Louis C.K. is a big softie. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, C.K. opened up about his love affair with New York City — he talked about his experiences starting out as a rookie stand-up comedian, not getting paid enough for his work, his 1993 rejection from Saturday Night Live, and what it's like running his show now.
The whole thing is a great read, since deep down, Louie is such a sentimental, observant guy — that's part of what makes him a great comedian. And it's interesting to see how New York has unfolded before him as he's grown in his career. If nothing else, his grumpy old man ode to the city is a reminder for aspiring creatives that it's hard out there — and C.K., like everyone else, is just doing his best. "I didn't start doing really well until I was about 42 years old; I'm 47 now, so I got 42 years against five good ones," he told The Hollywood Reporter. That's a long time, yo. Hang in there, millennials.
Here's a few great quotes from his letter:
On making literally zero dollars:
"The year that SNL passed on me was the same year almost every comedy club in New York closed, and it was the one time where I really thought, 'I'm probably going to have to quit.' The early 1990s, they were ugly. The Cellar and the Strip were really the only clubs that survived that time, and they were empty. For almost five years of my life, I was starving. I'd do a club, and the owner wouldn't pay me. I'd say, "Where's the money?" and he'd say, "I'm just not paying you." That's how little leverage comedians had then. It was really, really hard."
On having no regrets:
"You, know, I'm so glad I didn't get cast on SNL. I'm way better off because I host it now. That's a million times cooler and more fun because to be a castmember there or a featured player or writer is a perilous, difficult, grueling office job — like the worst kind of office job, a 12-hour-a-day job with no end in sight. As a host, you have dinner with the cast and you hang out with Lorne. You get the best of that guy, and he's a great New York institution. As a host, you get to just sit next to him and watch him do a thing that very few people do anymore. Spending a week there is one of my favorite things I get to do."
On making the transition to the big screen:
"I would like to try making a movie. I'll probably do one next year. [...] And I'd like to be able to shoot on the subway in New York City without the hassle that we have with the MTA [on Louie]. I watch movies where there are chases on the subway, and I'm like, "How the f— did you people get that kind of access?"
On admitting that plays are kinda dumb:
"The first minute of any play feels really stupid — they're pretending the audience isn't there, and they're having this loud dialogue, and you're like, "What the f— are these people doing?" — but it's so vulnerable. It's such an effort, and it's such a generous thing to do, and so I always get all choked up."
On raising his kids right and not spoiling them with the fruits of his labor:
"My 13-year-old daughter leaves the house at 7:15 every morning and takes a smelly city bus to school way uptown. It's like 8 degrees out, and it's dark and she's got this morning face and I send her out there to take a bus. Meanwhile, my driver is sitting in a toasty Mercedes that's going to take me to work once both kids are gone. I could send her in the Mercedes and then have it come back to get me, but I can't have my kid doing that. I can't do that to her. Me? I earned that f—ing Mercedes. You better f—ing believe it."