Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Louis C.K. on cell phones

Video & transcript (after the jump) courtesy of


CONAN: It's a big issues with kids, because I have kids the similar age as you.
They want the phone with the apps.
It's a problem.
Louis C.K.: I just don't let them have it yet.
It's easy.
Just say no.
You can't have it.
You know, it's bad for you.
I don't care what you want.
CONAN: I love "I don't care what you want."
Louis C.K.: I'm not there to make them happy.
CONAN: Really?
That's great.
That's a terrific philosophy.
Louis C.K.: That is.
I'm not raising -- the children I'm raising the grown-ups that they're going to be.
I have to raise them with the tools to get through a terrible life.
CONAN: I hope you told them this right before you turn off the light and shut the door.
Your life will be horrible.
Louis C.K.: All the other kids have the terrible things.
So my kid has to -- yeah, let's -- let your kid go and be a better example to these [BEEP] kids.
Just because the other stupid kids have phones doesn't mean that -- oh, my kid has to be stupid otherwise she'll feel weird.
CONAN: Right.
Louis C.K.: You know, I think these things are toxic, especially for kids.
It's this thing.
It's bad.
They don't look at people when they talk to them. They don't build the empathy.
Kids are mean and it's because they're trying it out.
They look at a kid and they go, you're fat.
Then they see the kid's face scrunch up and say ooh, that doesn't feel good.
But when they write they're fat, they go, hmm, that was fun.
CONAN: That tasted good.
Louis C.K.: The thing is you need 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 like this.
That's being a person, right?
You have to check.
You know, underneath everything in your life there's that thing, that empty -- forever empty, you know what I'm talking about?
Yes, I know what you're talking about.
Louis C.K.: The knowledge that it's all for nothing and you're alone.
You know, it's down there.
Sometimes when things clear away, you're in your car and you go, oh, no, here it comes that I'm alone.
Like it starts to visit on you, just this sadness.
Life is tremendously sad just by being in it.
And so you're driving and then you go, oh, that's why we text and drive.
I look around pretty much 100% of people driving are texting.
And they're killing -- everybody's murdering each other with their cars.
But people risk ruining their own and taking a life because they don't want to be alone for a second.
I was in my car one time and Bruce Springsteen came on one time.
And I was listening to "jungle land."
And he go -- and he sounds far away.
CONAN: That's half of them.
Louis C.K.: That's a lot of them.
CONAN: No, he goes --
Louis C.K.: And it's really far away sounding.
Can you do it with a reverb?
You're not doing it.
Louis C.K.: Except with Springsteen, if it were you doing that I would have said what the hell is that on my radio?
CONAN: I did it just the same as Bruce.
Louis C.K.: It made me really sad.
And I go, OK, I'm getting sad.
I've got to get the phone and write hi to 50 people.
Somebody not as cool writes back.
And you go, [BEEP].
I want somebody better.
Hey, how come you didn't answer my text?
So anyway, I started to get that sad feeling.
I was reaching for the phone.
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.
I let it come and Bruce -- and I 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.
It was like this beautiful -- it was just this -- 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 like anti-bodies.
You have happiness rushing in to meet the sadness.
I was grateful to feel sad and then I met it with true profound happiness.
It was such a trip, you know?
The thing is because we don't want that first bit of sad, we push it away with like a little phone \[BEEP] for the food.
And you get a little kind of --
You never feel completely sad or completely happy.
You just feel kind of satisfied with your product.
And then you die.
So that's why I don't want to get a phone for my kids.


  1. I enjoyed the truth behind what Louis was talking about and how people these days seem to push away their feelings. Also, I couldn't agree more with what Louis had to say about kids having phones, even though I feel that there is a ripe age when kids should be allowed to have phones. I feel with this new generation of kids being born in a technological advance society that sincere human interaction is becoming scarce.

  2. HAHAHA! Aww man I love watching Conan so much! Even though this was quite enjoyable I couldn't agree more with the message behind this and adding to what Miranda was saying, even though I agree that there is a certain age when young people should be getting phones, I think it's very hard for this generation of kids to not be introduced to technology just because it is literally everywhere. Even though we our advancing our ways in technology and using it to help us in so many ways there are some people where they aren't using it to get help but because they are starting to rely on it and if they don't have technology they start to worry and not think.

  3. I loved this post. It made me laugh while at the same time bringing forth a message I completely agree with. And not only to I agree with it, I was listening to Louis talk about how when people are just sitting around they pull out their phones and the first thought in my head was that voice everyone pushes back saying, "Hey! You do that!!" and it made me wish I didn't as much. And I agree with Ricky and Miranda that technology has it pros and cons. The biggest problem I have with the most common "Pro" is that "but technology is helpful". Yes. Technology has brought us places we never thought we'd go. But we didn't have iphones when we were 4. Just because something can be good does not mean it is ALWAYS good. I didn't have my first phone till I was 10 and I got my moms hand-me-down flip phone and I was allowed to call my parents. And our neighbor's house in an emergency. That's it. And I had it because it was the first time I'd be home alone after school, not to text all my friends and play the latest games.

  4. I agree with Louis that kids are way to immersed in their phones in today's world. I still have my first phone that only calls and sends messages. It has no Facebook, no internet, and no games. My friends even get irritated with me because I never answer it because I never have it with me. To be honest, it kind of bothers me that so many kids have i Phones because it is now assumed that all students have them. In my science class last week for example, we had a lab and my teacher told everyone in class to pull their smart phones out because they were necessary for completing the data required to get the lab started. I was the only student in the whole class without a smart phone. So the teacher asks me if I want to use hers. Of course not! I don't want to be the student that has to use the teacher's iPhone! So of course now I feel pressured to get one so that I won't have to go through that again and so I won't be at a disadvantage for not having one. I won't argue the fact that smart phones are amazing resources, but most kids and teens aren't mature enough to use them for the right reasons. Rather than using them as tools, they are used as toys, and as Louis said, kids have become to immersed in their phones to have real social interactions with each other.

  5. I do understand how there's a problem with people feeling comfortable pointlessly bullying online, but then being too timid to do so in person. Not that bullying is ever okay, but it really shows how pathetic some people are just because they have anonymity. However, I'm honestly all about embracing technology; and technology, or specifically cell phones, isn't damaging me. I'm mentally capable enough to know how to differentiate between confronting people in person versus online or in a text message. I kind of feel insulted when generalized into this category of youth being susceptible to a lack of social skills, just because I use my cell phone a lot. I'm not that weak.

  6. It's true that smart phones have caused some people to become distant from real, personal interaction but I think this issue is presented too generally. Not everyone falls into the category of crazy obsessed cell phone users. I use my phone a lot but I don't think that has hindered my ability to interact with people. I am able to disconnect myself when I want to and I feel like Louis is ignoring that fact.
    Yeah, young children having smart phones is unnecessary but that's more of a parenting problem than a technology problem. His point about kids wanting "stupid phones" just because their friends have "stupid phones" is again, a generalization. When I got my first phone, I didn't want one because all my friends had one, I wanted one because my mom always forgot to pick me up from dance class and I wanted to be able to get a hold of her. I think that many people are mature enough to handle this kind of technology and the population is not as bad at control as Louis thinks we are.

    1. I really like your perspective about addressing not what the problem is but where it starts. I agree with what you have to say about the whole generalization of this problem. I got my first phone for the sole purposes of contacting my parents and making sure they know where i'm at!