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11 July 2012

Louis C.K.

Louis Szekely (born September 12, 1967), known professionally as Louis C.K. (play /ˈl. sˈk/), is a Mexican-American stand-up comedian, radio host, television and film writer, actor and director.[6] He is the star of the FX comedy series Louie, which he also writes, directs, and edits.[6][7





Early life and career

C.K.'s stage name is derived from an approximate English pronunciation of his Hungarian surname, Szekely (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈseːkɛj]). C.K. was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Mary Louise (née Davis), a software engineer, and Luis Szekely, an economist.[2][8] C.K.'s paternal grandfather, a Jewish Hungarian, emigrated to Mexico, where he met C.K.'s paternal grandmother, who was a Catholic Mexican of Spanish and Mexican Indian ancestry.[9] C.K.'s father was born in Mexico, while C.K.'s mother is an American of Irish Catholic ancestry, originally from a farm in Michigan.[10] The two met at Harvard University while his father was trying to finish his degree during a summer-school program.[1] Although C.K. was born in D.C., he lived in Mexico City until the age of seven.[2] His first language is Spanish, and he still retains Mexican citizenship.[11]
Upon moving from Mexico to suburban Boston, Massachusetts, C.K. discovered he wanted to become a writer and comedian, citing Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and George Carlin as some of his influences.[1] When he was ten years old, his parents divorced. He and his three siblings were raised by their single mother in Newton, Massachusetts.[12] His primary reason for aspiring to produce movies and television was his mother: "I remember thinking in fifth grade, 'I have to get inside that box and make this shit better'... because she deserves this."[12]
After graduating from Newton North High School, C.K. worked as an auto mechanic in Boston while summoning the courage to try stand-up.[2] His first attempt was in 1984 at a comedy club's open-mic night; he was given five minutes of time, but had only two minutes of material.[13] The experience kept him away from comedy for two years.[14] C.K. gradually moved up to paid gigs, opening for Jerry Seinfeld and hosting comedy clubs[2] until he moved to Manhattan in 1989.[13]

Career

Writing

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[15] for his work writing for the talk show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The feature film born from the Chris Rock sketches, Pootie Tang, which C.K. wrote and directed, received largely negative reviews from critics but became a cult classic.[16][17] He also wrote and directed the independent black-and-white film Tomorrow Night (1998) (which premiered at Sundance)[18] and several shorter films, including six short films for the sketch comedy show Sunny Skies (1995) on the Showtime cable network.[13] He was nominated for an Emmy Award for writing on his 2008 special, Chewed Up, and again in 2011 for the Louie episode "Poker/Divorce."
C.K. has co-written two screenplays with Chris Rock, Down to Earth in 2001, and I Think I Love My Wife in 2007.

Stand-up

Louis C.K. first took the stage in 1984 at an open-mic in Boston, Massachusetts, during the apex of the comedy boom. He was so discouraged by the experience that he didn't perform again for two years. As Boston's comedy scene grew, he gradually achieved success, performing alongside acts such as Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke.
Louis C.K. performing in Kuwait, December 2008
In 1989, he moved to New York City. Now in the heart of the comedy world, 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.[19]
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.
Since then, C.K. has become known as one of the most prolific comedians of his time. Inspired by the work ethic of George Carlin, the comedian has committed to dropping all of his existing material and starting over every year.[20] In 2007, C.K. starred in his first hour-long special titled Shameless, which aired on HBO and was later released on DVD. In March of 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. Because of this it was not released until late 2010, and published on DVD and CD in 2011.[21][22] It is the first stand-up comedy film to be accepted into Sundance.[23]
In a 2010 interview, C.K. described returning to stand-up and doing specials after his divorce as a year and a half working "to catch up to" the breakup of his marriage which, although portrayed in the HBO series Lucky Louie as fractious, had nonetheless been central to the show and his life. One element in his preparation for stand-up was training in the boxing gym, including with locally well-known 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."[24]
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., but unlike his earlier work, it was distributed digitally on the comedian's website, foregoing both physical and broadcast media. C.K. released the special DRM-free for $5.00 USD, hoping these factors and the direct relationship between the artist and consumer would effectively deter piracy. The end of the film also mentions the release of a new album, recorded at Carnegie Hall the previous year. As of December 21, 2011, the sales of the special from C.K.'s website has earned him over US$1,000,000.[25] The success of the special prompted other comedians, including Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari, to release their own specials with a similar business model.[26] On May 11, 2012, C.K. additionally made two audio-only downloads available for $5.00 USD 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. [27]

Acting

In June 2006, C.K. began starring in Lucky Louie, a sitcom he created. The series premiered on HBO and was videotaped in front of a live 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 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.[28]
In August 2009, FX picked up his new series Louie, which C.K. stars in, writes, directs, and edits, although he only edited 5 episodes during the first season [29]. The show features his stand-up routines blended with segments based somewhat on his offstage experiences.[30] The show premiered on June 29, 2010. The show's first and second seasons consist of thirteen episodes each, and the production of a third season has been confirmed. It 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."[24]
C.K. has also appeared in the films Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Diminished Capacity, and The Invention of Lying.
C.K. was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in July 2011 for Louie.[31]

Other work

As a voice actor, C.K. portrayed Brendon Small's estranged father, Andrew Small, in Home Movies, and appeared several times on Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
C.K. is a frequent "third mic" on the Opie and Anthony radio show, which also features his Lucky Louie co-star Jim Norton, and 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 Comedy 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.[32] As of May 2011, Louis has hosted over 107 hours of radio with Opie & Anthony.
During an interview with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the Opie and Anthony radio show, C.K. famously asked Rumsfeld whether he is in fact a reptilian space alien who "eats the poor".[33] Rumsfeld declined to comment.
He is also an occasional guest on the Bob and Tom radio show which is a popular showcase for comedians and he frequently works with Robert Smigel on TV Funhouse shorts exclusively for Saturday Night Live, ranging from politics to surrealism.

Personal life

C.K. was married to artist and painter Alix Bailey; they divorced in 2008. He has two daughters from the marriage[34] and shares joint custody.[24]
He is friends with fellow comedians Chris Rock, Todd Barry, Jim Norton, Nick DiPaolo and Ricky Gervais.

Discography

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1993–1994 Late Night with Conan O'Brien Nicknames for Conan Guy / Various Also Writer
1996 The Dana Carvey Show Various 3 Episodes / Also Writer
1996 HBO Comedy Half-Hour Himself Stand-Up Special
1996–1997 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Louis 2 Episodes
1997 The Chris Rock Show Various Also Writer
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program
2001 Comedy Central Presents Himself Stand-up Special
2002 Home Movies Andrew Small Voice Only
2005 One Night Stand Himself Stand-up Special
2006–2007 Lucky Louie Louie Creator / Writer / Ex. Producer
2007 Shameless Himself Stand-up Special
2008 Diminished Capacity Stan
Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins Marty
Role Models Security Guard
Chewed Up Himself Stand-up Special / Director / Editor
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program
2009 The Invention of Lying Greg
2009–present Parks and Recreation Dave Sanderson 6 Episodes
2010–present Louie Louie Creator / Writer / Director / Editor
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
2011 Hilarious Himself Stand-up Special / Writer / Director / Editor
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Special (Single or Multi-Camera)
Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album
2011 Live at the Beacon Theater Himself Stand-up Special / Writer / Director / Editor

Non-performance credits

Year Title Notes
2001 Down to Earth Screenwriter
Pootie Tang Screenwriter / Director
2007 I Think I Love My Wife Screenwriter
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