Horace and Pete is finally available for your viewing pleasure. Don’t worry. You’re not alone if you haven’t heard of Horace and Pete. It’s the latest project from the comedic mind of Louis C.K. released exclusively on his website, apparently one episode at a time. Saturday morning, C.K. sent out this email to his subscriber distribution list, announcing the availability of the first rendition of his new show:
“Hi there. Horace and Pete episode one is available for download. $5. Go here to watch it. We hope you like it.”
Horace and Pete, like Louis C.K.’s smash cult hit, Louie, stars, and is written and directed by C.K. himself. Unlike Louie, however, Horace and Pete appears to have more of a star-studded supporting cast, as the first episode (and seemingly beyond that) features Steve Buscemi, Alan Alda, Edie Falco and Aidy Bryant of Saturday Night Live fame. Only the first episode is listed and available on C.K.’s website, though there are three available slots below the first, perhaps indicating that there’s more where that came from.
The premiere episode of Horace and Pete runs 67 minutes, free of time-slot constraints. The New York Times calls it “mournful and unshakable” as Louis C.K. plays the role of Horace, who runs a Brooklyn dive bar with his business partner Pete, played by Buscemi. Aidy Bryant gets into the act as Horace’s daughter, while Falco plays Horace’s sister looking for ownership of the bar that once belonged to their deceased father. Alda rounds out the cast as Uncle Pete, the residing old-man barkeep.
The unannounced release of Horace and Pete isn’t uncommon for C.K., as the comedian has offered five-dollar downloads of comedy specials in the past. Even pop sensation Beyoncé and legendary rock group U2 have experimented with this approach. But this is the first time C.K. has offered up a scripted piece of television – available only online. Hulu and Netflix have to feel like they missed out.
Horace and Pete deals with topical issues such as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Iowa caucuses, as well as a racial discussion surrounding Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Fundamentally, Horace and Pete is not a traditional comedy. It may not even be considered a comedy at all. Louis C.K. has experimented in the dark and strange in several episodes of his FX show, often flipping between the light-hearted and the dramatic. And despite the comedic backgrounds of much of the cast, as well as its supporting players (bar patrons), Horace and Pete is more of the latter.
Aside from Horace and Pete, Louis C.K. has been entrenched in the development of FX’s latest comedy Baskets starring Zach Galifianakis. The two have collaborated in creating and writing the series which premiered as the most-watched basic cable comedy series premiere since 2014, according to Deadline. Baskets has certainly dabbled in the strange, which is no more evident than comedian Louie Anderson portraying Galifianakis’ mother to perfection. The darkness blends brilliantly with Galifianakis’ style of humor, which C.K. has lauded. C.K. is also directing the feature film Better Things, set for a 2016 release, starring Pamela Adlon.
The New Yorker is calling Horace and Pete“startling and despairing,” but also “hopeful.” Its consumers will likely consider this latest effort successful, considering everything C.K. has touched has turned to gold recently. His television career nearly failed after HBO’s Lucky Louie was cancelled after just one season. But his commitment to writing, directing and editing nearly everything he creates has turned him into the industry’s premier comedian. He’s certainly in demand, though no indication as of yet as to when the second episode of Horace and Pete or the sixth season of Louie will be released.
[Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Comedy Central]