Louie is on the road, and he’s not happy about it.
There’s a series of commercials on the air right now, where the Courtyard Marriott insists that some people get to travel for work, and some people have to travel for work, as if staying in cramped hotel rooms far away from the most comfortable places you fart is some kind of dream come true if only you pick the right hotel. Louie might agree — he starts this episode on the ground floor of a sleazy motel with a way too big window, fielding harassment from friends of old residents and complaining to his child manager Doug. He was explicit about not having to stay in places like this, yet here he is, in a room with a “person-sized cum stain on the floor.” When you travel for work, everything needs to run like clockwork for you to even feel halfway normal, which is why it’s so funny when it all goes sideways for Louie.
I don’t think he needed to make the overly zealous driver, Mike, cry in order to express his point, but I also don’t think he meant to do that. After Louie dismissed him a couple of times, Mike thought he could work his way in by talking about all the other comedians he drove around, all of them so much nicer and cooler than Louie. What Mike doesn’t know is that Louie doesn’t give a shit about being nice or cool — he cares about being left alone in a luxurious hotel to jack off all over 300-count sheets. This trip to Cincinnati isn’t about making friends; it’s about making money.
(I’ve always wondered: What’s to stop someone from walking up to a driver at the airport and pretending to be the person they’re picking up? Do they check IDs, or just take you at your word? I’d like to think I’d be bold enough to try it the next time I fly, but I’m black — minor offenses would have me locked in a jail under a prison for the rest of my black-ass life. One of you white people should try it and report back.)
Who knew that Louie’s random packing at the beginning of the episode would be the Chekhov’s gun that propelled the end of the episode? After a brief but humiliating stop at Jizzy Buns (a riff on Cinnabon directly from his stand-up act) that has him contemplating the clerk’s made-up offer to stick his head under the syrup container, Louie briefly becomes the ward of a small, lost child. When her massive family leaves her behind on the AirTrain, he freaks out and tries to help her find them. She is visibly scared of him as he herds her off the shuttle, and when he stops to use the emergency call box she simply runs away. The amazing thing is that Louie, father to two small girls himself, doesn’t run after her; when he realizes she’s gone, he just lets her go. It was a singularly hilarious moment, made all the more horrific by the fact that if you’ve been paying attention, you know he left his carry-on luggage on the AirTrain.
Even though the bag is filled with the same eight pairs of graying underwear and black T-shirts, Louie panics and runs to find help. He’s already at the gate when he remembers his bag (where customers are prioritized by those that are “dying or afraid”), and the attendant he finds to help him operates under the “an emergency on your part doesn’t make it an emergency on mine” ethos. Since his luggage was unattended and not lost, they have a lovely drive on the tarmac, past the bullets being pulled out of the bellies of planes, and to the bomb squad. They lift a black bag out of a canister, but he doesn’t recognize the nondescript bag as his own from 100 yards way, so they put it back and destroy it, right before the attendant drives him directly to his flight.
The best part of the episode was how happy Louie looked as he got his own personal chauffeur to the plane. Unlike his experience with Mike, this was a story, a dumb road story that happened only to him, so the interruption of his private time was welcome in trade for the resulting comedy of the absurd. The smile on his face seemed genuine, and even though he knows he’s headed for a condo full of comedians at the other end of the flight, he had a moment that made it worthwhile. In the end, he gets a new nondescript black carry-on bag, goes to a sports store to stock up on black T-shirts, and starts the whole process of being on the road all over again.