Things have been pretty quiet from Louis C.K. lately, but that may have been because he was working on a secret new project. He just released a new web series on his website titled Horace and Pete. The first episode focuses on the depressing realities of life for barflies and bartenders. It definitely seems more dramatic than comedic.
The release of the new web series came as a surprise to the comedian’s fans. The launch of the show was announced via email to fans titled “A Brand New Thing From Louis C.K.” Saturday morning. Viewers can pay $5 for access to the 67 minute show through his website. For several years, C.K. has used this distribution model to release many of his projects.
In the email, Louis C.K. didn’t offer many details about the show. There’s no description or explanation of what the series is about. The first episode of the dark comedy follows two Brooklynites who run a dark, windowless bar and their zany cast of patrons. The show seems to be set in the immediate present. In the the first episode, there is a reference to Donald Trump’s decision to skip the last Republican debate before the Iowa caucus. The show is staged like a play, but is filmed using cuts and camera zooms.
Louis C.K. wrote and stars in the series, playing bar owner Horace. Steve Buscemi stars as Pete, who runs the bar with Horace, and Alan Alda is their grizzled, racist Uncle Pete.They are joined by a collection of barflies played by Jessica Lange, Steven Wright, Nick DiPaolo, and other comedians and actors. Aidy Bryant, of “Saturday Night Live,” plays Horace’s daughter, and Edie Falco plays his sister, who wants to shut down the desolate bar. The theme song for the show was written by Paul Simon.
The initial episode for the show features recurring themes for Louis C.K. As usual, parents are bewildered by their children, each new day is as trying and confusing as the last, and people are overdependent on technology. The show also hits a number of talking points of the political present, including race, health care, and the issues facing small businesses. One reviewer likened it to an ad produced by a Super PAC funded by angry comedians supporting no one. Release dates for subsequent episodes have not yet been announced.