In case you haven’t heard, Louis C.K. randomly released a ten-part series on his website called Horace and Pete, and it happens to be incredible.
You probably didn’t hear about it since the only people who were aware of the show were the ones working on it, but now it’s all finished and he’s finally going around promoting it.
Louis Székely (pronounced as you’d guess, C.K.) has had a huge career, ranging from writing for himself, writing for other comedians (Conan, Chris Rock), directing (Pootie Tang, Louie), acting, and of course, stand-up.
If you’ve seen more than a few episodes of his show Louie, or some of his stand-up, you’re familiar with his style of comedy. Brash, in your face, showcasing a cold reality of the world, vulgar, and dark. All while making you laugh. A lot. For those who find some of his comedy too heavy to handle, avoid Horace and Pete. As every episode ended, I stayed still in my chair, unable to move, except to play the next episode. I could only watch two episodes at a time as it was too much for me to handle.
Louis raised the money himself and went to the actors personally and asked them if they were interested in being in a new show. It wasn’t connected to any company due to the fact that Louis wanted to make something that didn’t have any limitations. He wanted full creative control.
C.K. had recently released comedy specials out of the blue for sale on his own website, and Horace and Pete followed a similar release schedule. On January 30th, he released the first episode on his website at $5. The episode had only been filmed earlier that month. He sent a “press release” of sorts to his e-mail followers, telling everyone about this show, but didn’t specify how many episodes it would be, or how long each episode would last (over the 10 episodes, it varies between 30 minutes to an hour in length). Outside of the e-mails, he wouldn’t give statements about the show to anybody, so the viewers could only wait to find out if there was or wasn’t a next episode.
I had seen a few websites run articles about the show being released in secret, that it was incredible, and nothing else. I was interested in watching it but never got around to it. It wasn’t until recently, when a friend went on Twitter and started writing about how this show has deeply affected him, that I finally gave it a shot. I understand his high praise. I’ve never seen anything like this before.
Horace and Pete follows Horace (Louis C.K.) and his brother Pete (Steve Buscemi) as they run a bar with Uncle Pete (Alan Alda). The bar is named Horace and Pete’s, and since it opened in 1916, it has always been run by a Horace and a Pete. It’s a multi-cam dramedy that makes you laugh before leaving you with this constant, empty void. The show took a hold of me like no other. It wasn’t like past things I’ve seen in which days pass and I’m still there thinking about what it all means, but rather, it literally changed my mood over the past week. I distanced myself from some people, and it wasn’t until I finished the final episode that I felt I was able to finally breathe. In one of many episodes, I fought back tears as the characters that Louis had made are so painstakingly real, that when you watch them break down, you feel it’s real. And sometimes it was.
Louis was a guest on his friend Marc Maron’s podcast, WTF, where he goes in-depth about how it came to be (it deserves a listen if you like the show). He discussed how the show tended to move through him, as he sat down the show would just unfold in front of him as he wrote. Most of the moments in which Louis would cry in the show were unscripted, unable to hold back because he felt that, as he became Horace, when he looked at Buscemi, he was looking at his brother.
I know some of this doesn’t make you want to watch it, but I implore you to do so. It’s a heavy show, and at times leaves you absolutely terrified at what the outcomes may be, but it’s one of the best written…anything..I’ve seen in a long time. I was often speechless after each episode because I couldn’t imagine where it was going next. When it did reveal itself, it typically hurt.
The show won’t make you happy, but if you’re a fan of dramas that leave you with your heart ripped out, this is for you.
The entire show can be bought on his website. It’s worth it.