Three days later and I still have difficulty defining the heightened emotional state we’ve been experiencing in Minneapolis. I’ve personally been spontaneously ambushed by welling tears that have been hardly unexpected. But whether Prince’s death knocked you flat or merely held your attention, to be in Minneapolis right now, and to see and read about the tributes pouring in from every corner of the globe, is to tap into a once-in-a-lifetime moment of civic communion. You don’t have to be Prince’s biggest fan—I’m about 97 to 98 percent sure I’m not—to recognize it. This is a town of 3.5 million Prince stories.
Purple Rain (#1–10 of 3)
1. “Lisa Kudrow’s Comeback Is A Rare Second Chance.” In 2005, Kudrow and Michael Patrick King created The Comeback for HBO, but, ahead of its time in its critique of celebrity, reality TV, and narcissism, it lasted only one season. Nine years later, they reveal the story behind the now-beloved cult comedy’s unlikely return.
“Kudrow had a different—and delayed—reaction to the show’s cancellation. ’I was sad, because I wouldn’t get to do it anymore,’ she said. ’I didn’t feel insulted. I felt—still—I was so proud of what we had done, honestly. And Michael was so angry. I thought, I’m not angry. Is that a problem?’ Years later, though, she was watching HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher alone in her house, and Maher made a joke about how you can make fun of a white man, because they have power, but, Kudrow remembered him saying, ’You don’t make fun of the victim. It’s not funny.’ Maher’s comment had nothing to do with The Comeback, but ’the penny dropped,’ she said.”
Real creative success is something that has to be won. It isn’t a ribbon you get for having just enough noble intent in your heart. If you followed the third season of FX’s Louie, you’ll know that comedian Louis C.K. passed noble intent a long time ago.
After two seasons of steady brilliance, season three of Louie continued to tread some fantastic dimension where a half-hour television comedy is about real discovery. The stand-up bits about uncomfortable blowjobs and the theoretical upside to pedophilia would never fly on a network show, but you remember the jokes more for their perspective than their lewdness. You can watch Louie and be struck with the sense that its artful handling of moral struggles and carnal impulses requires some deep philosophical reflection. At its best, though, the line between C.K.’s visceral humor and his brooding is hard to define. It’s not always obvious what you’re laughing about, but you do laugh.