Lucky Louie (Sundays on HBO)

I like crude humour. Well, perhaps I like comedians who can be very good at it. Jim Norton (from Opie and Anthony show) is a good example – his material is so filthy, and delivered so well that you can’t help but think that Jim is a filthy, disgusting man. And, laughing at such a man is so much easier. Jerry Seinfeld, on the other hand, is “acting” when he delivers his material – you can see a persona on stage, but a completely different person (who’s not even comfortable with some of this material) behind the curtains. But Jim Norton can do no wrong – every quip – no matter how inappropriate, how groan-inducing – gets at the very least a smile, but usually, a laugh.

What does he have to do with Lucky Louie? For me personally, he’s the only reason I was looking forward to this HBO sitcom. And now that I’ve seen the very first episode, I think he’ll be one of three reasons to see it. Maybe two and a half. Crude humor cannot be faked. If you cannot deliver it, or are uncomfortable with it – get off the stage.

Lucky Louie is a mix of blue-collar shows like Married with Children, Roseanne and The War at Home – but with all the swear words left in, and spoken louder than the rest of the dialogue. Why would HBO want to put on a show that has little going for it besides bad, bad words – is beyond me. Perhaps they’re capitalizing on Deadwood and Sopranos. But someone should tell them it wasn’t the endless swearing that made those two shows engaging. There are some bright spots – Jim Norton is perfectly typecast as a filthy, street-smart friend who’s always got advice, no matter how inappropriate. Louis’ wife – Pamela Adlon (Unscripted, King of the Hill) can be a caring mother figure, as well as horny wife.

The problem is the lead – Louis CK is a funny guy, but he looks uncomfortable in the role. Plus, the swearing seems out of place. The show definitely has potential – the blue-collar schtick has not been done well recently, and the audacity of it is disarming – thus funny. Plus, fanboys like myself are going to tune in strictly for the comedians – Jim Norton and Louis CK (who’s got a tremendous writing career – from SNL to Leno to Letterman).

I just want to see half of these characters become comfortable in their shoes. Swearing can be liberating and funny – but if you are squirming, you won’t be able to sell it. Jimmy can, and so can Pamela. Let’s wait for the rest of the cast to catch on. This can be a very funny show (that will never get syndicated because of its content).

Sundays on HBO.

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