Louis C. K. and contemporary fatherhood

I am such a fan of Louis C. K. My husband and I stream his show about every other night and it cracks us up. I have never seen a man speak publicly about fatherhood so accurately. Louis has two daughters (we have three) and the conflicted emotions he expresses about raising his kids are spot on.

I just Googled “Louis C. K. contemporary fatherhood” and came up with a recent piece from The Atlantic.

Of course, to earn the title of America’s Dad (from someone other than me, I mean) Louis probably has to have a higher Nielsen share than what he currently pulls in.

So that’s me and the writer of this Atlantic article at least, so far. Join the club! If you are not watching Louis yet and are interested at all in parenting issues, you’ve got to check this guy out. He is X-rated and, at times, his language and the topics he goes into leave my mouth hanging open. But at the same time, he is charming.

The show we watched last night made me really think about all the basic ways in every day life, our culture does not support fatherhood.

Here is Louis C.K. on the challenges of having to use the bathroom the same time his daughters do:

I was at the airport with my kids, I was at JFK, and they had to go to the bathroom and I had to go to the bathroom. So take yourself through that logically. Where do I… What do I do? I can’t take them to the ladies room. I can’t just… “Go on in there, girls… Into the public restroom of an international airport.” Just release my custody of them to whoever’s in there. “Go ahead, good luck to you. Maybe I’ll see you later.”
So I gotta take them into the men’s room, that’s what I have to do, is take them into the John F. Kennedy Airport men’s room. Look here, girls! Nine penises! Nine penises that are all peeing at the same time. Nine farting men from all over the world, with their dicks out, shaking off droplets of pee from their syphilitic penises. Look, three of them have foreskins. You can see the difference now.’


So much of Louis’s show is about these interactions with his daughters, not sanitized. Clearly, his kids are a part of his life. If there were more fathers like Louis C.K., I bet there would be more family bathrooms in airports.

Louis also does an amazing job of expressing the conflicted feeling parents have towards children. He hides his ice cream from his daughters. When his kids are finally asleep, to get them back for staying up so late, Louis takes his bowl of ice cream into their room and eats it in the dark over their sleeping heads.

The Atlantic posts another example of his ambivalence:

“When am I going to go to momma’s again?” Louis’ daughter asks as they do their pre-bedtime routine. “I like momma’s better. I like momma’s better because she makes good food. And I love her more so I like being there, too. I like being here, too. It’s just not as great.” Louis takes it in with great equanimity and, as she turns away to go to sleep, he gives his little daughter the finger.

When we have more fathers like Louis C.K., the world will be a better place.

Reel Girl rates Louie C.K.***HH***



4 thoughts on “Louis C. K. and contemporary fatherhood

  1. I apologize, since this comment has nothing to do with this wonderful post. I have been a reader for quite some time, and have read some of your thoughts on Wreck-It Ralph.

    There is a discussion happening on my Facebook I’m wondering if you might want to blog about. I have not seen the movie – I am hoping to take my godsons soon – but was saddened to read in an HuffPo article that not only is the “King of Candy” the beaten-horse stereotype of the effeminate male villain, but that Ralph refers to him at one point as a “Nelly Wafer”, obviously meant to be a bon mot on “Nilla Wafer”. The article (rightly, in my opinion and experience) that “Nelly” is an insulting and bellitting term, if not a downright homophobic slur. Some have jumped in to claim that the term is antiquated, so therefore not offensive; or because children may not understand the word’s connotations, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be in a G rated Disney movie.

    Obviously, there’s the issue of femininity – regardless of the gender of the person – is evil, wrong, or makes a person weak. The word “nelly”, though…I know personally it’s a pretty offensive term, and not one I would want my godsons to be throwing around in their sandbox recreations.

    Just thought you might find this worthy of a post. Thanks for the blog; as a gender non-normative godparent, I appreciate your insights and candor about sexism and genderism in media, and use them as a guide when deciding how to help raise them to have a healthy and balanced understanding of what “boys” and “girls” are/are not.

    • Hi del,

      Thanks for bring it up. I am thinking back to King Candy and think he did have that stereotype “gay lisp.” I am not familiar with the “nelly” insult. I will look it up.


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