YouTuber Nerdwriter1 recently uploaded a video that tries to explain why Louis C.K.’s comedy is so successful. The YouTuber breaks down a classic Louie joke and explains how the comedian makes simple changes in delivery to make an uneventful premise memorable.
The joke, in full, below.
I play Monopoly with my kids. That’s really fun. My nine-year-old, she can totally do Monopoly. The six-year-old actually totally gets how the game works, but she’s not emotionally developed enough to handle her inevitable loss in every game of Monopoly. Because a Monopoly loss is dark. It’s heavy. It’s not like–when you lose at Candyland, “Oh, you got stuck in the fudgey thing, baby! Oh well! You’re in the gummy twirlios and you didn’t get to win.” But when she loses at Monopoly, I gotta look at her little face and I go, “Okay, so here’s what’s going to happen now, okay? All your property, everything you have, all your railroads, your houses, all your money–that’s mine now. You gotta give it all to me. Give it to me, that’s right. And no–no, you can’t play anymore, see, because even though you’re giving me all of that, it doesn’t even touch how much you owe me. It doesn’t even touch it, baby. You’re going down hard. It’s really bad. All you’ve been working for, all day, I’m going to take it now and I’m going to use it to destroy your sister. I’m gonna ruin her! It’s just mayhem on this board for her now.
At just over 200 words, the joke takes about a minute and a half to deliver, and is based on the premise that Louie enjoys playing monopoly with his children, and that his youngest daughter understands the game, but doesn’t have the emotional capacity to handle her inevitable loss.
According to Nerdwriter1, one of the many things that Louie does to take the simple premise and make it memorable is that he inflects very choice words to make the bit stand out.
Take for example the first line about his six-year-old.
“The six-year-old actually totally gets how the game works, but she’s not emotionally developed enough to handle her inevitable loss in every game of Monopoly,” Louie jokes.
The YouTuber explains that in this line, the injection of “inevitable” and “every” add a certain gravitas that a simple line about his daughter losing may not have. He later explains that Louie is also a master of staying in the moment, and keeping the audience engaged.
“He doesn’t give the audience new information, he augments the information already given,” Nerdwriter1 explains.
This, the uploader states, is a trait that Louie learned from Jerry Seinfeld.
“Stay in the bit, stay in the bit that they’re reacting to,” Seinfeld once told Louie.
“If you’re angry and that’s why they’re applauding, you stay in that energy.”
Later in the video, Nerdwriter1 explains the strength of point and counterpoint and how Louie is a master at taking the smallest bit of information and emphasizing it to the max.