* THE COMEDIANS.

10 tonight, FX.

* LOUIE. 10:30 tonight, FX.

I HOPE Tom Hanks never decides to play himself on TV.

Maybe he secretly kicks puppies, or undertips, or, like many people, actors or otherwise, is simply a little insecure.

I don't want to know about it.

I feel the same way about Billy Crystal, who returns to TV tonight in FX's "The Comedians," in which he plays a version of himself who's coerced into partnering with actor Josh Gad ("Frozen," "1600 Penn") in a sketch-comedy show.

Based on a Swedish series - because having scared us silly with their murder mysteries, the Swedes are now exporting comedy? - it's a mockumentary that incorporates sketches filmed before a live audience but is really about the relationship between comedians of different generations and sensibilities.

I tend to think a little Gad goes a long way, and "The Comedians" has way more Gad than that. For the universe to remain in balance, Crystal, who's one of four writers credited for the pilot, needed to be a bit obnoxious, too.

Turns out, though, that watching him act out with a director or slap down Gad isn't nearly as funny as seeing the two periodically find a comedy rhythm together (though a scene tonight in which Crystal the purist lectures Gad on the difference between a cannibal and a pedophile was hilariously instructive).

The show gets funnier - and so does the show within the show - but four episodes in, the whole setup still felt more like work than it probably should.

Awkwardness reigns, too, in the Season 5 premiere of FX's "Louie," a show that's made an art form - but not always a comic one - out of awkwardness.

Star Louis C.K. is also playing a fictionalized version of himself, but his Louie is as real as any human alive, and he's always a work in progress.

Tonight's "Pot Luck" - probably the closest we've seen in a while to a newbie-friendly episode - serves up misunderstanding, humiliation and fried chicken.

And somehow it's all delicious.

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