Squirm-inducingly hilarious and as edgy as it gets, renowned stand-up comic Louis C.K.’s outside-the-box FX comedy ‘Louie’ has just begun its third season to continued critical acclaim. Following the misadventures of a divorced, middle-aged single father in New York City,’ Louie’ is a thoroughly unique sitcom from a truly original voice in contemporary comedy, and one of the funniest series on TV today. In a wide-ranging teleconference interview with journalists throughout North America, Louis talked candidly about his comedy, his show — of which he serves as writer, director and star — and what lies ahead for the new season, including a multi-episode storyline featuring guest star Jerry Seinfeld. Here are some highlights:
The craft of stand-up
I had been doing [stand-up] for about 20 years when I sort of figured it out. That’s just kind of how long it takes. Chris Rock taught me to always look up; you don’t look down at your feet. A lot of comedians want to look down at their feet but you break contact with the audience. So he told me just a really simple fact of the whole thing, which is just look at the back of the room. Don’t look at the front row; look at the back row.
Comedians make good actors
I love comedians. They’re my community. And also, I guess, because I know so many of them, I know the value of them. I know what they can do. Comedians work great as actors because they’re good under pressure. A lot of actors you have to sort of make them feel like everything’s going really well to get a good performance out of them. But if you have a comedian on the set, you can tell them, “Hey, you really are screwing this up,” and then they just get better. So they’re valuable that way.
Louis’ comedy philosophy
I think it’s great if you can is take people down a road that they’re really unsure of, and have something down that road happen that they like what they saw. There are definitely well-worn paths to laughter, and everybody knows where they are, and one way to do it is just to walk down those paths cheerfully and everybody laughs. But it’s really fun to go into territory where they’re not sure how to — that’s what I enjoy. I like when I’m watching something and I kind of feel like I’m in a wilderness. I don’t know where it’s headed, and then I get somewhere and I go, “Wow, that’s what he was doing.”
Dealing with fame
It’s like anything else in life that it brings a pretty steady ratio of good and bad, and I don’t know, probably bad to good about 60-40, something like that. Becoming more well-known presented some challenges, like I get recognized on the street a lot, and it’s kind of awkward to eat alone in a restaurant because everybody’s looking at me, and they know who I am — sometimes. But there are some times where nobody knows who I am. But it’s like anything else; I have to think about how to deal with it. So how do I cope with being recognized and being asked to take pictures and all of this kind of stuff that was new to me? I’m used to it now. It’s no big deal. It’s just part of the job.
Jerry is in the 10th, 11th and 12th episodes of this season, [and they’re] going to be a whole story of their own. It’s going to be basically a three-part story, and it’s kind of the biggest — it’s what we put the most effort into, and Jerry is in that. I don’t want to say anything about any of it because it’s got a lot of guest stars, and a lot happens. It’s a big turn for the character and for the — it’s a cool, fun story. I just don’t want to talk about it. But Jerry did a part in that, and what he did was very different than what you’re used to seeing Jerry do. Jerry turned in a really, really great performance. I was really happy.
LOUIE airs Thursdays on FX Canada