Fatherhood, Feminism, and Failure in Louis C.K.’s Comedy

  • Peter C. Kunze


On April 28, 2014, comedian Louis C.K. launched into a tirade on Twitter against the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a nationwide educational program better known as simply the Common Core. The father of two lamented, “My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!”1 The subsequent tweets revealed pictures of his third grader’s challenging math homework as well as commentary on the increasing dependence on testing to evaluate teachers and schools and how it was hurting children’s ability to learn. He concluded his polemic with a joke: “Okay I’m done. This is just one dumb, fat parent’s POV. I’m pissed because I love NYC public schools. mice, lice and all.”2 These seemingly innocuous tweets, the public rantings of a frustrated father, foreground several aspects and themes of Louis C.K.’s comic performance, including his sincere concern for his children and the future, his self-deprecating attitude toward himself, and his ability to address serious concerns with a comic perspective that largely invites rather than alienates the audience, before ultimately undercutting it a bit to avoid being too serious or self-righteous. In effect, he fails to uphold his own message—but that’s the point.


Single Father American Cinema Twitter Post Situation Comedy Narrative World 
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© Peter C. Kunze 2016

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  • Peter C. Kunze

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