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Louis C.K

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Louis C.K

Louis C.K.
Louis C.K. at the 2012 Time 100
Birth name Louis Szekely[1]
Born (1967-09-12) September 12, 1967 (age 46)[1][2]
Washington, D.C. [3]
Medium Stand-up comedian, writer, producer, director, actor, voice actor, editor
Nationality USA
Years active 1985–present
Genres Observational comedy, Black comedy, Surreal humor, Blue comedy
Subject(s) Everyday life, Self-deprecation, Pessimism, Marriage, Sexuality, Old age, Economic materialism
Influences Richard Pryor,[4] George Carlin,[4] Woody Allen, Robert Downey Sr., Bill Cosby,[4] Steve Martin,[5] Lenny Bruce, Garry Shandling, Bill Hicks, Lenny Clarke, Steve Sweeney[6]
Spouse Alix Bailey (1995–2008; divorced; 2 children)
Notable works and roles The Chris Rock Show
Late Night with Conan O'Brien
Pootie Tang
Lucky Louie
Louie
Website
Emmy Awards
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
Grammy Awards
Best Comedy Album
2012 Hilarious

Louis Szekely (born Luis Székely Jr. September 12, 1967),[1] known professionally as Louis C.K. (/ˈl. sˈk/), is an American Emmy and Grammy Award-winning stand-up comedian, television and film writer, producer, director, and actor.[7][8] He is the creator, star, writer, director, and, until February 2012, the editor[9] of the FX comedy series Louie.[7][10]

Early life and career

C.K.'s stage name is derived from an approximate English pronunciation of his Hungarian surname, Székely (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈseːkɛj]), and his name is pronounced "Louie See-kay". C.K. was born in Washington, DC, the son of Mary Louise (née Davis), a software engineer, and Luis Székely, an economist.[5][11] C.K.'s paternal grandfather, a Hungarian Jew, emigrated to Mexico, where he met C.K.'s paternal grandmother, who was a Catholic Mexican of Spanish and Mexican Indian ancestry.[12] 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.[13] The two met at Harvard University while his mother was completing her degree in a summer-school program.[4] C.K. lived in Mexico City until the age of seven.[5] His first language is Spanish, and he still retains Mexican citizenship.[14]

Upon moving from Mexico to suburban Boston, Massachusetts, 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.[4] When he was 10 years old, his parents divorced. He and his three siblings were raised by their single mother in Newton, Massachusetts.[15] His mother's watching bad TV inspired him to work with television. "I remember thinking in fifth grade, 'I have to get inside that box and make this shit better' " he told The Observer in April 2005, "because she deserves this. It made me mad that the shows were so bad."[15]

After graduating from Newton North High School, C.K. worked as an auto mechanic and at a public access TV cable station in Boston, while summoning the courage to try stand-up.[5] 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.[16] The experience kept him away from comedy for two years.[17] He and Marc Maron reminisced about their early careers and friendship on Maron’s WTF Podcast.[18] C.K. gradually moved up to paid gigs, opening for Jerry Seinfeld and hosting comedy clubs[5] until he moved to Manhattan in 1989.[16]

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[19] for his work writing for 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 has become a cult classic.[20][21] 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 calls the film a "very huge mistake" that "never should have been made."[22] He also wrote and directed the independent black-and-white film Tomorrow Night (1998) (which premiered at Sundance)[23] and several shorter films, including six short films for the sketch comedy show Sunny Skies (1995) on the Showtime cable network.[16] 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"[24] and for his special Live at the Beacon Theater.[25]

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.

In 1989, he moved to New York City. 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.[26]

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 George Carlin, the comedian who had committed to dropping all of his existing material and starting over every year,[27] C.K. launched his first hour-long special titled 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. Because of this it was not released until late 2010, and published on DVD and CD in 2011.[28][29] It is the first stand-up comedy film to be accepted into Sundance.[30]

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 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."[31]

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, forgoing both physical and broadcast media. C.K. released the special digital rights management-free for $5.00, 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 $1 million.[32] 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.[33] 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.[32]

C.K.'s fifth one-hour special, Oh My God, recorded at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, premiered on HBO April 13.[34]

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 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.[35]

C.K. has also appeared in the films Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Diminished Capacity, and The Invention of Lying.

In August 2009, FX picked up his new series Louie, which C.K. stars in, writes, directs and sometimes edits.[36] The show features his stand-up routines blended with segments based somewhat on his offstage experiences.[37] The show premiered on June 29, 2010. Each season of Louie contains 13 episodes. The series has been renewed for a fourth season.[38] 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."[31] In season three, episodes dealt with a date with an unstable bookshop clerk Liz (played by Parker Posey),[39] a doomed attempt to replace a retiring David Letterman, an aborted visit to his estranged father, and a dream-reality New Year's Eve episode in which Louie ends up in China.[40] All of these made critic Matt Zoller Seitz's top 25 comedy episodes list for 2012.[41] Actor-director David Lynch, who appeared in the Letterman episodes, came to seem to Seitz to be receiving a "fan's tribute" from CK in "New Year's Eve." The episode was "truly audacious," leaving the viewer "unmoored, uncertain what to trust, or how to see"[40] and "captur[ing] the sensation of dreaming better than any half-hour comedy episode I’ve ever watched."[41]

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 Louie.[42]

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 guest 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.[43] 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 in Kansas City into which Louis's character is calling to promote a nearby gig.

During an interview with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the Opie and Anthony radio show, C.K. asked Rumsfeld whether he is in fact a reptilian space alien who "eats the poor".[44] Rumsfeld declined to comment. The video has since gone viral.[45]

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, 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.[46][7]

Personal life

C.K. married Alix Bailey in 1995; they divorced in 2008. He has two daughters from the marriage[47] and shares joint custody.[31] Raised Catholic, he occasionally pokes fun at religion in his comedy, and says he has "zero idea how everything got here."[48]

Discography

  • 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) [‌HBO‌]

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 Head Writer
1996 HBO Comedy Half-Hour Himself Stand-Up Special
1996–1997 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist Louis 4 Episodes
1999 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 5 Episodes
2005 One Night Stand Himself Stand-up Special
2006 Lucky Louie Louie Creator / Writer / Executive 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 Special
2009 The Invention of Lying Greg
2009–present Parks and Recreation Dave Sanderson 6 Episodes
2010–present Louie Louie Creator / Producer / Writer / Director / Editor
AFI Award for TV Program of the Year (Top 10) (2011–2012)
Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series (2012-13)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (2012)
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series (Musical or Comedy) (2011)
TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy (2012–2013)
TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy (2012)
Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Comedy Series (2013)
Nominated – Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actor in a Comedy Series (2011)
Nominated – Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Comedy Series (2011)
Nominated – Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series (2013)
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series (Musical or Comedy) (2013)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series (2013)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (2011–2013)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (2012-2013)
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (2011, 2013)
Nominated – Producers Guild of America Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television - Comedy (2013)
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series (Musical or Comedy) (2012)
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy (2011)
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series (2013)
Nominated – TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Comedy (2011)
Nominated – TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy (2011–2013)
Nominated – Writers Guild of America Award for Television: Comedy Series (2012)
2011 Hilarious Himself Stand-up Special / Writer / Director / Editor
Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Nominated - Outstanding Picture Editing for a Special (Single Or Multi-Camera)
2011 Live at the Beacon Theater Himself Stand-up Special / Writer / Director / Editor
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Program
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Picture Editing for Short-Form Segments and Variety Specials
2012 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Louis C.K./Fun";
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
2013 Oh My God Himself Stand-up Special / Writer / Director / Editor
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Variety Special
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Picture Editing for Short-Form Segments and Variety Specials
2013 Blue Jasmine[49] Al
2013 American Hustle Stoddard Thorsen Post-Production

Non-performance credits

Year Title Notes
1998 Tomorrow Night Screenwriter / Director
2001 Down to Earth Screenwriter
Pootie Tang Screenwriter / Director
2007 I Think I Love My Wife Screenwriter

References

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Louis C.K. at Emmys.com

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