The good Doctor asks:
Is there something about you that makes you deeply, unwaveringly averse to certain entertainments?
Specifically, he’s thinking about his own problem with vicarious embarrassment, as he says, “I absolutely cannot watch scenes that involve people humiliating themselves.”
The comment thread on that post reveals that this is a common trait for some members of the League. I, myself, have difficulties with scenes that involve people humiliating themselves. One scene that is in my “most unwatchable” top ten scenes is one of these scenes. Oooh! Post idea, top ten unwatchable scenes.
However! I have an exception to this rule. It involves verisimilitude. It is not “people humiliating themselves” that bothers me; it’s “people humiliating themselves in a way that appears both true and real to the viewer”.
There are people who don’t like Curb Your Enthusiasm largely because Larry David’s schtick is humiliating himself. Unlike Jason Alexander’s portrayal of Larry David… which was funny because it was ridiculous… Larry David’s portrayal of Larry David can be painful to watch. Note -> this is why Jason Alexander plays Larry David better than Larry David plays Larry David, and why Larry David is a much better writer than actor.
Louie CK, though, is in a class all his own. It’s not that his self-humiliation is less true, because his self-humiliation is certainly true. It’s that it is unreal. There’s a moment in each Louie episode when you just start to grimace a bit, watching something that could turn, oh-so-easily, into a painful expression of real, human self loathing… and then the switch is flipped, and the unreality comes on, and it turns from potentially-self-loathing into something absurdist and freely hilarious. Rather than laughing at Louie’s real humiliation, we’re laughing at Louie’s imagined instance of something that is true, but is no longer real.
I get the feeling that a dinner party involving Louie and Salvador Dalí might be one of the most fantastically awesome things ever.