Louis C.K. at the 2012 Time 100
|Birth name||Louis Szekely, Jr.|
September 12, 1967 |
Robert Downey Sr.
|Spouse||Alix Bailey (1995–2008;
divorced; two children)
|Notable works and roles||Louie
The Chris Rock Show
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
|Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program
1999 The Chris Rock Show
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
2012 Louie: Pregnant
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special
2012 Live at the Beacon Theater
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
2013 Louis C.K.: Oh My God
|Best Comedy Album
Louis Szekely (born September 12, 1967), known professionally as Louis C.K. (/ /), is an American comedian, screenwriter, producer, film director, actor, voice actor, and film editor. He is the creator, star, writer, director, and—until February 2012—editor of the FX comedy series Louie. Over the course of his career, he has been nominated for 25 Primetime Emmy Awards.
C.K.'s parents met at Harvard University where his mother was completing her degree in a summer-school program. They were married at St. Francis Church in Traverse City, Michigan. C.K.'s mother, an American of Irish Catholic ancestry, was originally from a farm in Michigan. She attended University of Michigan and graduated from Ohio State University Phi Beta Kappa. She graduated from Owosso High School in Owosso, Michigan. C.K.'s father was born in Mexico and is a Mexican citizen. C.K.'s father has a degree from the University of Mexico and Harvard University's School of Economics. C.K. has said that his father's whole family still lives in Mexico.
C.K.'s maternal grandparents were M. Louise Davis and Alfred C. Davis. C.K.'s paternal grandfather, Dr. Geza Székely Schweiger, was a surgeon. Székely Schweiger was a Hungarian Jew whose family emigrated to Mexico, where he met C.K.'s paternal grandmother, Rosario Sánchez Morales. Sánchez Morales was a Catholic Mexican of Spanish and Indigenous Mexican ancestry whose European-born family had been in Mexico since the mid-1800s. C.K.'s uncle, Dr. Francisco Székely, is an academic and an international consultant on environmental affairs who served as Mexico's Deputy Minister of Environment (2000–2003).
Upon moving from Mexico to suburban Boston, C.K. decided he wanted to become a writer and comedian, citing Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and George Carlin as some of his influences. When he was 10 years old, his parents divorced. He and his three siblings were raised by their single mother in Newton, Massachusetts. The fact that his mother had only "bad" TV shows to view upon returning home from work inspired him to work on television. In April 2005, he told The Observer "I remember thinking in fifth grade, 'I have to get inside that box and make this shit better'. Because she deserves this. It made me mad that the shows were so bad."
His first attempt at stand-up was in 1984 at an open-mic night at a comedy club in Boston, Massachusetts, during the apex of the comedy boom. He was given five minutes of time, but had only two minutes of material. He was so discouraged by the experience that he did not perform again for two years. He and Marc Maron later reminisced about their early careers and friendship on Maron's WTF Podcast.
As Boston's comedy scene grew, C.K. gradually achieved success, performing alongside acts such as Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke, and eventually he moved up to paid gigs, opening for Jerry Seinfeld and hosting comedy clubs until he moved to Manhattan in 1989. He performed his act on many televised programs, including Evening at the Improv and Star Search. In 1996 HBO released his first half-hour comedy special.
C.K. has performed his stand-up frequently on shows such as Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Lopez Tonight, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. In August 2005, C.K. starred in a half-hour HBO special as part of the stand-up series One Night Stand.
Inspired by the work ethic of fellow comedian George Carlin, who had committed to dropping all of his existing material and starting over every year, C.K. launched his first hour-long special, Shameless, in 2007, which aired on HBO and was later released on DVD. In March 2008, he recorded a second hour-long special, Chewed Up, which premiered on Showtime Network on October 4, 2008, and went on to be nominated for an Emmy for "Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Variety Special".
On April 18, 2009, Louis recorded a concert film titled Hilarious. Unlike his previous specials—which had all been produced for television networks—Hilarious was produced independently, directed by C.K. himself, and sold to Epix and Comedy Central after it was complete. As a result, it was not released until late 2010. It was published on DVD and CD in 2011. It is the first stand-up comedy film to be accepted into Sundance.
In a 2010 interview, C.K. talked about how, after his divorce, he thought, "well, there goes my act." He alluded to the way that his marriage had been central to his act and his life, and he said that it took him approximately a year to realise "I'm accumulating stories here that are worth telling." One element in his preparation for stand-up was training in the boxing gym, including with Lowell, Massachusetts fighter Micky Ward, trying to "learn how to...do the grunt work and the boring, constant training so that you'll be fit enough to take the beating."
On December 10, 2011, Louis C.K. released his fourth full-length special, Live at the Beacon Theater. Like Hilarious, it was produced independently and directed by C.K. However, unlike his earlier work, it was distributed digitally on the comedian's website, forgoing both physical and broadcast media. C.K. released the special for $5.00 and without DRM, hoping that these factors and the direct relationship between the artist and consumer would effectively deter piracy. At the end of the special, the release of a new album, recorded at Carnegie Hall the previous year, is mentioned. As of December 21, 2011, the sales of the special from C.K.'s website has earned him over $1 million. The success of the special prompted other comedians, including Jim Gaffigan, Joe Rogan, and Aziz Ansari, to release their own specials with a similar business model. On May 11, 2012, C.K. additionally made two audio-only downloads available for $5.00 each: WORD – Live at Carnegie Hall (and the audio version of his first HBO stand-up special, Shameless), as well as an audio-only version of Live at the Beacon Theater.
C.K.'s fifth one-hour special, Oh My God, was recorded at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, and premiered on HBO April 13, 2013. It is also sold and distributed using the same model as C.K. used for Live at the Beacon Theater.
C.K.'s credits as a writer include the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Dana Carvey Show, and The Chris Rock Show. His work for The Chris Rock Show was nominated for an Emmy Award three times, winning "Best Writing in a Variety or Comedy Series" in 1999. He was also nominated for an Emmy Award for his work writing for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. C.K. wrote and directed the feature film Pootie Tang, which was adapted from a sketch that was featured on The Chris Rock Show. The film received largely negative reviews from critics, but has become a cult classic. Though C.K. is credited as the director, he was fired at the end of filming, whereupon the movie was re-edited by the studio, and he calls the film a "very huge mistake" that "never should have been made." He also wrote and directed the independent black-and-white film Tomorrow Night (1998), which premiered at Sundance, and several shorter films, including six short films for the sketch comedy show Sunny Skies (1995) on the Showtime cable network. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for writing on his 2008 special, Chewed Up. He won two Emmys in 2011 for the Louie episode "Pregnant" and for his special Live at the Beacon Theater.
Acting, writing, and directing
In June 2006, C.K. starred in Lucky Louie, a sitcom he created. The series premiered on HBO and was videotaped in front of a studio audience; it was HBO's first series in that format. Lucky Louie is described as a bluntly realistic portrayal of family life. HBO canceled the series after its first season.
Other roles C.K. has played include a security guard in Role Models and a potential love interest for Amy Poehler's character in a multi-episode story arc on NBC's Parks and Recreation. C.K. has also appeared in the films Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Diminished Capacity, and The Invention of Lying. In 2013, CK had supporting roles in the critically acclaimed films Blue Jasmine and American Hustle.
In August 2009, FX picked up his new series, Louie, which C.K. stars in, writes, directs, and sometimes edits. The show features his stand-up routines blended with segments which are based to some extent on his offstage experiences. The show premiered on June 29, 2010. Each season of Louie contains 13 episodes. The show addresses life as a divorced, aging father: "It's hard to start again after a marriage," he states in one of his early routines on the show. "It's hard to really, like, look at somebody and go, hey, maybe something nice will happen.... Or you'll meet the perfect person, who you love infinitely, and you even argue well, and you grow together, and you have children, and then you get old together, and then she's going to die. That's the best-case scenario." In season three, episodes dealt with a date with an unstable bookshop clerk (played by Parker Posey), a doomed attempt to replace a retiring David Letterman, an aborted visit to his C.K.'s father, and a dream-reality New Year's Eve episode in which C.K. ends up in China. All of these made critic Matt Zoller Seitz's list of his favourite 25 comedy episodes of 2012. According to Seitz, the episode "New Year's Eve" was "truly audacious", leaving the viewer "unmoored, uncertain what to trust, or how to see" and "captur[ing] the sensation of dreaming better than any half-hour comedy episode [Seitz has] ever watched". C.K. has been nominated three times for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (2011, 2012, and 2013) for his work in Louie. The show has been renewed for a fourth season.
C.K. is a frequent guest on The Opie & Anthony Show, which also features his Lucky Louie co-star Jim Norton. C.K. was also a part of Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour with other comedians in 2007. He makes frequent appearances on Raw Dog on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and in 2007 hosted a three-hour phone-in show on the service at the request of Opie & Anthony, during which he advised callers on their relationship troubles. As of May 2011, Louis has hosted over 107 hours of radio with Opie & Anthony. In the Louie episode "Barney / Never", Opie, Anthony, and Norton (along with comedian Amy Schumer) play the on-air talent of a stereotypical wacky morning radio program into which C.K.'s character is calling to promote a nearby gig.
During an interview with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on The Opie & Anthony Show, C.K. repeatedly asked Rumsfeld whether he is in fact a reptilian space alien who "eats the poor". Rumsfeld declined to comment. The video has since gone viral.
C.K. is an occasional guest on The Bob & Tom Show, which is a popular showcase for comedians. He also frequently works with Robert Smigel on TV Funhouse shorts exclusively for Saturday Night Live, with topics ranging from politics to surrealism. C.K. hosted Saturday Night Live on November 3, 2012, for which he was nominated Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.
C.K. was an early adopter/innovator in distributing both his work and others' via his website in a direct-to-consumer, DRM-free format. He has also sold reasonably priced tickets for tours of his stand-up show via his website, circumventing the big ticket companies, creatively playing venues that aren't part of their system.
C.K. was raised Catholic, occasionally pokes fun at religion in his comedy, and says he has "zero idea how everything got here". Although he is very popular amongst members of the atheist community, C.K. stated that he is not an atheist, and that "I believe God is there and he is watching and he made us. I just don't give a shit." Of God he has also said that "if I were to make a list of possibilities, God would be pretty far down. But if I were to make a list of people that know what the fuck they are talking about, I would be REALLY far down."
C.K. rarely talks about his political views, but he has defended same-sex marriage in his stand-up, and has spoken negatively about the effects of capitalism. As for political partisanship, C.K. does not think highly of staunchly left-wing or staunchly right-wing leaders, and says, "Some things I think are very conservative, or very liberal. I think when someone falls into one category for everything, I'm very suspicious. It doesn't make sense to me that you'd have the same solution to every issue."
Origin of name
- The Short Films of Louis C.K. (2000) [DVD (out of print)]
- Live in Houston (2001) [CD (out of print)]
- One Night Stand (2005) [DVD]
- Shameless (2007) [DVD/video download]
- Chewed Up (2008) [CD/DVD]
- Hilarious (2010/2011) [Epix/CD/DVD]
- Live at the Beacon Theater (2011) [video download]
- WORD: Live at Carnegie Hall (2012) [MP3 download]
- Louis C.K.: Oh My God – Phoenix, AZ (2013) [video download]
|1998||Tomorrow Night||Screenwriter / Director
Nominated – Florida Film Festival Award for Best Narrative
Nominated – Hamptons International Film Festival Award for Best American Independent Film
|2001||Down to Earth||Screenwriter|
|Pootie Tang||Screenwriter / Director|
|2007||I Think I Love My Wife||Screenwriter|
- Parker, James (May 2012). "The Filthy Moralist – How the Comedian Louis C.K. Became America's Unlikely Conscience". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 19, 2012. "All of which suggests that Louis – born Louis Szekely on September 12, 1967 – has struck a nerve."
- "PikMail". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- Vogel, Laura (May 27, 2007). "Louis C.K.". New York Post. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
- Knutzen, Eirik. "Louis C.K.". Copley News Service. Archived from the original on 2006. Retrieved November 10, 2010.
- Rivas, Jorge (April 2013). "Louis CK Talks in Depth About Being a Mexican Immigrant"
- "Louis C.K.". emmys.com. 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- Itzkoff, Dave (April 4, 2013). "The Joke's on Louis C.K.". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Hepburn, Ned. "Louis CK fires own self from show". Death and Taxes Magazine. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- Kelly, Brendan (March 8, 2011). "Just for Laughs to fete Louis C.K". Variety.
- "Louis C.K. – Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1276). September 13, 2013. p. 28.
- "June Wedding Was Held in Traverse City". Owosso Argus-Press. June 27, 1961. p. 4. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
- Louis CK Q&A. jonahweiner.com. Retrieved June 22, 2012.
- Opie & Anthony: Louis C.K. Explains...His Origin. YouTube. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "Biography: Dr. Francisco Székely" (PDF). Ecologic Institute. 2004. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Comedian-actor Louis C.K. Interview at PBS.org. September 25, 2009. Excerpt @ 07m40s: "I lived in Mexico. My dad's Mexican. I have a Mexican passport. I have citizenship there." Retrieved August 8, 2012.
- Hagan, Joe (2005). "Can HBO Save the Sitcom? Louis CK Says Yes". The New York Observer. Retrieved August 5, 2012.
- "Louis CK's Bio". louisck.net. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
- Bromley, Patrick. "Louis CK – Biography". About.com. Retrieved October 12, 2010.
- Nussbaum, Emily, "One-Man Show: No, really. Profane comic Louis C.K.’s unique experiment in television making", New York, May 15, 2011, web page 2. Retrieved December 31, 2012. The exchange and history were subsequently addressed in both Maron's 2013 memoir and an episode of Louie, per an April 29, 2013 Fresh Air interview with Maron. Audio of original podcast, from PRX (undated). Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- LouisCK.net. LouisCK.net November 4, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Louis C.K. “I’m Doing Exactly What He Taught Me To Do” | Metro Comedy Entertainment. Metrocomedy.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Pabst Theater Show Gallery[dead link]
- IMDb Hilarious Page, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1421373/
- Rabin, Nathan (June 29, 2010). "Louis C.K. | TV | Interview". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "Finding Laughs Post-Divorce", transcript, Louis C.K. interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- LouisCK.net | News. Buy.louisck.net. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "Inside the Reddit AMA: The Interview Revolution That Has Everyone Talking". Forbes. Retrieved May 5, 2012.
- Marche, Stephen. "Louis C.K. Is Our New American Preacher". Esquire. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
- Louis C.K. Emmy Nominated. Emmys.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- Tobias, Scott. "A.V. Club; The New Cult Canon: Pootie Tang". Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- Raab, Scott (May 23, 2011). "Louis C.K. Interview". Esquire. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
- "Louis C.K. Talks 'Pootie Tang' – 'a Very Huge Mistake'". The Wrap. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- Tomorrow Night (1998) – Release dates
- "Louis C.K. Wins Best Comedy Writing at Emmys 2012 For 'Louie'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved April 11, 2013.
- "Louis C.K. Gets Another Shot at Television". /Film. August 7, 2009. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "Video - Film Clip: 'Blue Jasmine' Starring Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, and Louis C.K. - WSJ.com". Live.wsj.com. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "Watch a Q&A with the Cast of 'American Hustle'". Backstage. January 3, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- CK's tweet
- Littleton, Cynthia (August 19, 2009). "More laffs in FX lineup". Variety.
- Hibberd, James (July 28, 2012). "FX renews 'Louie'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
- Seitz, Matt Zoller, "Parker Posey Has Revealed the Even Greater Show Hiding Within Louie", New York, 7/27/12. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- Seitz, Matt Zoller, "On Louie, ‘New Year’s Eve,’ and Respecting the Mystery", New York, 12/31/12. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- Seitz, Matt Zoller, "Favorite Comedy Episodes of 2012", New York, 12/11/12. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
- "63rd Annual Pimetime Emmy Awards".
- Louis CK hosts a radio show (1/11). YouTube August 15, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- McGlynn, Katla (February 25, 2011). "Louis C.K. Asks Donald Rumsfeld: Are You A 'Lizard From Outer Space'?". huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
- McGlynn, Katia. "Louis C.K. Asks Donald Rumsfeld: Are You A 'Lizard From Outer Space'? (AUDIO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2013.
- "Louis C.K. To Host SNL With Musical Guest Fun November 3". Huffington Post. October 21, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
- "Louis C.K.: 5 Things You Don't Know". UsWeekly Magazine. September 21, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
- Singer, Matthew (November 17, 2008). "Louis CK talks America off the ledge—then kicks it in the balls". Willamette Week. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
- "Louis C.K. Reddit AMA". Advance Publications.
- "Opie and Anthony – Louis CK talks about why capitalism sucks". YouTube. December 10, 2012. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Alyssa Rosenberg (2012-01-16). "Louis CK on His Political Philosophy and the Value of Curiosity". ThinkProgress. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- "Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine". Sony Pictures. January 8, 2013. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
|Find more about Louis C.K. at Wikipedia's sister projects|
|Media from Commons|
|Quotations from Wikiquote|
- Official website
- Louis C.K. at the Internet Movie Database
- Louis C.K.'s channel on YouTube
- Louis C.K. on Twitter