Louis CK and Jon Stewart go back a couple of decades in comedy together, so last night's appearance on The Daily Show allowed the two comedians to reminisce a bit. They also -- spoiler alert -- discuss the fart joke that's a central plot point in the premiere episode of season two of FX's Louie.
Let Louis CK break it down for you why farts are funny. Safe for work? Even merely explaining farts makes Stewart laugh uncontrollably, at least when CK does it; also, when he describes in detail just how obesely obese he plans to get once his career in comedy is over.
"You don't have to be smart to laugh at farts, but you have to be stupid not to." -- Louis CK
Roll the clip!
Louis CK brought up several disturbing things on last night's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, among them tampon stealing and diarrhea. Oh, and comedians who work on cruise ships.
About halfway through this clip, Louis CK explains how he got to introduce his daughters to the concept of cruise ships, and how his work as a stand-up comedian differs from those stand-ups who work the cruise-ship circuit.
As he tells Kimmel:
"Comedians have a mean hatred of cruise-ship comics. It's just a mean prejudice. We call 'em boat acts. It's just mean. 'Boat act!' Cause they pander. We just think they're crap. And it's just something you just feel, it's like being born racist, you just believe it, you don't question it, it's just a thing in you. So my daughter is like, 'Have you ever worked on a cruise ship?' I'm like, 'Nooo!' And she says, 'Why not?! Why wouldn't you want to be on a boat?' And I'm like, 'Well, that's a different kind of comic.' She says, 'Well, what's different about them?' I said, 'Well, a cruise ship comic just tries to please everybody.' And she's like, 'Why wouldn't you want to do that? Of course! Isn't that what you want to do?' 'Yes, but I, see, some things I say onstage might upset some people.' 'Why would you upset people?! That's a terrible thing to do!'"
Roll the clip! And a few more thoughts on the matter, after the jump...
Louis CK could care less about which talk show he's on, just so long as people are watching. Which is why he returned to Leno last night, and had no problems revealing just how much he loved taking Percocet for a back injury -- so much so that he indulged Leno with a spit-take -- why he's not an alcoholic or a pot-head (blame Kansas City!), and the rudeness of strangers, and helicopters. Which leads to a clip from the second season of Louie (debuting tonight on FX) and a reminder that Louis CK remains deathly afraid when planes hit turbulence, even if it's for the cameras.
Brian Regan's hardcore fans might want to gloss over the first little bit about ranking pain on a scale of 1-10 and just get to the good parts.
Louis CK just posted this deleted scene from the pilot of his FX sitcom, Louie. It features himself, Todd Barry, Nick DiPaolo and Rick Shapiro sitting in a booth in the Olive Tree Cafe above the Comedy Cellar, trying to get the attention of a waitress (played by Rachel Feinstein) and imagining the lives of the restaurant staff.
Todd Barry makes fun of Louis CK. Nick DiPaolo says something bigoted. Rick Shapiro goes off the rails. So. You know. About what you'd expect out. Roll the clip!
This scene and everything else from season one is out on DVD now.
The second season of Louie starts on FX this Thursday at 10:30 p.m. Eastern/Pacific. You can catch up with a few episodes on the FX site now if you need to.
As part of this week's TV issue of New York magazine, everyone's favorite stand-up comedian of today, Louis CK, gets himself profiled in advance of the second season of his revolutionary FX sitcom, Louie. For background on his process for season one, read my interview with Louis CK from June 2010.
What makes his sitcom so revolutionary, not just for comedian-based sitcoms, but for TV?
Television showrunners are notorious multitaskers, with the most successful able to toggle easily between the roles of CEO and auteur. But Louis’s work on Louie requires a whole different level of personal oversight. The show is based on his life. Louis is the director. He’s also the only writer, the sole editor (he no longer shares duties with the co-editor he had last season), not to mention the person who oversees music (when the music guy’s budget ran out, he decided to do it himself). He also hired his own casting team: Last season, he turned down FX’s offer to help out and doesn’t inform them about casting in advance. But perhaps the most unusual aspect of the show is that Louis C.K. gets no notes from the network during filming, no script approval—an unheard-of “Louis C.K. deal” that has made him the envy of comics and TV writers alike. It’s a situation Louis is not taking for granted.
“No one on the planet Earth has what I have right now,” he says in his trademark tone—a deadpan delivery that somehow manages to sound at once bleak and exhilarated. “No one ever has. And I don’t know that I ever will again.”
Ricky Gervais is friends with Louis CK, who is friends with Chris Rock, who is friends with Jerry Seinfeld. Put these four friends together in a room and let them talk shop for 50 minutes about comedy. That's not a show about nothing. That's Talking Funny, which premieres tonight on HBO.
It opens mid-conversation, just like Showtime's The Green Room with Paul Provenza. But unlike that series, this is a one-time affair, without a studio audience or a moderator. Just four famous funny men, well, talking funny. And talking about the business of being funny. Is that going to be funny?
Of course it is. And not just because they're all established comedians. Let's take a look at an extended peek:
Among the other observations they make about their art:
Gervais acknowledges that he got into stand-up to prove that he had earned his keep as a comedian after the success of The Office. Seinfeld alleges that stand-up comedians are the most criticized and judged people, because of the feedback they receive after every joke, and argues that professional critics shouldn't judge comedy unless they know what it is to write "the act." There's talk about cursing, easy laughs, and the clip above leads into a discussion about slurs. They get into an extended riff after Louis CK says he still remembers a singing comic who bombed 25 years ago. Seinfeld recounts an old bit of his about Superman in which he realized the bit only worked because he had used the F-word, and now he doesn't swear at all onstage.
"I sort of disguise jokes. I don't really make jokes. I think of a joke as the minimum amount of words to get to a punchline." -- Ricky Gervais
"That's the problem with so many of these young guys, they think it's all attitude. But it's got to have jokes under this weird persona, under your crazy glasses, under your crazy voice. Whatever gimmick you have. Henny Youngman has to have something to do with it," Chris Rock said. To which Seinfeld added: "You can put all kind of furniture, but you have to have steel in the walls."
Louis CK says that in recent years, he has used his strongest closer as his new opener to force him to write good jokes, prompting Seinfeld to tell Rock, "You see how this kid got good?" There's some mutual love among these guys, and in this first trailer for the screener, you can see that. Roll the clip.
At first, some viewers of this clip wondered if CK was going to call out Seinfeld for doing his bit. But in context, Seinfeld was doing CK's bit, after telling him how much he loved that bit. CK's actual response: "That's a completely Seinfeld-ed version of my joke. You made it nice."
Similarly, in this discussion on early bits, CK and Seinfeld learn that they both used to joke about the grammar and interpretation of street signs. I can think of several other comedians who have plumbed these shallow waters, too. To parallel thinking!
The special ends with them jokingly delivering promos for the 50 minutes. But you already know you should watch this. If you're a comedian. If you're an aspiring comedian. If you're a fan of comedy. If you like to laugh. This may be HBO, but it's also must-see TV.
It's never too early to start planning your schedules for Montreal's Just For Laughs festival, and this year, you'll have to adjust your schedule to the end of July. Because that's where all of the action is.
The festival announced that Louis CK would be honored as this year's Comedy Person of the Year at its conference on July 29. It'll be followed by a special panel with this year's "Variety 10 Comics to Watch" (normally they only appear to pick up their awards, but this year they'll speak, too!), and then the annual "State of the Industry" address by Andy Kindler.
JFL liked Marc Maron's intro of Kindler from a couple of years ago so much that they've asked him back to provide the keynote address on July 28.
And on July 30, activities will include a special pitch session that'll reward one lucky comedian/group with a development deal from My Damn Channel.
The Just For Laughs Comedy Conference runs this year from July 28-30, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency in Montreal. The full comedy festival itself starts July 14 and goes through July 31.
Louis CK told his fans on Friday night via Twitter to catch his most recent appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, saying "2nd segment was the funnest time I evr had on a talk show." Sic sic!
So what did you miss if you didn't tune in?
In the first segment, Louis told Jay about how even the process of talking -- what they're both professionally doing at that very moment -- is a weird task, then answers Leno's question about his stand-up comedy tour by explaining how little he cares about tourism these days, as well as saving money, which CK says is an arrogant thing to do. You hear that, Jay? Arrogance!
The conversation then turns to inheritance and spoiled rich kids, and how it relates to not only the d-bags you've likely seen on a TV series near you, but also a kingdom in the past. Being a stand-up comedian, however, that's a "heavy responsibility." Especially when Louis reminds Leno about his audience numbers and demographics!
And if you're a 20-year-old who's still able to pay attention to what Louis is saying, then listen to what he has to say about his kids.
Louis CK, still so great. Even when he's clearly doing material, because the way Louis CK does material is so conversational already. And to anyone who is on Team Coco or whatever and wants to be mad at Louis for appearing on Leno, then you're missing the point. Team Coco's fans already love Louis CK. To expand his reach and obtain new fans, it's important for the rest of America to hear what Louis CK has to say, which means the 1 million -- or 5.5 million, as Leno says! -- tuning into the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It's also a win for Jay, because Louis so doesn't care (he even wrote about how little he cared about the fight over what's left of "The Tonight Show") that he can laugh off Leno's chat-show segues and make Leno feel like a guy you can talk to. Not that that's the point right now. Point is, if you read this site, you're likely already a fan of Louis CK. If you're a newcomer, strap in and get used to reading more about great comedy.
As part of the busy opening night of the New York Comedy Festival, Louis CK sat down for a conversation at the Paley Center with Time magazine's James Poniewozik about the comedian's revelatory and innovative take on the sitcom with FX's Louie.
One thing I hadn't heard him discuss, and then relay to you, about the show was the split-second shot in the opening credits, in which an unidentified young man spins toward the camera to flip it the bird with his middle finger, all while Louis CK was eating a slice from Ben's Pizza around the corner from the Comedy Cellar.
Here's what the comedian had to say about it:
"During the opening credits of the show, some guy flips off the camera. There was a young, NYU-looking kid -- spiky hair and just real contrary. He was walking with some real "yeah fuck everything" type guy. I was eating the pizza and I saw them, and I was already thought 'Jeeesus.' I think they saw a camera and they saw people making a sincere effort in something... So one of them went 'YEAHHHH' and he flipped off the camera. And I remember that moment very well because I was eating pizza and I watched him flip off the camera and I could tell by the angle that we caught it. And I thought -- when that happened, I knew we were gonna be on TV. Because that was when we were shooting the pilot, and it was a test. For some reason I remember seeing that and thinking, 'That's just meant to be. That's gonna be in the opening credits. It'll be fuzzy because I fucking know how the camera works. It's gonna be a little fuzzy because it's out of the depth of field and people are going to see it.' I just knew. That was just a sign to me. That we were going to get to be on TV."
Thanks to my friends at Funny or Die for duly recording the panel for posterity. The Paley Center also should have a video clip and photos from the event uploaded to its site later.
Do you even enjoy comedy? Do you care about comedy? Then listen!
Louis CK and Marc Maron have known each other since they started together in the Boston comedy scene in the 1980s. This pic, Maron says, dates to about 1989.
Do you really need a tornado to be transported to another world? Maybe. It certainly helped add to the theme last night when thunderstorms brought funnel clouds through Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, uprooting trees just a block or two away from the start of the third annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, which just so happened to be kicking off at The Bell House with a show themed "An Evening of Comedy From 1986."
Mirman says the festival is a joke, but one in which he and his organizers have committed to fully. Each year they provide fun things for audiences to enjoy, both free and available for purchase. A merch table last night offered traditional items such as posters and free guides, but also "Industry Rocks" (rocks engraved with names of real-life comedy industry people, for $15), velvet Eugene paintings ($25) and more. Inside the venue, audience members could feast on free roasted duck, set up on a table beneath a banner that read "Eugene's Pee Your Pants Comedy Villa." At the door, each audience member received 3-D glasses to watch Mirman's 3-D "welcome video."
As for the show itself, Mirman introduced Tony V with the credits he would have had in 1986, and Tony joked about his small role in the 1986 movie, One Crazy Summer. The "best impressionist" Sandy Gorman followed, played by Larry Murphy in a white wig, holding a giant phone and wearing a suit jacket with the sleeves rolled up. Among his impressions: Jack Nicholson, Ronald Reagan, Marlon Brando and Robert DeNiro on a party line. Mirman next brought out Teddy Ruxpin. Yes. The stuffed teddy bear that can talk. Mirman sat the Teddy Ruxpin on a stool in front of the mic and walked off, letting Ruxpin spew forth a filthy NSFW stand-up routine. Ron Lynch opened his set by reading off notes of how a stand-up should act, then noted that the rolled-up sleeves really was a trend in stand-up back in the 1980s.
"How did that happen? Who was the first? How many of you have no idea what I'm talking about?"
In a special treat, Lynch played the cassette tape that Louis CK sent him back around 1986 as an audition to get booked in a club Lynch ran in the Boston area. Afterward Lynch mocked him, which prompted Louis CK himself to appear in a cameo that delighted the crowd. Lynch closed with his classic bit from the future in which a Disney-engineered robot explains what stand-up comedy was all about.
At the screenings for his stand-up concert film, Hilarious, Louis CK was more than generous with his time and sincerity in answering questions from fans in the audience afterward this week at the IFC Center in New York City. He talked technically about the making of the film, about his close working relationship with Pamela Adlon (who played his TV wife on HBO's Lucky Louie, co-wrote a failed pilot for CBS that CK said the suits really hated, and plays a TV friend on FX's Louie, as well as a consulting producer whom he bounces ideas off of), indulged a fan who wanted him to respond to alleged bashing by Marc Maron (even though CK said he has been a friend of Maron's since both were in Boston), talked about his working relationship with Chris Rock, his comments on race (noting that he spent the first several years of his life growing up in Mexico, as half-Mexican, even though nobody ever thinks of him that way).
But Louis CK also opened up about his Twitter-hate for Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, Republican vice-presidential candidate in 2008, and would-be future candidate. CK has gone to Twitter in allegedly drunken states to bash Palin. The last time he did so, he found himself a day later sitting next to her daughter, teen-aged single mother Bristol Palin, on the set of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. And then Leno coerced him into trying a dance move alongside Bristol Palin.
Here's the video from Sept. 3:
And here is Louis CK explaining himself Wednesday night to his fans in NYC. He opens by talking about being on camera next to Bristol Palin:
"It (the camera) cut off my face, while she was talking, and I was really, because I was looking at this monitor, and I'm like, do I go like this (he tilts his face to the left and mugs), do I edge out, which is awkward, because the audience was looking at me. And I didn't want to do this (stands awkwardly), but I also didn't want to go (mugs again). Yeah. OK. I wrote mean things about Sarah Palin on Twitter. And not because I'm political. But because it's fun. I do think she's Hitler. But that's not why I do it. I do it because it's fun. But I let myself have fun at her expense, because she's Hitler. Her being Hitler allows me in my head to say mean things about her, but that's not the reason. The reason is because it's just fun. Because she's just an amazing, beautiful perfect villain. She's just crystalline. She says things that are at perfect right angles to truth and reason, and that blows me away. It's poetry when that woman speaks. And I'm sexually attracted to her boobs. She's sexually attractive, to me. But I do think she's terribly dangerous, and I do think she could really Hitler up the place. And by the way, once, I wrote on Twitter that she's the new Hitler, and I got this immediate -- like, immediate -- email on the same device, from somebody that I kinda, whatever, I don't want to say who, who said, 'You gotta take that down. You can't compare a person in the public eye to someone who killed six million Jews.' And I said, 'Well, I'm not saying that she's that Hitler. She's the early Hitler, when he was building power. I don't know how many Jews he was going to kill. But I know that she's building power the same way. Hitler was voted into office through this weird, like he took a bunch of seats, and he got this party going, and he just started intimidating people, and that's exactly what she's doing. Again. I don't care. I'm not political, but why not? Fuck it. If Hitler was running, I'd say 'Hey, fucking losers, suck my dick, Hitler!' And I wouldn't feel like, oh, that's not that nice. Fuck 'em. He's Hitler.
"So I write things about her, people living in her cunt, or whatever it is, and then, yeah, so I go on the Tonight Show. I had no idea. Until I arrived, and I'm walking past the dressing room and it's Bristol, her fucking daughter is on the show. And we sat there, and she talked to Jay, but she, to me, I just saw a young girl who's very nervous -- she was terribly nervous -- be on the Tonight Show. And after her segment I told her, 'You did a good job. That's not easy.' And she said, 'Thank you.' She's very nice. So she invited me to stand there and dance. And I knew I was paying some kind of penance, for what I'd done, I'm standing there like this, me, Bristol Palin, fucking Jay Leno, and some dude from Dancing with the Stars, and I'm standing there kinda like this, and I'm like, this is totally karma. Pretty direct karma."
Several movie theaters across America screened Louis CK's stand-up concert film, Hilarious, last night. It debuts on TV on Sept. 18 on the new EPIX channel.
Louis CK appeared at the New York City screenings at the IFC Center to introduce the film and answer questions afterward. Here is his introduction of his film. Enjoy!
As I previously reported, Louis CK's stand-up concert film, Hilarious, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival this January, will get a one-night-only screening in several cities on Sept. 8, 2010, followed 10 days later with a TV debut on Sept. 18 on EPIX.
Here are the cities and info:
Austin: 7 p.m. screening at Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek, 13729 Research Blvd., Austin. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 27, and are available through www.drafthouse.com/lakecreek
Boston: 7:30 p.m. screening at the Kendall Square Cinema, 1 Kendall Square, Boston. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 27, and are available through the Kendall Square Cinema box office or online at www.landmarktheatres.com
Chicago: 7 p.m. screening at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 27, and are available through www.etix.com
Los Angeles: TBA
New York City: 7:30 & 9:45 p.m. screenings at IFC Theater at Waverly, 323 Avenue of the Americas, New York City. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 27, and are available at the IFC Theater Box Office or through www.ifccenter.com
Philadelphia: 7:30 p.m. screening at Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, September 1, and are available at the Prince Music Theater Box Office, the Trocadero Box Office or online at www.ticketmaster.com
San Francisco: 7:30 p.m. screening at Embarcadero Center Cinema, One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level, San Francisco. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 27, and are available through www.landmarktheatres.com
Washington DC: 7:30 p.m. screening at Arlington Drafthouse, 2903 Columbia Pike Arlington, VA. Tickets go on sale on Friday, August 27, and are available through www.arlingtondrafthouse.com
Louis CK's stand-up concert film, Hilarious, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, will make its TV debut first on cable and satellite via EPIX this September, followed by a 2011 run and DVD release through Comedy Central.
As Louis CK told me in our most recent interview, none of the stand-up you're seeing on his new FX sitcom, Louie, is from Hilarious. It's from the hour he wrote in 2009. And that's not all. He also is embarking on a completely new tour in September called "Word."
If you watched this week's episode of Louie on FX, the first-half called "Travel Day" included a flight experience gone awry, with a cameo by Todd Glass as a chatty passenger! But Louis CK (who also voiced the pilot of his fictional TV flight) has previous experience shouting out obscenities in reaction to flight turbulence. In fact, Ricky Gervais captured it on video when the pair flew together on an even smaller private jet between New York and Massachusetts two summers ago during filming of The Invention of Lying. Even in real life, Louis CK responds to a bumpy flight by randomly forming NSFW phrases and sentences. And fortunately, both reality and TV reality had happy endings. So to speak. Roll the clip!
Louis CK created, wrote, directed and edited most of his new TV comedy on FX, Louie, but he has fought with YouTube and FOX this weekend over sharing his content with the masses. After a couple of attempts, he says this comedian poker roundtable scene -- which if you didn't catch it last week, aired in a cold open for the second episode -- is available for your viewing pleasure.
In it, comedian Rick Crom has to defend his homosexuality after several barbed comments from Nick DiPaolo and jokes from others at the table: Jim Norton, Hannibal Buress, Eddie Brill and Louis CK. Crom also answers CK's question about the use of the word "faggot" onstage with a history lesson. Needless to say, language therein is Not Safe For Work. Roll it. Fun fact: In real life, Brill has been hosting the long-running weekly comedian poker game for 17 years now; William Stephenson (not pictured here, but pictured in the Louie premiere) acts as t
Louis CK told me last week that he decided it was more than OK to use the stand-up he had been delivering to audiences over the past year and incorporate it into his new FX comedy, Louie. He hadn't filmed it yet for a DVD, so he said: "Then what, what am I saving this for? Do I want a special more than I want a series? To take primo, weapons-grade material, and spread it over the course of a series, so I decided, then I started taking things in that hour..."
If you've seen him live in the past year, then you've heard Louis CK joke about volunteering at the NYC public school his daughters attend, and his, well, hilarious way of looking at dating and puppies, and how it's not going to end well, no matter what. My friend Gabe over at Videogum decided to highlight and isolate this "primo, weapons-grade material" from last night's premiere of Louie so you can enjoy it. So. Enjoy it!
When FX and Louis CK announced that they'd be collaborating on a sitcom that consisted of stand-up routines followed by vignettes based on his stand-up routines, it'd be fair of you to think that Louis CK was doing his version of Seinfeld. But this is not a show about nothing. This is a show about something. Actually, Louie, which debuts June 29, is more than something. Louie is the most original, honest comedy on TV in a generation. Think of everything you've liked about All in the Family and Curb Your Enthusiasm, then remove the live studio audience and the cringe factor, and then you're prepared to have your thoughts provoked.
After debuting the first two episodes at a red-carpet premiere at Carolines on Monday night, Louis CK talked to me about the series Tuesday on his way to the airport to California for his Leno and Lopez appearances.
But first, here's a short scene from the pilot, in which Louis CK jokes about volunteering for his daughters at their NYC public school, followed by comedian William Stephenson as an aloof bus driver hired to take the field trip to the Bronx Botanical Gardens:
In the third episode, we see Louis CK get into a fight with Nick DiPaolo at the Comedy Cellar after both had performed downstairs -- a fake fight that some people were duped into thinking was real.
"I was really pleased with the reaction. I wanted it to feel like a real fight. It's filmed like a real scene. The camera pushes in and then when we start, the camera has to look up to find us...I didn't want to fool people...but that's what i wanted it to be...and then when this guy put it on YouTube and Howard Stern talked about it. Nick is really that good of an actor. Nick is a fucking good actor. I was fucking pissed that this extra put this clip up on YouTube. It's one thing if a fan walking by...that's obnoxious, but it's a fan, it's hard for you to stop...but an extra, a professional actor who works for you, that's absurd. We had to get a lawyer."
Louis CK also gets naked in two of the first three episodes, showing his ass. Is that symbolic of the naked honesty you were aiming for in the series? Or do you just like getting naked on camera? "That was necessary for a proper level of humiliation. I don't do it for nothing. I do think that nudity should have a reason story-wise. I remember when I was on Lucky Louie and I was naked once, and so was Rick Shapiro. I was on a radio show in Cleveland. It was one of my worst experiences ever...One of them goes, 'Why are you naked on your show? I don't want to see that! Why isn't the chick naked? Why can't I see her titties?'...The premium people put on that shit..."
The tone of Louie -- short films done without an audience, as opposed to a multi-camera sitcom filmed in front of a live studio audience -- is the polar opposite of Lucky Louie. Was that intentional? "It wasn't a reaction at all in any way to Lucky Louie. This was its own idea. I've been making short films for years. Features. I love directing. And shooting on location in New York. I've kind of been able to do everything I want with this show."
For fans who have seen your earlier shorts, is that the same helicopter in the pilot that you used for your short stealing the ice cream from the kid? "It sure is. It's the same guy. We have this friend who has this cheap helicopter. He's been really good to us. I don't want to say his name because he's been so good to us....When we shot this HBO stuff a couple of years ago, when I did that helicopter thing, we did other helicopter shots..He said, 'I can't go anywhere near a building or a bridge.' I said OK, we'll get a long lens. And then he was hovering two feet above me. It was so good. I was very proud of Chelsea (Peretti), she got in there and he took off. She was fine with it."
At the premiere, FX's John Landgraf said: "When you say original programming, and you attribute it to Louis, you get really original programming." How important was it to you to do something completely original? I know some people early on wanted to compare Louie to Seinfeld.