, and there have been some excellent, brilliant TV shows in the past couple of decades..

    • John S says:


      I love Robin, but one point in Louis’ favor is that he’s constantly throwing out old material and generating new stuff, while Williams only does a new show every decade or so. So pound for pound, Williams’ material may be better, but Louis is taking more chances. Gotta respect that.

      Give Louis another 10-15 years and he will cement his stand-up status as stand-up legend. (Robin, otoh, is too big for this category–he’s in the running for greatest entertainer ever).

  4. Antwan says:

    It eludes me how someone with a Ph.D. in Economics could name their blog “Free Advice”. Nothing is free, every action has an opportunity cost.

    • LvM says:

      Apparently the word ‘free’ has more than one possible meaning. In this case, Bob probably meant ‘free’ in the financial sense.
      Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation

      • Antwan says:

        I understand that free can also mean that one can acquire it without having to pay money. But, my point was, I’m surprised that, as an economist, Bob did not have the economic definition in mind.

    • Rick Hull says:

      His advice is free, in that he does not charge for it (free as in beer), and his advice is freely given in that he has no editor or censor (free as in libre), and his advice concerns what it means to be free (free as in libre).

      The point (joke? wit?) about opportunity cost feels petty and cheap — all senses of the word ‘free’ above apply despite the trivial fact that all actions have opportunity cost. In your rigid view, could anything ever be described as free? Or does the word just become a black hole of non-meaning?

      • Antwan says:

        Ah, I originally only caught the first definition (free as in beer), and didn’t realize his blog name was also alluding to those other 2 definitions. That’s quite clever, actually.

        However, I believe that the fact that all actions have a cost is not “trivial” at all; it is in fact very important and central to Economics.

        In regards to your question, I believe that in the economic sense, nothing can truly be free. However, the word does a have useful meaning in everyday language. When I see an ad for a “free newspaper”, I don’t go there and say “Hey, you liars! this isn’t really free due to opportunity costs! blahblahblah…”. It should be understood that this case has nothing to do with economics, and that usually people just call things which require no monetary payment – “free”.

        I guess my point is, I’m surprised that, as an economist (and someone who regularly blogs about Economics), Bob did not have the economic definition in mind, seeing how it is central to economics.

    • Ken B says:

      Wow did you ever miss the point.

  5. Jim PM says:

    I like Louis CK, but don’t find this story to be particularly funny at all. Maybe I’m just in a weird mood.

    Richard Pryor was probably the best ever. He was so honest and vulnerable, you couldn’t help but love him.

  6. skylien says:

    Really good!

  7. Dan says:

    Louis CK is hilarious. I have been going back and forth between him and Bill Burr lately, as far as who I think is the best.

    Here is one of my favorite Burr bits. Definitely naughty words. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7LRcmg9mxRQ&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D7LRcmg9mxRQ

  8. Major_Freedom says:

    Thanks for posting this Murphy.

  9. John S says:

    I think Louis has made the Mt. Rushmore of American standup, along with Cosby and Pryor. Anyone have a suggestion for a fourth (Bill Hicks narrowly misses, imo)? Maybe Bob Hope (as Geo. Washington)?

    Honorable mention: Carlin, Rock. Chappelle for greatest unrealized potential, and Seinfeld for perfection of hack comedy.

    **Btw, Daniel Tosh as “very good”?? I’ve only caught 5 min, but I can spot a hack. His show is unique, but his standup career will have no legs.

    • Eric Evans says:

      I think the three obvious people would be Cosby, Pryor and Lenny Bruce. The fourth person is completely up for grabs.

      George Carlin seems like the obvious choice, given his diversity and immense gift for crafting a comedy set, but lest we forget that Steve Martin almost single-handedly boosted the prominence of comedic performance from the late 70s through the 90s. He was the very definition of a comedy rock star.

      And then there’s Bill Hicks, who was willing to go where other comedians feared (and still fear) to tread. He may have been even more worthy of being the heir to Bruce’s throne than Carlin.

      Most people today never had a chance to hear Bob Hope or Steve Allen in their prime, but they were tremendous cultural forces as comedians and entertainers in their time (there was almost nothing either of them couldn’t do!). Johnny Carson could probably qualify on that note as well.

      And if you want a controversial pick, there’s Sam Kinison. He wasn’t a brilliant comedian or comedy writer like Cosby or Pryor, but his stand up completely altered the landscape of the last 30 years of “mainstream” comedy. Carlin from the mid-90s on, Hicks, Leary, Rock, Black…and that’s just a short list of comedians whose careers owe him a great debt.

      One other controversial pick: Jeff Foxworthy. People have forgotten that he almost solely created an entirely new genre of comedy, which has morphed into a cultural and commercial behemoth all its own.

      • John S says:

        For me, Bruce was just not funny. Pioneer and social critic, yes, but my standard for comedy is guys who made me laugh my ass off. He inspired Hicks, but I couldn’t possibly rate Hicks below Bruce.

        A really underrated guy is Robert Klein. Seinfeld + real talent. Don’t know why he didn’t make more albums.

  10. John says:

    I’m recommending Bill Burr as the greatest living standup comedian. His speech about gold digging whores is great.


  11. Gene Callahan says:


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