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Louie closes out its not very epic three part episode, “Late Show”, and the slow build up pays off for the most part.
I didn’t know C.K. and Letterman had a history. After writing on the show, C.K. was unofficially banned from the show for 15 years. C.K. recently appeared on Letterman this summer, so maybe the hatchet is buried, but the episode makes a lot more sense as C.K. surely had some demons to battle with the program.
In fact, after it’s all said and done, “Late Show”, feels like the most elaborate audition tape anyone might have ever made. The episode plays like C.K. is saying, “Look, I am going to suck in this audition/early going stuff, but I am going to kill it once that camera is rolling,” to any exec out there watching; and he does. Louie nails it once those cameras are rolling and the butts are in the seats. Sure it took a lie from Seinfeld to light a fire under his ass (and a brilliant music cue I might add), but C.K./Louie proved himself a worthy successor to Letterman if that time ever does come. I would love to hear Letterman’s thoughts on the episode and he not being in it is a tad disappointing; even if it didn’t hurt the episode with his absence.
David Lynch continued to be great as Louie’s producer and he was the most pleasant surprise of the season for sure. Lynch steals the show with ease and I particularly enjoyed the bit where he didn’t even know Louie was a comedian; explains all those old jokes on the cue cards as well. His odd sensibility is just perfectly weird for this process and he will be remembered as one of the brightest spots in this show’s history.
Louie killing it on the mock taping also might have been a bit abrupt compared to where he was just a day or two before, but I think the aforementioned music cue went a long way to making that jump easier to swallow for that viewer. I also think C.K. could have done a better job of selling us on why this gig was so important for Louie. I never felt the stakes that he was trying to get across and I think a couple more scenes outside of rehearsals would have gone a long way to give the episode some much needed weight. Jane was great in her brief appearances this episode though. Also, for an episode spaced out over sixty plus minutes, I really felt like the ending was rushed. From Seinfeld’s appearance to Louie in the street in front of Letterman’s studio, it was not much screen time and I certainly felt like the show was turning on the fast forward button.
My issues with “Late Show” aside, it still was one of the stronger episodes of Louie this season. The season as a whole hasn’t been the show’s best, but I think this episode will play much better in its unedited long form on the Blu-ray. I appreciate the ambition of C.K. here and I hope he continues to take chances because he was able to handle the ambitious three part episode. Now let’s see how C.K. does in the finale.