Louis C.K. and Bob Newhart sit down with host David Steinberg to talk about comedy and what’s important to them. The episode flips back-and-forth between segments with each comic and there doesn’t seem to be a particular reason for the edits, except that it gives Steinberg an easy way to create the finished episode.
Inside Comedy airs on SHOWTIME on Mondays at 11 pm ET.
Louis C.K. Talks Business and Some Stuff I Can’t Share Here
It’s difficult to imagine two comics more different stylistically than host David Steinberg and Louis C.K. Steinberg made his name in the late 1970s as a “thinking man’s comic” that was clean, precise and amiable. Louis C.K., on the other hand, possesses none of those qualities. But they both understand comedy and that’s the middle ground they found in their segment.
Louis C.K. talks about his career and how he’s learned to not expect too much from any one “break.” If anything, he tells Steinberg, he’s become more determined to do what he likes doing, even if it’s not ultimately a commercial success. One thing that has been a success has been his method of getting fans to pay for a direct download of one of his concerts. His $5 per show method was a financial success and motivated other comics to try a similar approach. He and Steinberg also discuss his hit show “Louie,” and how he tends to be the person who says the least in the show. They show a clip in which Louie breaks up with his girlfriend, but barely says a word. He makes her say it all, which is brilliantly painful to watch.
The Button Down Mind of Bob Newhart
As for veteran comic and actor Bob Newhart, he and David Steinberg have a lengthy working history together. Steinberg came up during Newhart’s comedic heyday and went on to direct some episodes of his hit sitcom “Newhart.” They discuss the show and the iconic ending, which had Suzanne Pleshette (from Newhart’s previous hit sitcom) show up in the final scene. Newhart credits his wife for coming up with the idea, although I’ve heard at least a half dozen people take at least partial credit for the twist.
Most people don’t realize that aside from his very successful TV career, Newhart was a real groundbreaker in the comedy world. He was the first comic to become a star with a style that was conversational and not driven by punchlines. There’s a clip of him from the old “Gerry Moore” talk show and it’s fascinating to watch him sound as if he’s just making it up on the fly.
“There were ways to do the show that it would definitely succeed and ways to do the show that I really wanted to try and were likely kill it. And I took that road. Because it was more fun and I didn’t mind if it didn’t work anymore.”
–Louis C.K. discussing why his series “Lucky Louie” didn’t succeed.
“Agents never give you bad news and my agent said ‘I can never get you any more work’.”
–Louis C.K. recounts the critical reaction to the movie “Pootie Tang”
“A lot of people just want to take pictures with you, that’s the new thing. And I don’t really like taking pictures, that feels weird to me.”
–Louis C.K. talks about the one thing that he doesn’t want to do with fans
“There was a sea change in comedy. Nobody got together and said we’re going to change the way things are done. But myself, Mort Sahl, Johnny Winters, Lenny Bruce…we assumed an intelligence on the part of the audience.”
–Bob Newhart’s talks about the Chicago comedy scene in the 1960s.