Screenshot: YouTube

Part of the joy of watching Louis CK tell a joke is the way he tells the joke: effortlessly, as if you happened to be sitting across a diner table with him rather than in the middle of a massive arena. Such breeziness is, of course, the result of decades of hard work; each joke builds and then lands with the impact it does because of his careful attention to structure. This harmony between easygoing delivery and classic joke structure is the subject of a typically thoughtful video from Nerdwriter1.

Picking apart a single 90-second joke from Live At The Beacon Theater, the video digs into the way CK makes his premise stick and how he lets the audience laugh, staying in the emotion of the laugh line but not adding any new information (a technique for which he credits Jerry Seinfeld). Like any Nerdwriter1 video, there’s a lot of explanation of concepts that may be elementary to a given subset of viewers, but it also builds to an insightful conclusion: here, that CK’s simple premise contains in it the larger, darker resonance of seeing capitalism’s horrors through the eyes of a child.

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