Louis CK has gotten a lot of flack recently about some of his more choice jokes about racism and other controversial topics, but, that clearly doesn't stop him from continuing to tackle those issues (or at least air previously-taped versions of him tackling larger issues). In his most recent stand-up special Louis CK: Live At The Comedy Store , which premiered May 28 night on FX and is currently available for downloading and streaming on Louis CK's website, the comedian brought up the topic of race once again in a fascinating way: Through explaining different people's reactions to a clearly racist story.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm always partial to a comedian who knows how to be funny and still make people think in the process. Louis CK has made me laugh and think more times than I can count, and his humorous commentary on race is the most recent example. He began the joke by making a reference to Mark Twain's famous line about how if you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. But then CK added that Twain also named one of his characters in his novel N-word Jim so maybe "100 percent of the things he said weren't perfectly awesome." That definitely set the tone for what was sure to be a tense and taboo-filled story.
So the "messy" story goes like this: Louis CK's friend Mike went home for Christmas where his "white racist" family told a story about how a "f***ing n****r fell asleep [while using a] fork lift." Mike didn't appreciate the racist statement, and later relayed his frustration to his cousin. But, his cousin seemed to be more outraged that the man fell asleep at the fork lift, than he was about the use of the N-word. Eventually Mike told Louis CK the same story, and Louis repeated it to the staff of Cedric the Entertainer's show. In response, an African American staff writer replied, "There's nothing worse than a n****r falling asleep at the fork lift. Makes the rest of us look bad."
Basically, over years of telling the story to many different kinds of people, the only thing any of them comment on is the fact that this man fell asleep at the fork lift. No one seemed to care about the offensive language being used. It seems many people are accustomed to hearing racist language, that it didn't even phase them. No wonder our country still suffers tense race relations.
The sad truths aside, I love the fact that a simple story from a comedian can be so relevant to everything going on in society today. Despite whatever controversy or ire Louis CK is getting right now over his other recent jokes, this is the type of comedy I expect and love from the comedian. He's going to make you laugh, but he'll also make you think.
Images: Screenshot/FX (2)