This Stanford Encyclopedia essay on “The Philosophy of Humor” persuasively draws similarities between the philosopher and the standup comedian. Both the philosopher and the comedian engage in dialogue, reflect on familiar yet puzzling experiences, pay careful attention to language, relish new ways of looking at things, delight in surprising thoughts, and approach experiences with questions (the most basic starting point in both philosophy and standup comedy is “X—what’s up with that?”).
It is no surprise, therefore, that some of the most poignant cultural commentary of our times comes from a guy like Louis C.K.
Now, if you’re a working millennial—take a deep breath. Read this. Stop complaining about your job. And go get some real work done.
“I think you should do your job. I think a lot of people don’t do their job, because they don’t like their job. I don’t get that. You know, if you go to a coffee place, and the kid looks at you like, “Ugh.”
I’m like—I didn’t come to your house to ask you for coffee! This is a coffee place! Your clothes match the building, I had a right to expect—and, you know, you’re closer to the coffee machine!
I don’t know why someone wouldn’t want their job to go really well. And I think usually it’s because they’re twenty. Because they’re twenty-year-old douchebags. I’m prejudiced against twenty year olds. Because, nineteen you’re still your parents’ fault. Twenty, you’re technically an adult, but you still haven’t done anything.
Twenty year olds at their jobs are always like, “This job sucks.” Yes, that’s why we gave it to you! Because you’re twenty. You haven’t done anything. You’ve just been sucking up resources, you’ve just been taking food and love and education and iPods, and just taking it and judging—“I like that,” and “Oh, that sucks.” You’re like a big orange on a tree that’s rotting, and the tree is like, “Get off!” and you’re hanging on, “I don’t want to go.”
If you’re twenty, you definitely have never done a thing for anybody. Yes, you went to Guatemala on a school trip, and they told you you helped, but you totally did not help. You were a way bigger pain in the ass. You got your picture on Facebook with a shovel, and they got screwed. They hate you now.”
—Louis CK, on the Late Show With Jay Leno
Image Credit: Publishing Perspectives
Macarena Pallares is the editor of the Work channel at Humane Pursuits. She holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, where she studied the great philosophical, literary, mathematical, scientific, and musical texts seminal to Western thought. She works at American Philanthropic, a consulting firm whose mission is to strengthen civil society by improving the effectiveness of American charitable foundations and nonprofit organizations. Originally from Quito, Ecuador, she currently lives and works in the greater D.C. and Philadelphia metropolitan areas.