Louis CK's Insight On The Left's Deplorable Mistake
Why SNL screwed up by firing Shane Gillis, and what it tells us about the country
You may not know who comedian Shane Gillis is — except perhaps because you recall hearing about a comedian being fired before ever appearing on the new cast of Saturday Night Live because of jokes he made on podcasts.
His real crime was saying Judd Apatow is “gayer than ISIS”, which is pretty funny.
The SNL firing incident and his hilarious interviews afterward elevated Gillis’s stand up — he’s about to embark on a world tour. But before leaving, he sat down for a multi-hour epic length four-podcast ramble session with Louis CK about, of all things, the history of the American presidents.
The podcast audio is here, and the YouTube links are below if you want to see the conversations. Needless to say if you know anything about either comic, I offer a very strong language warning for all of these:
Their perspectives are offered about the men, not their policies, and it has some surprising moments. CK is particularly fond of Richard Nixon, even relating a childhood dream he had about the man. He also has met a surprising number of the political figures of the past several decades in person — he describes a disarming interaction with Bob Dole at one point — by dint of his work for David Letterman and Conan O’Brien.
Podcast interviews that are this long are often the sort of thing that escape notice. I recommend them to friends and few people have the time to listen. But there was a moment at the end of the fourth episode that seemed worthy of capturing.
Here’s a lightly edited transcript from Louis’s closing thoughts in the series, which I hope you’ll read and share. It offers insight about the country, the stupidity of calling your political foes “deplorables”, the importance of loving Fox News dads, the pointlessness of Seth Meyers’ progressive clapter, and why SNL firing Gillis in the first place is indicative of the problems of the left.
Louis CK: To me, Trump changed the game in a way a lot of people could have and didn't. But I think it's got limited legs. And I think the huge mistake that the Democrats made was to shit on the people who loved him. That's a dumb idea.
Shane Gillis: They can't stop doing it. Can't stop.
Louis CK: Basket of deplorables? I mean, it's just the stupidest thing you can do.
The thing that progressives do, that I've never seen in all these years we've talked about, I've never seen a political movement assign people to the other side.
What Clinton did, what anybody running for president — Nixon did it — you could see examples of all of them when they talked, especially when they started doing town halls. Somebody would stand up and say, "I don't want to vote for you. Because I'm a Democrat." And [a politician] would go, "Okay, tell me what does that mean you being a Democrat?" "Well, the economy is very important to me, and health care, and I want people to be taken care of when they're older and sick." And [a politician] goes, "I'm afraid to tell you, but you're a Republican."
That's what people do. "I'm like you. You're like me more than you understand." Now they hedge it by saying "I don't agree with my opponent's bill for health care. But I have the same concern as you do about health care, the same values you do, and you should vote for me."
But what progressives do, if you actually say to them: "I'm a progressive." And they go: "Really? Prove it."
You say "Well, I'm for gay marriage."
"What do you mean 'gay'? what do you mean 'marriage'? You are a Trump!"
They tell other people that they belong to Trump, they push people away. Because the goal is not actually to win, and to change the country. It's an ugly, difficult thing to really change the country — difficult, boring, bureaucratic, unsatisfying, slow business. And people want to be able to make it happen like [snaps] *THIS*.
They're not trying to make something happen. They're just trying to feel, they're trying to show what they think, and perform what they are, and just get it.
They're addicted. It's a sickness. I feel sorry for them. I don't hate people like this. It's just that they're sick. They can't stop this thing. They start feeling sick inside.
So if it's not barking, they bark at it so it will bark back. Now, that's on both sides. That's everybody on the Trump side, it's everybody on the progressive side. It's sick. But I feel as for me, I'm skipping over Trump because I think the whole country has been in a fevered nightmare for all the time he was president.
And he was the perfect president for the time we were living in. He was. All the people that hate Trump, that really hate him, are exactly like him.
And they picked him! CNN and MSNBC refused to talk about any other Republicans. I wrote a dumb thing that I never should have written about Trump. And the point of it was, “pick a real conservative.”
I'm not a conservative, generally. I am about certain things. I mean, look, if I go to a smoothie place, I don't pick one of the cool blue or the berries. I like to make my own. That's where I am politically, like bananas with some spinach. So that's where I am politically.
But if you're going to pick a conservative person who's going to really talk about conservative politics, there's a lot of value in that. And then let's have a real debate.
Trump wasn't that to me. He was a psycho weirdo f---ing salesman. He was extremely effective, fascinating, had his finger on the pulse of the people. Knew how to run a rally. Then they would get in his helicopter by the way and buzz them because he thought it was funny to watch them run in fear because he's a screwed up dude.
Shane Gillis: No, no, no — man he did that because it was cool. It was because it was cool. And the people down there were probably like, ya know, "Yeaaaaaah!".
Here's the thing with Trump. To me, he's just a result of where we were politically.
Louis CK: Yes, he was a result.
Shane Gillis: He was a result. He's not the cause. And to watch the way the left, kicked and screamed the entire time he was in office... And they got their way. They got their way.
And that's what bothers me because there's a part of me that's always like, look, I'm glad he's gone so we don't have to f---ing fight every single day. That was annoying. But do I want to reward the side that f---ing cried every day when they lost? Do we want to reward them with an actual result, which is they got their guy, who happens to be dead?
Louis CK: I used to tell my kids and people around me that were really upset when Trump won, "Hey, that's how we felt when Reagan won. And you know, we got a lot of good after him and even some good from him."
It's like when people are afraid of terrorism. That was all anybody cared about after 9/11. Everybody was like, "we're all gonna get blown up. It's gonna be the end. It's gonna be another many more 9/11s." And I said: that's what we thought about nuclear war.
So these kinds of things do happen cyclically, and I think that the only way you get out of them is by giving up on our side vs. your side, and I see people doing that. I see everybody doing that.
I see it in way you do what you do on stage. You would go to the Comedy Cellar, and you want to tell some jokes about your dad. And you'd say, “my dad is a Fox News guy.” And they all go "booooooooo", because it's in New York City and they have no shame. Just booing.
Shane Gillis: Yeah, just booing my dad.
Louis CK: "Boooo! Boooo! This is definitely the right move."
And you would just take it, with your red-Irish half-retarded face. And you would just take it, and get angry. But you'd swallow the anger and you continue talking about your dad. It was hard but you kept going. And you're not being Theo Von playing in the South, you're hitting New York City — nothing against him, but you're here.
And then one night you said "my dad's a Trump guy, he's a Fox News guy." And they said "booooooo", and you said, "Hey, all your dads are Fox News guys."
And they went off [laughing and clapping]. And you said, "Guess what? You want your dad to be a Fox News guy." And you found this common ground with them.
The thing that SNL really f---ed up by not having you on there — by the way you wouldn't have been able to do what you do on that show.
Shane Gillis: Of course.
Louis CK: But if you could have been you, your version of the thing that you do that's great, is that you can make fun of Pennsylvania, Fox News, Trump World people because they're your family, and you love them, and they're part of you. And yet you hate them, you want out, you're growing up...
Shane Gillis: I don't know, it's growing on me, I'm going back dude...
Louis CK: You can only make fun of someone if you love them. If there's love there and you know them. And you know, Seth f---ing Meyers, and his "Trump ba da bip bip bip"… There's no funny, their jokes are crafted, but I don't give a f---.
Shane Gillis: It's like “it's us versus those idiots.”
Louis CK: Yes, that's not fun. It's fun to watch a guy go "This is my dad. You want to know what's really flawed about a Fox News guy? Listen to the stories about my dad because unfortunately, you're gonna like my dad. Yeah, you're gonna like him." And that makes being able to like go, "you f---er, but I can't hate you".
We probably disagree about almost everything, but I can't get your sound anywhere else. I can't get your sound of humanity anywhere else. So I think that all this time drove us apart and then we got lonely.
This is a human story. You want to get away from people that you think are hurting you and then you miss them so much. Then you come back together, and know we'll do it again...
Trump's magic was an absolute perfect narcissism, like a crystal f---ing diamond, just perfect, no flaws, at an age where that was what the country is... He came at a time where people were obsessed with personal attention, with feelings, and they just were in denial about what's going to happen.
Shane Gillis: He was a result of social media. He was a result of how America is acting.
He was also a result of the left being complete f---ing dickheads. And it was more fun to be like, “I want to watch Trump win and watch these people, that openly hate me, I want to watch them cry when Hillary loses.”
Louis CK: I understand that. I felt in agony every minute that he was president and I hated it. But I understand why people dug him.
Shane Gillis: I didn't vote for him. But the night he won, I was doing an open mic and I was like, this is fun. I got to watch all the alt comics literally crying.
And I was happy.
Louis CK: I was on tour in Dallas the night he won. I said "Hey, guys, you know all this stuff about being problematic?" Because everybody was into "problematic!" and writing pieces about it. And I was like, "So, this is what you did. Thank you."
There's no conversation going on anymore. Nobody's really defending liberal politics. And there isn't a real conservative running. It's just a shit show.
Shane Gillis: The right should just put out a guy that goes: "Aren't they f---ing crazy?" and do well because of how crazy the left is.
Louis CK: I think the best thing that would restore the country is a f---ing normal conservative. Normal. Chris Christie? Just a normal f---ing dude.
There's no Democrat first of all, they're all behind Biden. Not one Democrat is talking about running. So it's going to be Biden.
Shane Gillis: It can't be. It literally can't be.
Louis CK: It's such a mess over on the Democrat side. It's got to be somebody who goes back to just being regular. And I don't want a conservative president, but I believe I live in a democracy, and that the President should only sometimes reflect my values.
Because I'm a part of the country, not the whole country. If I lived in a country where I love the president my whole lifetime, that would be f---ed up. Because I only agree with about 30% of the people in the country...
To me, the thing on the left is: they have no respect for liberty. America is about democracy and liberty. It's about that we choose amongst ourselves, that there's a working fair democracy. And it's about you can say what you want. You can believe what you want. You can be who you want. You can have the identity. You can be anything you want.
The great American ideal is: leave people the f--- alone. That's the one they forget. Leave folks alone. Let people do what they want.
And the left forgot that. They don't give a f--- about freedom of speech anymore. They don't get how stupid it is to shut people up, and how quickly that's going to come around and kick you in the ass.
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