Louis CK is undoubtedly a funny guy. His standup is some of the only stuff out there forging new legitimately funny terrain in an era of political correctness run amok.
He speaks to the human condition. He says things many are thinking but are too afraid to say. He’s even not afraid to experiment with some relatively dangerous material in order to break new ground, as evidenced in his last Saturday Night Live appearance’s opening monologue.
The dominance of Louis CK on the standup scene has also captured the interest of Jerry Seinfeld fans, and one recently posed the question on Facebook as to whether Louis CK is the heir apparent to Seinfeld’s unofficial comedy crown.
The short answer to that inquiry? No.
While no one is taking anything away from the ability of Louis CK and the fact that he has his finger on the pulse of today’s generations, there are two things that keep him from achieving Seinfeld-like status, and it’s something that occurred to me while browsing the SEINFELD OBSESSED Facebook group.
For starters, Louis CK is too political with his comedy. There isn’t a doubt where he stands when it comes to election day (the Left).
While Jerry Seinfeld may very well be a liberal at heart, you can’t tell it in his sitcom, his material, or his public appearances.
He’s even gone as far as defending Fox News in a discussion with left-leaning atheist Bill Maher. He’s had everyone from Republican Jay Leno to conservative Public Enemy No. 1, Barack Obama, on his web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
In all of these instances, Seinfeld has a chameleon-like ability to hang out with whomever he’s with and appear as if they’re great friends. That’s because Seinfeld’s comedy is less about making a statement and more about shining a light on the absurdity of life, which is something everyone can appeal to — liberal, conservative, centrist, or the politically agnostic.
This is a truth that hit home for me when Jerry announced he would be featuring Barack Obama on the new season of Comedians. There were so many commenters who loved Seinfeld and loved the show, but hated the sight of Obama. There were others who loved that the president was going to be on, and defended his record.
From the vantage point of a longtime Seinfeld fan and a guy who has seen every episode at least 40 times, yet isn’t a fan of the president, I found myself realizing that Seinfeld’s comedy has done a terrific job of bringing people together.
Louis CK doesn’t do that. He is very funny, but his comedy does not appeal to everyone.
Furthermore, Seinfeld, barring the underage girl he dated earlier in his career, has kept his nose clean of scandal. Louis CK, while far from “convicted” in the court of public opinion, has a very odd rumor spreading across the internet of sexual misconduct that he has yet to address.
The internet has a heightened sense of awareness on this in light of the troubling Bill Cosby accusations, and so the stories on Louis CK, which you can get a sense of from Gawker, are problematic to long-term mass appeal until he openly refutes them.
Thankfully for Seinfeld, he didn’t have that burden to bear when he was dating 17-year-old Shoshanna Lonstein as a 39-year-old man.
Louis CK and Seinfeld do share certain qualities in their comedy — both are biting and brilliant — but for CK, Seinfeld’s reign is unapproachable for the reasons mentioned above, and the fact that Jerry Seinfeld is a master businessperson and a master of reinvention as evidenced in his successful life after Seinfeld.
While Louis CK has dabbled in reinvention throughout his career, he has never had to overcome the massive successes and notoriety of Seinfeld to stay relevant for a new generation.
In that sense, he’s got a long way to go.
But what do you think, readers? Is Louis CK the heir apparent to Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy throne? Sound off in the comments section.