Louis CK, 2010
20th Century Fox ★★★★★
Can there be any comedic mileage left in middle-age male rage and self-loathing? Improbably, the answer is yes. Exploring the kinds of dark corners of the masculine psyche that even Larry David might baulk at, US stand-up veteran Louis CK writes, directs and stars in this autobiographical sitcom about a bedraggled comic serving out his days as a divorced father-of-two and his nights as a New York club performer. The comedy is frequently near the knuckle – likening God to an abusive alcoholic; lashing out at his elderly mother – but usually even nearer the funny bone. And somehow Louie still comes across as likeable. Often the tropes are familiar – Curb-like confrontations interspersed with stand-up, Seinfeld-style – but there are also moments of clowning worthy of a young Woody Allen, surreal flights of fancy and, occasionally, moments of painful honesty and insight that transcend comedy altogether.