“You never see a little kid in Africa with his ribs showing going, ‘I am starving right now. I’m like literally starving to death. It’s like annoying.'”
There’s no one quite like Louis CK for comedy that targets some of America’s worst behavior — as in the above, where he comments on our penchant for using the phrase “I’m starving,” when we’ve eaten only hours ago. Hosting Saturday Night Live this past weekend, Louis delivered an opening monologue that touched on everything from the inanity of elementary school plays to the insanity of naming an item of clothing a “wife beater.” But where things got best for you and me, dear reader, was when we got into issues of heaven, hell, and the existence of God. Louis imagines an exasperated God as person after person dies and is disappointed by the afterlife:
“I don’t know who’s telling people [about heaven]! I’m supposed to make a universe and then another whole amazing place for afterwards? You guys are greedy dicks down there!”
It’s after this jaunt into heaven that CK talks about his own agnosticism, and that is both the highlights of the monologue and one of the most honest ways of talking about God, knowledge, and doubt that I can recall.
“Some people think that they know [there's no God]…Are you sure? Did you look everywhere? Did you look in the downstairs bathroom? I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave yet; that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
It’s super facile to reduce humankind’s understanding of God down to a statement made by a comedian two days ago on a comedy sketch show, but let me do it anyways: We are people who search. For God, for meaning, for the best kind of peanut butter to put on our toast every morning — whatever. We want to know. And so to undertake the search for God sometimes means to look everywhere. This search can, and does, lead people to wildly different conclusions, or to no conclusion at all, but the drive to search is very much a part of the contemporary human condition. This isn’t one of those journey-is-the-destination kind of searches for most people; the point is to come to an understanding of the nature of God and the nature of reality.
The rest of the monologue is really worth watching, especially for the parts where Louis wonders about whether women used to be in charge of the world. (Spoiler alert: Yes, until we pissed men off.) But the questions he raises in his monologue are, as usual, worth pondering on a deeper level than can be done in 9 minutes on a Saturday night.