Friday, August 04, 2006

Scene stealer

Still enjoying "Lucky Louie" on HBO. I was leery of the show at first -- the concept could've fallen flat if Louis C.K. wasn't such a comedy titan. Each episode unfolds very conventionally with a stock-type plot from the TV-o-Matic 5000, but C.K. puts some English on cue ball with a fair amount of crude language and completely inappropriate sexual content.

I haven't seen a ton of C.K.'s comedy, so this show is a great primer in his abilities as a master laughsman. And as a producer, he's exhibiting an acumen for casting -- the show is loaded with N.Y. comics galore, presumably all friends from stand-up. I especially like the work of the delightfully unhinged Rick Shapiro, who plays his brother-in-law Jerry.

Shapiro is a comedy vet himself, a kinetic monologist who had his own weekly show at Bowery Poetry Club in New York. He's had a few movie roles (notably in C.K.'s "Pootie Tang"), but this seems to be his biggest national exposure to date. Speaking of exposure, he's making the most of this shot with a gratuitous amount of full-frontal nudity and a fair amount of twitchy physical comedy. He has a weasely, unctuous appearance and a gravelly, nasal voice, perfect for his loopy brand of dropout-addict comedy.

In one scene, Shapiro's Jerry asked to stay away from the titular character's apartment for 48 hours, so Louie can enjoy a sex-filled weekend with the wife. Anytime someone enters or leaves the apartment, there he is, lurking awkwardly at the end of the hallway, not quite knowing what to do with himself.

He asks the neighbor, "Do you have the time?" The neighbor tells him it's 12:30. A beat passes, and Shapiro just looks confused. "Do you have the day?"