Hi I'm Louis C.K. and this is a thing
Hello. I have zero idea what is about to happen. I'll answer as many questions as I can. I'm sure I don't have to mention that if you go to http://www.louisck.com you can buy my latest standup special "Louis C.K. Live at the Beacon Theater for 5 dollars via paypal. You don't have to join paypal. The movie is DRM free and is available worldwide. It's all new material that has not been in a special or on my show and will never be performed again and it's not available anywhere else. I'm sure I don't need to mention any of that so I won't bother. Oops. Hi.
From watching your show and seeing some interviews, I've noticed that you're self-taught and hands-on in many facets of production (cameras, self-editing, etc.)
In general, it seems you like to learn. What are you currently learning, or what else would you like to master in the future?
Jesus, what a good question. Oh my god. Someone needs to give you a dollar for that.
Okay. I do love to learn. It's all I feel like I'm ever doing. It's really the best you can do in life, is learn. You can't really do anything right. You can just learn. Right now, I am learning to be a dad. I am learning how to take better care of myself and my kids. I"m learning how to communicate with people in my life.
Professionally, I'm learning right this minute, a HUGE amount with this web experiment. this live at the beacon thing (available at httlp://www.louisck.com for 5 bucks) is like that thing in the movie "Twisiter" where they send a bunch of little data collecting balls up into a tornado and just download the lovely results. The whole things has been like that. From the moment it went online and i saw the result of every decision i made. the last question the web guys asked me before we posted was if I wanted the mail list button defaulted to "opt in" or "opt out" and i said start it at opt out. It's such a tiny thing but I keep hearing about it from people. So so interesting to watch this grow.
Just confirming that this is indeed the real IAmA, unlike some of the fake ones that have sprung up. The admins messaged us his name ahead of time.
um... i confirm that it's really me? Does that work? only the real person can say the word confirm, right?
I worked as a PA at a show of yours in Toronto. You were doing two shows that night and during the break a girl came to the stage door and when you came out she said (in front of half a dozen other fans, and myself who was holding the door for you) that she lived nearby and wanted to have sex with you before the next show started. You laughed and said thank you, and when you came back inside you told me this never happens.
That was a few years ago. Does it happen a lot now?
haha. i remember that. are you female? Because the funny thing is I remember there was a young working woman standing there with a walkie on her hip as this kind of desperate (not uncute) young girls is openly offering to fuck me. I remember the juxtoposition. When you're a dad, you see every grown female, especially young ones, as possible models for your daughter's future. I remember thinking that I would never let this working woman down by fucking this chick between shows. Plus I don't do that.
anyway maybe it wasn't you. are you sure you're not the woman who offered to blow me?
How has it changed?
I don't really hang around after shows. I bolt.
I think the idea of fucking someone who just watched you perform is... it's just not me. I mean, keep trying ladies. You never know! Maybe next time there won't be a well adjusted and bright young woman acting as my concious and ruining what may have been a terrificly depressing blowjob!
How on earth were you able to gain the incredible amount of authorial control that you have over Louie? Have you had to battle with FX over any particular jokes/concepts/creative choices?
I dont know if it's okay that I'm starting before 1230 but here goes. I got it by demanding it and refusing to do the show any other way at all and by having the leverage that I was completely willing to walk away without doing the show and by agreeing to an extremely low budget so that they could offset the risk of giving me this freedom becuase they are risking less money.
I have had conversations with them about very few moments in the show but zero battles.
Do you really edit the whole thing yourself? I heard Joe Rogan talk about your process on his podcast and wasn't sure his description was accurate. He basically stated you just sit there on a macbook and do the whole show start to finish? If this is the case, good job!
yeah I do the whole thign. On season 1 I had an editor and we shared it about half. But season two i edited without any help. It was fucking hard. and yes, i sit at the macbook and just put it together from start frame to finish.
That's insane. You're a talented motherfucker.
HAS THE $5 EXPERIMENT WORKED?
it's worked well so far. it's far from over. so i don't know everything yet. I haven't even started promoting it. I'm doing a lot of press in the next few weeks. so we'll see what impact that has if any.
before i log out im' just copying this answer here because it came from an itheresting discussion. goodbye and god(doesn't exist) speed.
oh one other thing before i go. i did read what that uploader wrote and i will say it was funny to me because he seems or is acting like he's in terrible pain when he does it. he's having a crisis of concious and just... oh man i'm so sorry but I have to do this!" but the crazy thing is, if it's at all bothering him, why is he doing it?? he's sharing it, not taking it. Well, if you look at the page, it's because he's promoting his own stuff and using my project as an attractor. that's happening on youtube also. So i'm learning that SOME pirating is caused by people piggybacking their own product on another. interesting.
I know you might be reluctant to share this information, but how has the response to the Beacon Theater experiment been?
1) Has it sold as well as you hoped / Have you covered all of your expenses?
2) Have you seen the conversation at The Pirate Bay (link to imgur, so as not to promote more piracy) about torrenting your performance? What are your thoughts?
3) What have you learned from this experience? What will you take away from it?
4) Would you consider trying something like this again?
Thanks for taking the internet community seriously.
Im not going to say yet what it's making. It's so damn interesting though to be doing this. I feel like i have a front seat to a really cool... thing. I don't even know what it is.
I think it's really interesting that i brought the price so close to stealing and made the movie so easy to get and made it so clear that it's a human offering it that it sparked a debate about pirating.
to steal from someone and not feel bad, you either have to be a sociopath or view the act differently. One way is to remove "Someone" from the equation. You're not stealing from a person. Big companies do a lot to help people view them as less than human. I heard a speach by Noam Chomsky who said that corporations are like super humans. They cannot be hurt like a human can and they never die. They are not succeptible to scrutiny or accountability. this makes them more profitable. If companies want to enjoy these benifits to some degree they have to live with what else comes with being not human. you miss out on compassion, forgiveness, comraderie, empathy, trust all kinds of shit.
The other thing is I can only do this because I'm an individual and I can decide what my risks are that are acceptable and i can make my own goals for what is success. So I forwent (is that a word?) a lot of conventional routes and tried this. i am risking and there may be a celing to the success, but for me it's okay. i feel like as of this year, I make enough money as a standup my goal now is to bring the cost down for those who buy my stuff. i really mean that. It makes me much happier. Also I did see that there might be a tremendous upswing to this. I was really excited about this material and I though it would be really cool to just put it out there myself witha little electronic hat that only takes fives and just see what happens.
I don't know yet if I'll do it again. It hasn't run it's course. But I AM SO HAPPY I DID IT. Just so fun and it has been massively gratifying to share the positive of it with so many people who have written and expressed their feelings.
The day before I posted the video I went on pirate bay, which i had never visited and i read the guy's thign where he posts letters from media co's and artists and then his nasty and kind of hilariously chest beating responses. I thought "jesus. This guy is a piece of work. I would NEVER tangle assholes with this guy." and then I thought about it. What do I say to these people? To hope they don't make me regret putting it out there naked like this? So I wrote that little "to torrent" letter, just being a guy saying "dude. please?" it's the best I can do. If it doesn't work, well.
so anyway, seeing the people who have fought about it on pirate bay and that there is a crisis of concious and everythign that's been written and to see that i've gotten paid. Just so interesting and hope-giving an dcool .
Do you have plans to release a physical DVD/Blu-ray copy? Many of us would be willing to pay a little bit extra to have it on our shelves.
i think i will do that, yes. but it will be totally self produced. For now, We are going to post a "cover" and DVD label that you can download and print. this will be available to everyone who has bought it, not just new buyers. I might do a dvd and an audio cd down the line.
My first ever exposure to Louis C.K. was a friend's torrented copy of Chewed Up. I quickly followed up watching it with scouring youtube for clips.
I always check Louis' website for tour destinations before I travel anywhere.
I dropped $5 on the Beacon performance with zero hesitation.
I'm so very conflicted by the act of torrenting. It's taking control away from the legitimate right holder, but I genuinely believe the net effect can be positive. This isn't always the case though. If I had a crappy product or work of art, I'd be really worried about having it pirated.
it's an interesting question. I don't have a formed opinion. for me it's just something im trying to navigate in the present.
I'd be really curious to hear your final consensus on torrenting after this whole affair, especially because you have such a strong conflict of interest.
oh one other thing before i go. i did read what that uploader wrote and i will say it was funny to me because he seems or is acting like he's in terrible pain when he does it. he's having a crisis of concious and just... oh man i'm so sorry but I have to do this!" but the crazy thing is, if it's at all bothering him, why is he doing it?? he's sharing it, not taking it.
Well, if you look at the page, it's because he's promoting his own stuff and using my project as an attractor. that's happening on youtube also. So i'm learning that SOME pirating is caused by people piggybacking their own product on another. interesting.
Is the content of your comedy purely for the stage or do you continue to express the same insights and opinions in social settings as well? If so, how does it go down with your friends and also the people who don't know you?
i don't talk in person the way i do on stage because it's a performance and it's disstilled and the language is more deliberate. I make the same kind of jokes with my friends and family for sure and i have safe relationships where I can float a crazy or wrong idea and find out where it goes just as a life excercize and some times those things end up on stage.
You started doing a joke about a baby being born with a big dick, but you got side tracked. Where were you going with that?
that was a whole bit that i cut, but i kept the chinese baby part. it was the funnest part anyway. then later when i say during the airplane bit "i'm flying first class because i talk about babies with big dicks" it kind of makes no sense.
The music in "Louis" is amazing. Are you a big jazz fan? Any current favorites?
producing the music is maybe my favorite part of the whole thing. I go into a studio with Matt Kelmer and a handful of great musicians that work under the title "Sweet pro" and we just fuck around. I get to cheat and make music without the training. I ask them for different moods and sounds and they try it. or we'll say let's go with cello and piano for a while and try a few things there. The cello player, wish i fucking knew his name, is tremendous. he creates whole pieces by himself and I use them ALL.
What would you be doing if you weren't a professional comedian?
the last jobs i had were fixing cars and covering football games for a local access tv station. as in driving the mobile van to the field, setting up 3 cameras, teaching depressed grownups and interns how to use them and directing the game from the van and then wanting to kill myself.
First a comment. I’ve heard (mostly from Ron Bennington and ‘lil Jimmy Norton) that you make almost no money off Louie so that you can have complete creative control. That rules, thanks!
1) You wrote at the end of ‘Duckling’ that the story was inspired by your daughter. Can you expand on that?
2) How uncomfortable was it to do the scene with Dane Cook? Had you guys `made up’ before filming, or not?
Thanks for making me laugh and cry. RIP Patrice. “Wave to me Louie!”
My daughter said "you should do a episode where you go to afghanistan and bring a duckling to keep you company." so i did it.
It was fun working with Dane. we hadn't made up or even really fought. It was kind of intense. he's basically a good guy and we had a lot of work to do that day. So it was just work and fun and weird. Patrice. Big loss. Big man.
My daughter said "you should do a episode where you go to afghanistan and bring a duckling to keep you company." so i did it.
That's so adorable!
The afghanistan episode was beautifully done are there any plans for more like that one? any chance your daughter could be a full time writer on Louie?
well she has an imdb credit. so we'll see. I feel like there is a bar set that I have to do one episode at least per season that is way above the level of the others in terms of production and scope. So we'll see. I haven't written season 3 yet. which is really bad. this shit I'm doing right now, by the way, is confusing as fucking a three cunted cow in the dark.
Also, how difficult was it to arrange that duckling episode? Was it really filmed in Afghanistan?
it as filmed in Santa Clarita California which is not technically in afghanistan. it was really hard. IT took months to pull it together. we shot it two weeks after we wrapped the rest of the season. it was brutal and stressful and scary and unforgettably fun.
yeah I don't know. Ive seen that happen and it doesn't make me really... so happy all the time. But that's them. I did those bits as a kind of analysis of the words and what feelings they bring and how they're used. I was playing with some fire. It was interesting. I think that the discussion of the word faggot that I did in the poker scene was a bit of an evolution. I pretty much never say faggot on stage anymore. It's just worked it's way into and out of my act. It's not interesting anyomre and i"m not goign to say it just to say it. Nigger... still pretty interesting.
You wrote and directed Pootie Tang, as I'm sure you are aware. Do you plan on Writing and Directing anymore more films in the near future? Because that would be fantastic.
I would love yo make more movies. That is a FUCKING HARD JOB though, dude. Just to get it made. You can't even do anything else while you're tyring to get it made and then you probably won't. It's heart breaking. Then it takes a good 2 years to make and finish the movie then it maybe won't come out and then maybe it gets changed and worse than the movie not getting made, you made it, then it got changed into something you hated and then came out.
yeah. that's hard. if i can get a deal to make a movie the way I do my show, i'll do it. Otherwise... no.
I have a dream, though. You want to hear it? Yeah? Well, okay.
I thought about what if I make another special like this one and i put it up for 5 bucks again and it goes gangbusters. It makes, say, 8 million bucks. I don't know that that is even possible. I'm trying to find out what the potential is with this one.
But so if I make 8 million, which all goes through paypal right into Pig Newton, my company that makes my show and made the special. Well I would leave the money in there and make a fucking movie.
This special, if it explosed, cause really it's only been up for 2 days, more like a pre-sale. If it really tears an asshole into the money monster who then shits dollars into my mouth (oh my god what's wrong with me) then I will use that money to buy a home and get some security which i NEVER have had in my life and have certainly not gotten from my low budget show.
So it would have to be special number 2 that would keep the money in the company and make a movie. I have always put cash back into the work. The profit I made on last years season of louie went to buying a new RED EPIC camera which now sits here next to me and a modest but impressive collection of lenses from germany and england, which now belong to Pig Newton and will be used to shoot said 8 million dollar movie.
I wrote way too much here that I should keep to myself but fuck it i'm pressing send.
- Are parts of Louie ever improvised? If so, can you give us an example?
Thanks for doing this.
the poker scene in season 1 was very written but then i let the guys go off and fuck around. i used some of that. I don't generally let people improvise though. That works for shows where you have two cameras that are just sort of following the action. i shoot my show like a movie and it would be all fucked up if folks just said things.
Did you really need to number that question?
I had another question that I deleted, but then I forgot to delete the number off the first one.
You're an asshole.
First of all, thank you for the hours of fantastic entertainment. My question: Please relate to us your most horrible fan story. One that was downright creepy or even illegal. Tell us how that made you feel, and whether it caused you to regret your celebrity.
i was on the subway once and this old lady came up to me. she pointed right in my face and screamed and diarreah started just gushing out of her onto the floor. I'm not sure she was a fan but it was pretty awful. Also it never happened. But it will...
Hey Louis CK! I bought your latest special!
What is a topic that you as a comedian would never touch?
there ain't one.
If you were starting comedy as a young stand-up today what would you do differently?
How much more or less freedom do you have with your writing now that you are famous compared to when you were an unknown?
How many black t-shirts do you own?
some things don't change. You need to get on stage as much as possible and vary your stage experience as much as possible and not quit and take care of yourself and always question why you say the things you say and enjoy yourself. The context of history and technology just is what it is.
I still have the same freedom because i don't care, when I'm writing, that I"m famous. It doesn't help or hurt. I have oh my god so many black tshirts.
the budget for the first season was cough dollars and the second season was sneeze and yes there will be a third season.
What's your opinion of Dave Chappelle?
hilarious. he has a bit about a baby selling crack that drove me crazy when i heard it.
What effect did your ex-wife have on your comedy?
If you couldn't be a comedian, what career would you choose?
What's the longest you've spent writing/refining a joke?
What joke from your career are you most proud of?
If you could legally kill a celebrity, who would it be? Or, if you could end a celebrities career, who would you pick?
You are often quoted on this website on the Atheism page, how do you feel about that?
Thank you for doing this AMA. I bought your new special last night and it was fantastic.
I really liked the duck vaginas joke. I really liked the being white is great stuff.
If I could legally kill a celebrity it would be your mother. FIrst I would invest a lot of time and money getting her a marketable entertainment skill and promoting her till she's famous, then I would hit her in the face with a pan that kills people when you hit them with it. SOrry. You asked. It just happened to be the truth.
I'm not an athiest. I think god is there and that he is watching and he made us. I just don't give a shit.
I'm not an atheist.
This will come as a surprise to many.
well i don't "Believe in god" i have zero idea how everythign got here. I would personally say that, if i had to make a list of possibles, god would be pretty far down. But if I were to make a list of people that know what the fuck they are talking about, I would be REALLY far down. aids.
I relate so much to the character you play in Louie - how much of that is you?
well it's me with poor judgement and worse luck.
You've been listed as a video editor on most of your projects. What program do you use to edit and why have you decided to take on this role?
Thanks for all the entertainment.
I love editing. I have used Avid in the past but I exclusively use Final Cut Pro now, though I am concerned about the future... You always have to put three dots after the future...
editing is part of the process. it's how you form everything. In some ways not editing yourself would be like a sculptor dropping some clay off at a guys house and saying "Make a naked lady chasing a bull. and do it nice."
What is your favorite memory from writing on conan?
Also, what was your least favorite memory?
Oh my god. You just ruined my life.
Probably pissing my pants at school, everyone pointing at the giant stain in the front of my pants and laughing. I mean EVERYONE. Jimmy Carter, Liza Minelli, Butros Butros Gali, the pope before he was pope AND the kids he fucked. they all laughed at me. then I had to walk home in the cold with pissed on pants and legs and I had red rashes all over the front of my lower body when I got home. The bath I took, though? mmmmm. that was good. I pissed in there too.
Also, an average memory?
i bought a stuffed elephant and then took the subway home.
In your moving tribute to George Carlin, you credit him with inspiring you to periodically start from scratch with your material. do you believe that that would benefit most comics? Would a Mitch Hedberg or a Steven Wright -- that is, a comic that does tight one-liners -- be able to do the same? Do you think it would benefit a new comic to start such a practice early?
everybody is different. some comedy is more "musical" like steven. he is a pillar of comedy to me. He invented a whole form and all his jokes are poems. so it's different. I wanted to do it like george. now i do it like me.
Love your stuff Louie...I've been a longtime fan!
Many of your routines push the envelope. What is the craziest reaction someone has had to one of your more over the top jokes?
hmmm. craziest reaction. i can't think of one! Such a good questin and I'm blowing it. sorry.
We fucking love you in Mexico, will you ever come over and do a show here? I promise it will fucking sell.
i would love to do a show there and go see my abuelita. i wish i could do a show in spanish. I can't pull it off. But i have had offers to go and do a show there in english. i will try to do it next year.
Who were your biggest comedic influences growing up and why?
bill cosby george carlin steve martin. The rest is a long answer. they made me want to be a comedian.
I saw Talking Funny and I really enjoyed that talk show. I think it's something a lot of people here will be interested in.
My questions are about things mentioned in this show, so here goes:
- Ricky Gervais said that in comedy, you are supposed to be the underdog, and Jerry retorted saying that "You're the only one in the room talking. Obviously you're better than them!" Chris Rock also seemed to be on Ricky's side. How do you feel about this? What's your stance? How does that play into your relationship with the audience?
- Some people think that Ricky Gervais was being too academic about comedy, while I think he just had a hard time correctly expressing his feelings. Do you think he was just being academic? Do you think his background have an impact on the way he sees comedy?
- Will there be another Talking Funny?
I think that with The Office, Ricky created somethign that the world will never forget. It was so human. It was somethign that would have made Dickens beat his ugly wife in anger.
I love Ricky.
i don't know about "Supposed to" I think there's a million ways to do things. there was a pitcher for the Yankees once named Orlando Hernandez or "el Duque" he was a cuban exile. A thing they said about him was he was hard to hit cause he had so many arm angles and release points. a hitter studies a pitcher and watches for the ball so he can time it, but with el duque, you don't even know where the fucker is coming from. Nine o clock? Eleven? And does he let go of it up top or out front? Impossible. I sometimes think of comedy in those terms.
What is your favorite stand up performance of all time?
Richard Pryor live in concert. George Carlin (the one at the beacon that he did where he opened with an abortion joke) eddie murphy delirious. Bill Cosby HImself.
Hi Louis, wanted to say thanks for making the world a funnier place. Been following your comedy for damn near 10 years now.
I was wondering if you have any thoughts about your distant future as a comedian/person. Do you think you'll be on stage til the day you die (a la Carlin), or have you imagined other paths for yourself? Best case scenario for the trajectory of your career? Worst-case?
Thanks for taking time to chat with us!
well I hope I'm on stage for the rest of my life ala george burns instead of carlin. but yeah I'll never stop doing standup. Even if it's in little clubs . the rest of it, I'll take what I can get.
just so you all know, I'm getting a "status 504 error code with some of these answers. some of them say 'Submitting" for a long time. So i dont' know...
what is your weirdest sexual fantasy
licking your mom on the back of her head. Like all her hair and shit on my tongue. Oh man. I just bummed myself out so badly.
What is the most aggressive a fan has gotten after a show? Do you get many complaints after your shows? Also what percentage of your time do you spend doing stand-up and what percentage do you go on tv, movies etc? Who is your favourite modern day comedian? Do you have a joke ready when people on the street ask you to say something funny? Can you write something funny? JK Cheers, I love you. (are you planning any trips to New Zealand?)
I have been told that people walked out of my show in a huff or somber disgust. but I never witnessed it much or had anyone come up to me. I get emails sometimes from people offended by stuff. an interesting pattern is that when I did the video about the catholic church fucking boys I got a lot of christians writing me angry emails. they all woudl follow the same pattern. "how can you say such things about the lord" and then "You are a fucking sick disgusting piece of shit" and then "If i ever see you in person I'm goign to bash your fucking scull in" and then something else violet that is like a weird physical threat that I never heard before. So... there's that.
As a brit there's always been a bit of a culture gap between british and US comedy. What do you think of british comedy as opposed to US and which do you prefer?
It's been a while since I've seen any british standup. the difference as i've seen it in the past, is so intangible. It's really hard to describe. there's just a different set of cues, of moods and tones that are farmiliar to people in different countries.
One thing I have noticed, though is that some standups in other countries are influenced by what venues they are used to playing. Festivals are big over there. and galas, that kind of thing. So some times they get kind of loud. That's a generalization. because then theres guys like Dan Kitson, who just puts his soul out there. Goddamn that guys' funny. hey thanks for reminding me. I have to put him on my show this year.
Has any black person ever took offence to your use of the word ''nigger''?
not that I have been told or seen but a whole lot of white people get mad.
It seems like the rise of your success coincides with the deterioration of your private life. Do you fear that a relationship would jinx your career at this point?
I don't know how to break this to you but "jinx" isn't a real thing. You don't owe that kid a coke. You'll be fine.
Hey Louie, I love your show and all your comedy. I remember this time last year I was sitting at home playing a random snowboarding video game and listening to youtube clips of your comedy Every single day of xmas break. Thanks for all the laughs man.
Question: How do you view your relationship with the audience? You see them almost more than you see your friends or family. Are they like coworkers to you or short-term friends or what?
I'm really grateful that they come to the show and I want to far, far exceed their expectation of a good time.
when I'm on stage though, im just doing my thing. and they are there and we're together. It's fun.
folks. I have to go now. I hope I did this right. I have no idea. I have to go pick my kids up at school.
I really want to thank you all for the interest. I heard from lots of people that Reddit brought a lot of people to my web special thing so thanks a lot. Please continue to tell your friends to come and buy the show. If it works, I will continue to release material in this way. Like I said the jury is out on whether this model works. So far so good. Have a great holliday everyone. I truly wish you all the very best and hope you survive the very worst. regards,
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