Home | Celebrities | Louis C.K. on SmartPhones: It’s Ok To Be Sad
Louis C.K. explains on Conan O'Brien why he won't give his kids smartphones. Because he wants them to be sad. Really sad. So they can be really happy.

Louis C.K. on SmartPhones: It’s Ok To Be Sad

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Louis C.K.

This video of Louis C.K. hit the web four days ago, and it already has nearly 5 million pageviews on YouTube.

Yes, I know I’m four days behind everyone else, because I have a life to live. Kids to shuttle around, a mom and husband who need me, once in a while I even take a walk down the road or paddle around Lake Michigan in my kayak. I’m not hovering near my computer 24/7 waiting for entertainment news to break so I can post it. If you’re looking for that, go to Deadline.com or The Hollywood Reporter. Based on the notes below, I think Louis C.K. would be happy I just said that.

Anyway, below is Louis’ great bit on Conan O’Brien about why his kids aren’t getting smartphones. I’m guessing maybe they have regular old cellphones for safety’s sake.

In what will surely rival his legendary “everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy” diatribe delivered nearly five years ago on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” he explains why he abhors the culture of smartphones and why he would never get one for his kids.

I think these things are toxic, especially for kids … they don’t look at people when they talk to them and they don’t build empathy. You know, kids are mean, and it’s ’cause they’re trying it out. They look at a kid and they go, ‘you’re fat,’ and then they see the kid’s face scrunch up and they go, ‘oh, that doesn’t feel good to make a person do that.’ But they got to start with doing the mean thing. But when they write ‘you’re fat,’ then they just go, ‘mmm, that was fun, I like that.’

Then he moved onto the negative effect of smartphones on grownups.

You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person. Because underneath everything in your life there is that thing, that empty — forever empty. That knowledge that it’s all for nothing and that you’re alone. It’s down there.

And sometimes when things clear away, you’re not watching anything, you’re in your car, and you start going, ‘oh no, here it comes. That I’m alone.’ It’s starts to visit on you. Just this sadness. Life is tremendously sad, just by being in it…

That’s why we text and drive. I look around, pretty much 100 percent of the people driving are texting. And they’re killing, everybody’s murdering each other with their cars. But people are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.

He wrapped it up by telling a story about the time he was in his car listening to Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland,” which made him really sad.

And I go, ‘oh, I’m getting sad, gotta get the phone and write “hi” to like 50 people’ … then I said, ‘you know what, don’t. Just be sad. Just let the sadness, stand in the way of it, and let it hit you like a truck.’

And I let it come, and I just started to feel ‘oh my God,’and I pulled over and I just cried like a bitch. I cried so much. And it was beautiful. Sadness is poetic. You’re lucky to live sad moments.

And then I had happy feelings. Because when you let yourself feel sad, your body has antibodies, it has happiness that comes rushing in to meet the sadness. So I was grateful to feel sad, and then I met it with true, profound happiness. It was such a trip.

The thing is, because we don’t want that first bit of sad, we push it away with a little phone or food. You never feel completely sad or completely happy, you just feel kinda satisfied with your product, and then you die. So that’s why I don’t want to get a phone for my kids.

Louis C.K.’s kids are very, very lucky to have him for a dad – especially in the cut-throat entertainment world.

Jane Boursaw is the founder and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Her credits include hundreds of print and online publications, including The New York Times, People Magazine, Variety, Moviefone, TV Squad and more. Follow her on Twitter at @reellifejane.

Jane Boursaw has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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