This week, both members of Mapped were in London. The reason, besides friendship, was to see Louis CK’s standup in a ridiculously large arena show.
I (Randall) am studying linguistics, for officialZ, and as a result, we (Randall & Elizabeth) are linguistic Rain Men. We analyse every phrase for sound, syllabic structure, aspiration, etc. When you talk to us, 95% of the time we’re not really listening to you.
While we were waiting for Louis CK to come on, Elizabeth said, “Louis CK’s always restating what he just said in declarative sentences.” I was all, “Word?”
Turns out, she’s right. Take his bit on ‘the n-word’ for example:
When you say ‘the n-word’, you put the word ‘nigger’ in the listener’s head. That’s what saying a word is.
He does something like this again when he talks about slavery on Jay Leno:
I’ve heard educated white people say “slavery was 400 years ago.” No it very wasn’t. It was 140 years ago. That’s two 70-year-old ladies living and dying back to back. That’s how recently you could buy a guy.
His observations make us uncomfortable because they’re true, and what makes them so funny is as much about how he says them as what he says. “Here’s what I notice. That’s what it is.” It’s like a mirror that tells you you’re an asshole.
Thus ends our observation. Thanks London; it’s been real.
Image: ‘Portrait of chess players’ by Marcel Duchamp