What Louis C.K. can’t say on FX

OK, we're keeping Comedy Central's caption for this one: "Louis C.K. imagines Jimmy Carter falling to his death, says ‘retarded' like a weatherman, and shares his thoughts on pedophilia."

Louis C.K.'s newest project will probably offend all kinds of people. Except for the mentally disabled. (Or so FX hopes, it seems.)

When making Louie, which premieres tonight with two episodes at 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. on FX, C.K. was warned of three words he couldn't say on TV: the expected F-word and C-word, and then, weirdly, the word "retarded."

The FX network has built a reputation for allowing its writers loads of creative freedom. Louie might even be an exaggerated example of that, since FX basically threw money at C.K. to write and shoot episodes with no network supervision, input, or restrictions.   

So the "retarded" hitch comes as a bit of a surprise. Blatant disregard for offending people has always been a cornerstone of C.K.'s humor, as he never sacrifices a funny bit to avoid the scorn of his more uptight listeners. Those who have seen his stand-up special "Chewed Up" know that he's fascinated by bad words and their usage, and he's even adamantly defended of the word "retard" on Opie & Anthony.

Louie is the comic's second attempt to bring his onstage sensibility to television, after 2006's Lucky Louie, a family sitcom that HBO cancelled after 13 episodes. Louie seems like more of an experiment, with episodes that shun story arcs in favor of a format that splices live clips of C.K.'s  stand-up with scripted vignettes of "Louie" in comedic real-world situations.

C.K. will use the show to breathe life into his on-stage ruminations on touchy subjects. For example, one of the early episodes includes a thorough discussion about the word "faggot," which C.K. calls one of his favorite Louie scenes so far.

No such discussions about the word "retard" will take place on Louie.
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