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Funny or Fucked Up? June 19, 2009

Posted by Onely in As If!, Food for Thought, Look What Google Barfed Up, YouTube Style.
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My sister sent me this video of comedian Louis C.K. “On Single People”.

Is he being sarcastic about the stereotype of the “worthless single soul”, to show that married people’s lives can be equally (or more) horrid than single people’s?  At first I thought so, because he certainly describes married life as terrible. He’s very self-deprecating about his status. So I laughed to hear him describe how I (for instance) could leave my obnoxious boyfriend with a phone call, but as a married man LCK would need hair bleach and a plane ticket to do the same thing. Because to an extent, that’s true.

However, I also believe that self-deprecation is actually a way of patting onesself on the back. Therefore now I feel that maybe LCK is comparing his married life to a single’s life so that he comes out looking necessary and responsible, even though he’s supposedly complaining about the pressures and problems of having a wife and kids. That would make this video singlist after all.

Regardless of LCK’s actual intention, though, most disturbing is the reaction of the audience and commenters, to whom I can’t attribute nebulous artistic intentions. When he begins his bit with “I don’t give a shit about single people”, someone claps–before LCK has even gotten to the (possibly) ironic part! And if you look at the comments below the video, you can see a couple viewers took him at face value (“yes that’s exactly how single people sound”, for example).

Copious Readership, what do you think? Is LCK deconstructing myths about singledom or coupledom or both? Is he perpetuating stereotypes about singles or couples or both? Is he funny or fucked up?

–Christina

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Comments»

1. Lauri - June 19, 2009

I haven’t watched the video yet- I’m at work. But I had a thought- maybe it’s both, maybe it’s sort of impartial analysis. Maybe by being vague in his intentions of stereotyping both single people and married people, he’s simply putting the discussion out there- drawing attention to the fact that these stereotypes exist. I don’t know, I don’t his stuff well enough to know if he’s smart enough for that. Just a thought.

2. autonomous - June 19, 2009

Fucked up. Listened to it twice to determine if I missed the wit. No, not funny, but actually sort of because he just may end up as a sucky-single-person he despises if he’s this much of a jackass at home. Odds are not in his favor of the marriage working out.

I never hear single people complain like marrieds with children do. They whine about never having sex, or enough time, or sleep, or they don’t have money anymore because of the bigger house, car, groceries, clothes, on and on and blah blah blah.

3. Special K - June 19, 2009

Definitely think it’s funny…the most funny things are fucked up, and twist a version of the truth. Put the intention in it’s context…

4. (no)sexandthecity - June 19, 2009

“your life doesn’t matter and married people don’t give a shit about you”….seems pretty dead-on to me. he sounds like a bitter “my problems are always going to be worse than your problems because i’m married” with a hint of “you couldn’t possibly understand because you’re single” narcissistic jackass.

i agree with autonomous that he could easily end up single with no one’s sympathy, given the fact that he also perpetuates the male view of “marriage is a horrible trap and nothing could be worse.” there really isn’t a positive view of family and marriage being a great thing anymore. frankly, i’m starting to agree. i’d pry end up with some guy who turns into a douchebag like him.

onely - June 24, 2009

What made me think he was going for irony was how he said “your mother will cry, whatever”, which obviously means someone DOES care, so he was obviosly being facetious. I think maybe this is what he was going for. Possibly. If it had been a more effective routine, I think that his intention would have been clearer.

5. Simone Grant - June 20, 2009

Seriously fucked up, but also funny/sad. The reality is that many people feel this way. And you know, that’s why some people feel obligated to get married, because otherwise their lives would have “meaning”. They can bite me.

6. Lauri - June 21, 2009

Ok finally got a chance to watch it. I didn’t think it was very nice.

If he dies, his lazy wife will just have to get a job. No one will care.

7. Singlutionary - June 21, 2009

Well. I think that single people rip on married people and married people rip on single people. There is someone out there doing the reverse standup and talking about how annoying married people are and how much they complain. Both are true if you’re talking about stereotypes.

Yes, single people do have lives. Also, many single people to have kids so his whole argument that he has to stay alive for his wife and kids would also apply to single parents.

And for those of us single people without kids, most of us have badass lives. Until last year (when I quit answering the phone after 10pm) I was the shoulder married people were crying on at 2am and at all other times of the day.

Its funny because in the heat of the moment, of having a family and feeling emprisioned by the life you once imagined to be bliss, you hate single people because you want that life back.

Its funny because the grass is always greener. Everyone else’s life is always easier, etc. The way other people derive their since of identity always seems petty compared to your own.

And its fucked up because comedy is always fucked up. I think that is the nature of this kind of humor.

Lauri - June 22, 2009

Well I agree with that, however, I think his bit went a little too far. To say that “no one cares” about a giant percentage of the population, and that they can die with no ramifications is offensive, IMO. I used to like this guy and I I thought his stuff was pretty funny without being too offensive, but it’s like what if he said that any other demographic could die and no one would care? What if he said all rich people or all poor people could die and no one would care? or if he said certain races or nationalities could die and no one would care?

onely - June 24, 2009

I was at the improv and the comic was totally tearing up black people and homosexuals. I was uncomfortable but I guess he was counting on his humor coming across as irony. So basically, I guess comics DO make grandiose generalizations about all sorts of demographics, and they are (in theory) making fun not of the demographic, but of our *response* to the demographic and its stereotypes. I’m going to check out more of LCK, still haven’t done that yet (poorly researched post, what can I say??)
= ) CC

PS Lisa seems to know how to insert a smiley face, but I don’t have her gift.

8. Free4Life - June 22, 2009

I see more comedians bash married couples, but to see this guy rip on single people was something else. I’m single but took no offense to what he said. I live a life where I’m happy and could care less what other people think or say to me.

Married people have been trying to get me married for years and it hasn’t worked. I don’t have the problems that married people have and don’t want them!

The real people to envy here are not married people or single people, but the people can just don’t give a damn, who just live their lives quietly, not flaunt what they have and have no regrets despite. Those are few and far between.

I don’t know much about this guy, but if he is married and ripping on single people like this, then it’s important to consider that he was once single. Ripping on single people sounds like he’s forgetting where he came from.

Free4Life - June 22, 2009

Correction: Meant to say in the 3rd paragraph: “…despite what others say.”

onely - June 24, 2009

gotcha = )

onely - June 24, 2009

“The real people to envy here are . . . the people who just don’t give a damn. . . ” That’s right!
CC

9. Bryan - June 22, 2009

Grrr, that wasn’t fun. There is a huge divide between married people and single people but this was soooooo much more than I expected when I clicked the link. I don’t feel like my life needs more meaning just because I don’t have kids or a wife. Maybe that’s unusual but I doubt it. lol.

~Bryan

onely - June 24, 2009

Lisa and I used to think it was unusual before we started this blog. Now our wonderful readers have taught us otherwise. = )
Christina

10. Bedstorms - June 22, 2009

Funny, but more fucked up than funny. He goes on about marriage and children being “difficult” and how he “can’t die”, but singles can because “nobody gives a shit”. Single people complain? Married people aren’t always spilling their guts about their daily crap, but they do take their misery out on single people, and this clip is an example of how they act like they are more important because they have someone, and/or they have children that they are responsible for. Nobody, after all, gives a shit about what single people do or contribute to society, so they can be dumped on repeatedly with this self-centred bullshit from married people. To me, LCK comes across as your typical married asshole….

onely - June 24, 2009

I keep hoping it was his attempt at deconstructing the single stereotypes through irony. No? Too much? = )
CC

11. Courtney - June 23, 2009

I think it’s darkly humorous to say single people are able to die without consequence, while he– as a married man– doesn’t have the same er, opportunity. He doesn’t acknowledge the fact that the downside of single life is not simply a lack of southern lighting, but also a lack of social currency some singles deal with at work, in their families, with the law, etc. (Ironically, there’s one set of problems married people don’t have to deal with! :p) It’s kind of irritating.

We’d have to suspend our anger with those real inequalities and other singles-only issues to laugh at this guy’s jealousy over our ~alleged ability to have a simple death. But is that really something he envies…?

He may see this as some crazy catch-22; to him, single people don’t have the relationships that make death desirable, but they *could* die without complication. Sometimes he’d give anything to be able to off himself w/o consequence– unfortunately he can’t, as he’s not single. Any complaint coming from a single person is likely to torture this man, whose wife assassinated his sexual identity, whose children ate his dreams, and who feels trapped, at some level.

Basically, I hear this as a cry for help. :p lol

onely - June 24, 2009

seriously, bring in the paramedics.
CC


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