Louis C.K.

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Louis C.K.
Louis CK 2012 Shankbone.JPG
C.K. in 2012
Birth name Louis A. Székely
Born (1967-09-12) September 12, 1967 (age 50)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Years active 1985–present
Spouse Alix Bailey (m. 1995; div. 2008)
Children 2
Website louisck.net

Louis C.K. (/ˈli ˌsˈk/; born Louis A. Székely;[a] September 12, 1967) is an American comedian, writer, actor, and filmmaker.[1][2] He is known for his use of observational, self-deprecating, dark, and shock humor. In 2012, C.K. won a Peabody Award[3] and has received six Primetime Emmy Awards,[4] as well as numerous awards for The Chris Rock Show, Louie, and his stand-up specials Live at the Beacon Theater (2011) and Oh My God (2013).[5] He has won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album twice. Rolling Stone ranked C.K.'s stand-up special Shameless number three on their "Divine Comedy: 25 Best Stand-Up Specials and Movies of All Time" list[6] and ranked him fourth on its 2017 list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time.[7]

C.K. began his career in the 1990s and early 2000s writing for comedians including David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Dana Carvey, Chris Rock, and also for other comedy shows. Also in this period, he was directing surreal short films and went on to direct two features—Tomorrow Night (1998) and Pootie Tang (2001)—before he starred in the short-lived HBO television sitcom Lucky Louie in 2006. He had supporting acting roles in the films The Invention of Lying (2009), American Hustle, Blue Jasmine (both 2013), and Trumbo (2015). C.K. created, directed, executive produced, starred in, wrote, and was the primary editor of, Louie, an acclaimed semi-autobiographical comedy-drama series aired from 2010 to 2015 on FX. In 2016, C.K. created and starred in his self-funded web series Horace and Pete. He also co-created the shows Baskets and Better Things for FX and voiced Max the dog in the animated film The Secret Life of Pets in the same year. His 2017 film, I Love You, Daddy, was pulled from distribution prior to its scheduled release date after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.

C.K. released his debut comedy album, Live in Houston, in 2001 directly through his website and became among the first performers to offer direct-to-fan sales of tickets to his stand-up shows, as well as DRM-free video concert downloads, via his website.[8] He has released nine comedy albums, often directing and editing his specials as well.


Early life[edit]

C.K. was born Louis A. Székely in Washington, D.C.[9] on September 12, 1967,[10][11] the son of software engineer Mary Louise (née Davis) and economist Luis Székely.[12] His parents met at Harvard University, where his mother was completing her degree in a summer school program.[13] They were married at St. Francis Church in Traverse City, Michigan.[14] C.K. has three sisters.[15] His paternal grandfather, Dr. Géza Székely Schweiger, was a Hungarian Jewish surgeon whose family moved to Mexico, where he met C.K.'s Mexican paternal grandmother, Rosario Sánchez Morales.[16][17] C.K.'s mother, an American with Irish ancestry, grew up on a farm in Michigan.[18][19] She graduated from Owosso High School in Owosso, Michigan. She attended University of Michigan and graduated from Ohio State University Phi Beta Kappa. C.K.'s maternal grandparents were M. Louise Davis and Alfred C. Davis.[14]

When C.K. was a year old, his family moved to his father's home country of Mexico, where his father had earned a degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico prior to graduating from Harvard.[14] C.K.'s first language was Spanish; it was not until after they moved back to the U.S. when he was seven that he began to learn English. He has said that he has since forgotten much of his Spanish.[20] When C.K. left Mexico with his family, they moved back to the United States and settled in Boston.[21]

Upon moving from Mexico to suburban Boston, C.K. wanted to become a writer and comedian, citing Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and George Carlin as some of his influences.[13] When he was 10, his parents divorced. C.K. said that his father was around but he did not see him much and when he remarried, C.K.'s father converted to Orthodox Judaism, the faith of his new wife.[22][23] C.K. and his three sisters were raised by their single mother in Newton, Massachusetts.[24] The fact that his mother had only "bad" TV shows to view upon returning home from work inspired him to work on television.[24] C.K.'s mother raised her children as Catholic and they attended after-school Catholic class until they completed communion.[23] C.K. has said that his father's whole family still lives in Mexico. C.K.'s paternal 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).[25]

C.K. attended Newton North High School, and graduated in 1985. He graduated with future Friends star Matt LeBlanc.[26] After graduation, C.K. worked as an auto mechanic and at a public access TV cable station in Boston.[12] According to C.K., working in public access TV gave him the tools and technical knowledge to make his short films and later his television shows. "Learning is my favorite thing", he said.[8] He also worked for a time as a cook and in a video store.[15]

1984–1997: Career beginnings[edit]

In 1984, C.K. at 17 directed the comedic short film Trash Day. The New York University Tisch School of the Arts showed an interest in him as a filmmaker, but he instead decided to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.[27] C.K.'s first attempt at stand-up was in 1985 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.[28] He was so discouraged by the experience that he did not perform again for two years.[29] He and Marc Maron later reminisced about their early careers and friendship on Maron's WTF Podcast.[30] 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[12] until he moved to Manhattan in 1989.[28] He performed his act on many televised programs, including Evening at the Improv and Star Search. C.K.'s short film Ice Cream (1993), was submitted to the Aspen Shortsfest in 1994.[31]

In 1993, he unsuccessfully auditioned for Saturday Night Live,[2] although he did, however, later work with Robert Smigel on the TV Funhouse shorts for the program.[32] C.K.'s earliest writing job was for Conan O'Brien on the late-night talk show Late Night with Conan O'Brien from 1993 to 1994,[33] before briefly writing for Late Show with David Letterman in 1995.[34] C.K. and artist Alix Bailey married in 1995. Together, they had two daughters.[35] Throughout the spring of 1996, C.K. served as the head writer for The Dana Carvey Show; its writers also included Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Robert Smigel, and Charlie Kaufman. It was cancelled after seven episodes.[36] In 1996, HBO released his first half-hour comedy special.[28] From 1997 to 1999, he wrote for The Chris Rock Show.[37] His work for on the show was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for writing three times, winning "Best Writing in a Variety or Comedy Series" in 1999. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his work writing for Late Night with Conan O'Brien.[38] He has been quoted as describing his approach to writing as a "deconstruction" that is both painful and frightening.[15]

1998–2004: Focus on filmmaking[edit]

In 1998, C.K. wrote and directed the independent black-and-white film Tomorrow Night, which premiered at Sundance, marking his feature film directorial debut after making several shorter films,[39] including six short films for the sketch comedy show Howie Mandel's Sunny Skies (1995) on the Showtime cable network.[40] C.K. self-released Tomorrow Night in 2014.[41] He hosted the PBS show ShortCuts in 1999, which featured independent short films, including some made by C.K. himself.[42] Also that year, C.K. devised and starred in The Filthy Stupid Talent Show, a mock talent show television special.[43] He had an early acting role in the independent comedy Tuna, alongside Nick Offerman, in 2000 and performed on the stand-up showcase series Comedy Central Presents the following year.[44][45]

C.K. wrote and directed the feature film Pootie Tang (2001), which was adapted from a sketch that was featured on The Chris Rock Show and featured Chris Rock in a supporting role. The film received largely negative reviews from critics, but has become a cult classic;[46][47] in a half-star review, Roger Ebert declared it a "train wreck" and felt the film was "not in a releasable condition".[48] Though C.K. is credited as the director, he was fired at the end of filming with the film being re-edited by the studio.[49] C.K. has since co-written two screenplays with Rock: Down to Earth (2001) and I Think I Love My Wife (2007).[37][50] His first comedy album, Live in Houston, was released in 2001.[51] In 2002, he voiced Brendon Small's estranged father, Andrew Small, in the animated sitcom Home Movies.[52] C.K. was among the writing staff of the sketch comedy show Cedric the Entertainer Presents (2002–03).[37]

2005–2009: Breakthrough as a stand-up, Lucky Louie, and divorce[edit]

Louis C.K. performing in Kuwait, December 2008

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,[53] In June 2006, C.K. starred in and wrote 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.[54] He appeared in three films in 2008: Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Diminished Capacity, and Role Models.[55][56] C.K. launched his first hour-long special, Shameless, in 2007, which aired on HBO and was later released on DVD.[57] In March 2008, he recorded a second hour-long special, Chewed Up, which premiered on Showtime Network on October 4, 2008, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy or Variety Special.[58][4]

C.K. and his wife Alix Bailey divorced in 2008,[59][60] with C.K. and Bailey sharing joint custody of their children.[61] 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 realize "I'm accumulating stories here that are worth telling."[61] One element in his preparation for stand-up was training at the same boxing gym as 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."[61]

On April 18, 2009, C.K. 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.[62] It is the first stand-up comedy film accepted into the Sundance Film Festival.[63] From 2009 to 2012, C.K. played Dave Sanderson, a police officer and ex-boyfriend of Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) in the sitcom Parks and Recreation.[64] He also co-starred in the romantic comedy fantasy film The Invention of Lying, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais, in 2009.[65]

Louis C.K. speaking in Montreal, July 29, 2011

2011–2015: Continued success, Louie, and FX deal[edit]

FX picked up C.K.'s series Louie in August 2009, which C.K. stars in, writes, directs, and edits.[66][67] The show features stand-up routines blended with segments partially based on his offstage experiences which address his life as a divorced, aging father.[61][68] The show premiered on June 29, 2010.[69] In season three, episodes dealt respectively with a date with an unstable bookshop clerk (played by Parker Posey);[70] a doomed attempt to replace a retiring David Letterman; an aborted visit to C.K.'s father; and a dream-reality New Year's Eve episode in which C.K. ends up in China.[71] These episodes were ranked in critic Matt Zoller Seitz's favorite 25 comedy episodes of 2012.[72] Seitz called the episode "New Year's Eve" "truly audacious".[71][72] C.K. has been nominated five times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (2011–2015) for his work in Louie and won two Emmys in 2011 for the Louie episode "Pregnant"[73] and for his special Live at the Beacon Theater.[74]

The show was renewed for a fourth season;[75] with a 19-month hiatus after season 3[23] to accommodate C.K.'s roles in David O. Russell's American Hustle and Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine in 2013.[76][77] During the 2014 Television Critics Association presentations, FX Networks' John Landgraf reported that Louie would return in spring 2015 for a shortened fifth season of seven episodes—compared to the 13 episodes of prior seasons.[78] The fifth season premiered in April 2015 and an announcement said the series would take an "extended hiatus" in August 2015;[79] C.K. stated in January 2016 that he "just doesn't know" whether it will return or not.[80] However, FX ended their business partnership with Louis C.K in November 2017 after he confirmed that a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him were true, meaning the show would have to be picked up by another network.[81]

On December 10, 2011, 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, foregoing 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.[82] At the end of the special, the release of a new album, recorded at Carnegie Hall the previous year, is mentioned. By December 21, 2011, the sales of the special from C.K.'s website had already earned him over $1 million.[83]

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.[84] 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.[83] 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.[85] It was also sold and distributed using the same model as C.K. used for Live at the Beacon Theater.

C.K. at the 72nd Annual Peabody Awards in 2013

In Woody Allen's film Blue Jasmine (2013), C.K. played the romantic interest of Sally Hawkins' character.[86] Also that year, David O. Russell's black comedy crime film American Hustle, released in December 2013, featured C.K. as FBI supervisor Stoddard Thorsen, the boss of Bradley Cooper's character.[87] C.K.'s production company, Pig Newton, where he works with producer Blair Breard, signed a contract to develop and executive produce pilots for FX Networks in 2013.[88] In January 2014, an announcement said C.K. would produce and co-write a Zach Galifianakis-created comedy pilot for FX Networks.[89] The 10-episode single-camera comedy, titled Baskets, premiered on January 21, 2016.[90] It features Galifianakis as the main character, a struggling clown named Chip Baskets in a pilot episode written by Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel.[91] C.K. released his sixth one hour special Live at The Comedy Store to his website in January 2015, which, unlike his past few specials, was recorded at a club, The Comedy Store in West Hollywood. C.K. said he intended the material as an exercise in creating an act that hearkened back to his early days in comedy clubs.[92] The special premiered exclusively on FX on May 28, 2015.

In May 2015, it was announced that C.K. would write, direct, and star in the film I'm a Cop, to be produced by Scott Rudin, Dave Becky, and Blair Breard, with a budget of $8 million,[93] although he later canceled the project.[94] C.K. became the first comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden three times in a single tour in 2015.[2] Audio from the tour was released by C.K. on his website as Louis C.K.: Live at Madison Square Garden through the pay what you want model.[95] In November 2015, C.K co-starred in the biographical drama film Trumbo as a composite character based on five different screenwriters who were blacklisted in Hollywood for their alleged ties to the Communist party during the 1940s.[b][97]

2016–present: Horace and Pete, I Love You, Daddy, and sexual misconduct revelations[edit]

It was announced in January 2016 that C.K. and actor/comedian Albert Brooks would co-create, co-write, executive produce, and provide the voices for the two main characters in an animated series pilot for FX.[98] The following January, the series was announced to instead be premiering on TBS in 2018 and is titled The Cops, following two Los Angeles patrolmen.[99] On January 30, 2016, he released the first episode of the tragicomic drama series Horace and Pete to his website, without any prior announcements. C.K. directed, wrote, and starred in the series as bar owner Horace, alongside Steve Buscemi, who portrays co-owner Pete.[100] Horace and Pete pioneered the genre of 'sadcom'. James Poniewozik of The New York Times said the series "may best be described as a Cheers spec script by Eugene O’Neill: a snapshot of a family—and a country—suffering a hangover decades in the making."[101] The self-financed series received a significantly positive reaction from critics, who largely focused on the performances of the veteran cast that includes C.K., Buscemi, Edie Falco, Steven Wright, Alan Alda, and Jessica Lange and C.K.'s writing.[102][103] C.K. has expressed his interest in a second season.[104] C.K. next voiced the lead, Max, a Jack Russell Terrier, in the animated comedy film The Secret Life of Pets. The film was co-directed by Chris Renaud of the Despicable Me series, and was released on July 8, 2016.[105][106] It grossed over $875 million worldwide.[107][108] C.K. developed the series Better Things with its star Pamela Adlon, who had appeared on Louie. C.K. co-wrote, co-produced, and directed the pilot.[2] The show is about a single working actress mother and her struggles to raise three daughters.[109] It premiered in September 2016 on FX.[110] His stand-up special 2017 was filmed in Washington, D.C. and released on April 4, 2017, through the streaming service Netflix.[111]

C.K. accepting an award at the 76th Annual Peabody Awards in 2017

C.K. directed the film I Love You, Daddy in secret, shooting entirely on black and white 35 mm film in June 2017.[112] The film follows a television producer and writer played by C.K. called Glen Topher whose teenage daughter, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, is seduced by a much older film director (John Malkovich), causing Topher to become disconcerted. The film also features Charlie Day, Adlon, Rose Byrne, Edie Falco, and Helen Hunt.[113] It premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival in September,[114] whereupon The Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw gave the film a four-star review, calling it a "very funny and recklessly provocative homage to Woody Allen, channelling his masterpiece Manhattan."[113]

On November 9, 2017, the distributor of I Love You, Daddy, The Orchard, canceled the New York premiere of the film due to "unexpected circumstances," with The Hollywood Reporter reporting that an upcoming New York Times story on C.K. was the reason for the cancellation. The report, published later that day, revealed five sexual harassment allegations against C.K. His scheduled next-day appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was also canceled.[115] C.K., who had previously dismissed the allegations as rumors,[116][117] publicly acknowledged their veracity the next day, saying, "These stories are true."[118][119]

In wake of the scandal, The Orchard announced it would not distribute I Love You, Daddy, a week before its scheduled release.[120] His co-stars in the film, Chloë Grace Moretz and Charlie Day, both said they would not participate in the film's promotion.[121] FX Networks announced it was cutting ties with C.K., and Netflix announced that it would not be moving forward with its second planned standup special.[122] HBO dropped C.K.'s appearance on an upcoming Night of Too Many Stars autism television special and removed his content from their on-demand services.[123] TBS suspended production of, and eventually scrapped its animated series The Cops, which was co-created by and to star C.K. and Albert Brooks.[124][125][126] Illumination Entertainment terminated their relationship with the comedian, who will not reprise his role of Max in the upcoming sequel to The Secret Life of Pets.[127] The Disney Channel also removed C.K. from reruns of the Gravity Falls episodes "Weirdmageddon Part 1" and "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back The Falls", with his character's voice being redubbed by series creator Alex Hirsch.[128]

Other work[edit]

C.K. appeared several times on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist,[129] and was a frequent guest on The Opie & Anthony Show radio show, which also featured 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. In 2007, he 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.[130] During an interview with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the show, C.K. repeatedly asked Rumsfeld whether he is in fact a reptilian space alien who "eats Mexican babies".[131] Rumsfeld declined to comment and the video has since gone viral.[131] 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 gig in Kansas City.[132]

C.K. hosted Saturday Night Live on November 3, 2012 and was subsequently Primetime Emmy Award-nominated for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[38][133] He returned to host the show on March 29, 2014 and May 16, 2015 and received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for both episodes.[4][134][135] On April 8, 2017, he hosted Saturday Night Live for a fourth time.[136] One of the sketches in which he appeared engendered controversy because of similarities to a short film by actress and comedian Tig Notaro, titled Clown Service.[137] He executive produced the pilot for the Amazon Video black comedy series One Mississippi, starring Notaro, in November 2015. It was ordered for a full season by Amazon.[138] Barry Crimmins's stand-up special, Whatever Threatens You, directed and produced by C.K., was released through his website in 2016.[139]

Ticketing innovation[edit]

C.K. innovated direct-to-consumer distribution in 2001 when he released his debut comedy album, Live in Houston, directly through his website. He became one of the first performers to use his website to offer direct-to-fan ticket sales to his stand-up shows, as well as DRM-free video concert downloads.[8] In this way, C.K. sold tickets for his stand-up tour, circumventing large ticket outlets (e.g., Ticketmaster) by bypassing their overhead and the venues they control.[74] C.K. has said the ticket outlets create barriers to consumers, whereas direct distribution is easy—and has effectively "closed the gap between how easy it was to steal it [versus] how easy it was to buy it".[8] 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.[84]

Sexual harassment and misconduct[edit]

There were unsubstantiated rumors about sexual misconduct by Louis C.K. for years, including a blind item in Gawker in 2012 about a "beloved comedian" who likes to "force female comics to watch him jerk off." In the article, when two women tried to leave the room after a well-known comedian started masturbating in front of them at an event, the comedian blocked them from leaving by putting his body in front of the door.[140] Although a few comedians alluded to C.K. at the time of publication, it wasn't until 2015 by Gawker that the article was officially confirmed to be about C.K.[141] Comedian Roseanne Barr asserted the article was about C.K. in 2016.[142]

A person emailed C.K. in 2015 asking him to "stop sexually assaulting female comics". The person alleged that C.K. had grabbed a female friend by the back of her neck while she was at a comedy club, leaned close and said, "I'm going to fuck you". C.K. emailed back asking to speak on the phone. The two talked over the phone, and the person felt C.K. was trying to figure out what he knew.[141]

Vanity Fair published an article in August 2017 in which Tig Notaro said she had distanced herself from C.K., a one-time collaborator and producer on her show One Mississippi, due to his refusal to address allegations of sexual impropriety from several women and to an unspecified "incident" between them.[142]

C.K. dismissed the allegations as "rumors" in September 2017.[143]

In an article published on November 9, 2017, The New York Times published allegations from five women who said they were sexually harassed by C.K. between the late 1990s and 2005. The next day, C.K. released a statement saying, "These stories are true."[118][119][144]

Official statement[edit]

In an official statement, C.K. expressed remorse at the hurt he caused and the abuse of his power as an admired figure in the comedy world. However, he was criticised for not apologizing to the women.[145] He stated that, "I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first." It has been noted that he did not always wait for women to say yes, and made requests at times deemed to be inappropriate like when he first met actress Rebecca Corry on her way to filming a pilot (where he was a guest star) and asked her to go to a dressing room and watch him masturbate.[146]

C.K. included in his statement that he did not realize that this put the women in a predicament due to his power in the industry, because "when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question" and he wasn't aware of the extent of the impact of his actions. He stated that he "took advantage" of his own high standing, "which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn't want to hear it." He stated, "There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for" and apologized to the professional and personal lives who are affected by his actions, including the cast of Better Things, Baskets, The Cops, One Mississippi, I Love You, Daddy, and others who'd worked with him in productions that were now canceled or suspended. He also apologized to his manager Dave Becky, who was receiving negative press for his "perceived cover-up" of C.K.[147][148]

He ended with, "I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen. Thank you for reading."[147]

Co-worker on The Chris Rock Show[edit]

An anonymous woman reported an incident that happened in the late 1990s while working with C.K. on The Chris Rock Show when he was a writer and producer. She was in her early 20s at the time and stated C.K. repeatedly asked her if she would let him masturbate while she watched. She said she felt pressured and eventually assented. She said C.K. masturbated in his desk chair on a work day while she sat in his office.[118]

A co-worker who also worked on set confirmed that he had heard about the experience from the woman at the time.[118]

Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov[edit]

Comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov stated that in 2002, C.K. invited them to a hotel room late at night after they did a show together. As soon as they entered the room, while still wearing their jackets, C.K. asked if he could take out his penis. They stated they thought he was joking and laughed. He then took off his clothes, and started masturbating in front of them while naked.[118]

They stated they were "screaming and laughing" in shock while it happened, and felt unable to leave. He ejaculated on his stomach and they immediately left. They told Charna Halpern, who was the owner of several improv theaters in LA. Halpern stated that she did not know what they should do. They chose not to go to the police, but started telling other people in the industry. They said they felt a professional backlash within 24 hours.

Lee Kernis, one of their managers, confirmed she spoke to C.K.'s manager Dave Becky about what happened. Becky said to stop telling other people about the incident. Goodman and Wolov said from then on, they felt out of the running for any projects involving Becky, who was a prominent manager with several celebrity comedians as clients including Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari and Amy Poehler. Becky has since apologized and said, "What I did was wrong." He says he didn't know about any of the other allegations against C.K., and hadn't fully understood the events at the time.[118] Becky dropped C.K. as a client one day after The New York Times's allegations were published.[149]

Abby Schachner[edit]

Comedian Abby Schachner said that in 2003, she called C.K. at his office where he wrote for Cedric the Entertainer Presents and asked him to attend her upcoming show. After speaking for a short time, he told her he thought she was attractive. Schachner stated that next she heard him close the blinds of his office and start breathing heavily. He began talking about sexual fantasies and she realized he was masturbating.[118] She says the call went on for several minutes though she did not do anything to encourage it and that she did not know how to stop him. Her friend Stuart Harris confirmed that Schachner told him about the incident in 2003.[118]

In 2009, C.K. sent Schachner a Facebook message that apologized for his behavior six years earlier. He said, “That was a bad time in my life and I’m sorry.”[119]

Rebecca Corry[edit]

Comedian Rebecca Corry said that in 2005, C.K. approached her while she was walking to the set of a television pilot where C.K. was a guest star. He leaned in close and asked to go to her dressing room so he could masturbate in front of her.[118]

The executive producers Courteney Cox and David Arquette confirmed the incident in an email, saying, "What happened to Rebecca on that set was awful," and explained that they considered shutting down the production, but that Corry convinced them to continue.[118]

In 2015, C.K. emailed Corry saying he owed her a “very very very late apology.” He phoned her afterward and apologized for pushing her into a bathroom. When Corry explained that he had actually asked to masturbate in front of her, he acknowledged the incident but added, “I used to misread people back then.”[118]


In 2011, by selling Live at the Beacon Theater on his website, C.K. earned a "million dollars in matter of days, half of which he [gave] away to his staff and charities."[150] Recipients included the Fistula Foundation,[151] Green Chimneys, the Pablove Foundation, Charity: Water, and Kiva.[150] In 2016, he selected the Fistula Foundation as the beneficiary of his Jeopardy! Power Players Week appearance, and won $50,000 for the charity.[152]


C.K. has cited Larry David,[153] Woody Allen,[154] Lenny Bruce,[155] George Carlin,[13] Robin Williams,[156] Steve Martin,[12] Richard Pryor,[157] and Bill Cosby[158] as being comedy influences.[155]

Political views[edit]

About political partisanship, C.K. states, "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."[159]

In March 2016, C.K. sent an email to those subscribed to his mailing list with his opinion about the 2016 presidential race. He said he wanted a conservative president but criticized Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump as being like Adolf Hitler. He said Trump is an "insane bigot" even though he has captivating qualities. C.K. added, "He's not a monster. He's a sad man."[160][161][162] C.K. later referred to the e-mail as "irrational" and claimed he should never write his opinions again.[163]

Works and awards[edit]

Discography and Comedy Specials[edit]

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ C.K.'s stage name is an approximate English pronunciation of his Hungarian surname, Székely, pronounced [ˈseːkɛj], as he explains on The Tavis Smiley Show on September 25, 2009.
  2. ^ His character, Arlen Hird, is a composite character based on Alvah Bessie, Lester Cole, John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, and Samuel Ornitz.[96]


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External links[edit]