August 31st, 2012
12:34 PM ET
[This post contains spoilers for the August 30 episode of FX's "Louie."]
On the latest episode of “Louie,” the beleaguered comedian headed to Los Angeles. And as with so many saucer-eyed starlets before him, opportunity came knocking.
This episode defied Louie’s expectations as well as ours, replacing the usual intro with an acoustic ditty playing over a static shot of Hollywood’s famed Improv theater.
After a killer set, Louie headed backstage, where his teenage agent Doug was waiting, along with a “Tonight Show” producer. Louie was set to follow Tom Cruise the next night, but was convinced that he would be bumped in favor of the megastar.
As he waited nervously in the green room the next day, even worse news was delivered: Cruise was a no show. Louie would be the only guest. He looked stricken as Jay Leno said, “Tell an airplane story.”
Housekeeping woke him the next day, and Louie saw that he had several missed calls from Doug. CBS wanted to meet with Louie in an hour. “I don’t even have time to jerk off for Christ’s sake,” he lamented.
Doug and Louie met with the chairman of CBS (Garry Marshall). After minimal awkward small talk, Louie was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. And then the chairman asked if he’d be interested in replacing David Letterman as host of “The Late Show.”
Louie stammered, “That’s crazy…You should get Jerry Seinfeld or something.” The exec explained that they were in negotiations with Seinfeld, but he wanted another, cheaper option. He wisely appealed to Louie’s insecurity: “I think five years ago, you probably peaked. And now you’re waiting around wondering if something is going to happen before it gets embarrassing.”
The chairman explained that if Louie failed, CBS wouldn’t be blamed. “You’ll take the heat on all that.” (Hmm, sounds familiar.) “You’re going to crack your head on the ceiling and you’re going to go down, probably for good.”
Louie was stunned. When dreams become a reality, we first feel not elation, but terror.
Louie is a far cry from the spiffy, snappy late night hosts who lull Americans to sleep each night. Sure, he’s written for “Late Night with David Letterman,” but the writers’ room is a long way from the anchor desk.
He has pioneered a new kind of late night show before as part of the team that launched the original (in every sense of the word) “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” But aside from the occasional bit performed from the safety of the guest chair, he was behind the scenes.
This was the first in a three-episode arc, so we’ll likely get to see how this scenario plays out. Will Louie pursue the job that’s often referred to as every comedian’s dream? Or will he create a new dream and forge a new path, as he’s done in real life?
Do you think Louie would make a good “Late Night” host?
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