If you look in the dictionary under the term Jack-of-all-trades, you’ll likely find the name Louis C.K. The comedian has worn many hats in his career, including those of a producer, director, writer, actor, and editor, among others. C.K. is most famous for his standup career, which has influenced comedians like Patton Oswalt, his cult film Pootie Tang, and of course his situation comedy show Louie.
Last August, the comic announced he was taking a breather from his critically acclaimed series for a bit. And while he may be stepping away from his sitcom, that doesn’t mean the 48-year-old comedian doesn’t have other projects in the works. Not long ago, the popular comic teased his fans via email about something “brand new from Louis C.K.,” which was revealed on his website this afternoon.
Today, the comedian announced the release of his new web series Horace and Pete. The show stars Louis C.K. as Horace and Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) as the other half of the titled pair, Pete. It takes place (as reported by EW) in an Irish pub, and has some impressive guest stars attached to it, including Edie Falco, Rebecca Hall, Alan Alda, Kurt Metzger, and Stephen Wright. The first episode is currently available as a download or streaming for $5 via his website.
Horace and Pete, according to The Gothamist, plays out more like a darker take on the sitcom Cheers. Scripted like a teleplay, the show runs just over an hour and was written and directed by C.K. Horace and Pete are the owners of the New York bar where many of C.K.’s famous friends, like Jessica Lange (who plays Horace’s ex-lover) and Aidy Bryant (as Horace's daughter) have recurring roles or guest appearances. The program’s theme song was even written by Paul Simon. It also appears the show shoots in fairly quick succession to its release date, as current events (and even the upcoming Superbowl quarterbacks) are mentioned in the dramedy.
Interestingly enough, Louis C.K. eschewed traditional delivery routes for his new show, in favor of releasing the premiere directly to fans, albeit for a fee. In an era where network TV and streaming services dominate the market, the comedian chose a curious, although not surprising route to release Horace and Pete. Given the offbeat comic's penchant for marching to the beat of his own drum, self-release does make some sense. By circumventing larger broadcast services, he can retain greater control over the series and is able to offer a unique viewing experience on his own terms (for about twice the price of an iTunes download).
On the other hand, fans of the surrealistic comedy Louie won’t get a retread. If reports are correct, the show focuses more on drama than comedy, at least compared to C.K.’s darkly funny eponymous series. However, even a more theatrical tone and style is likely to be laced with the comedian’s trademark absurdities and gallows humor.
Stay tuned for more news on Louie and Horace and Pete as it develops.