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writer/director/actor
July 6, 2012 6:09 AM   Subscribe

Louis C.K. on eating pressure and providing an alternative to The Man - "I ask him to think about what he really needs; when he tells me, I give him a little more. It buys me goodwill with this person; I feel good about what I'm paying them. I like to give people a little more than they want, and I like to ask people for a little less than they're willing to give."
It's all so goddamn interesting. It really is. I love knowing why I was able to sell out in one town, and why I wasn't in another town. I love knowing what goes into everything—the economics, the technical aspect, and how to create the ideas in the show. It's great. If you can have access to all of that, why the fuck would you not want to know? I just love learning. I think learning is how you live.
Why 'Louie' Is So Excellent—And Why It's Getting Better Faster Than Other Shows (Slate)

Older, Mellower, but Still Woody: "I do carry an iPhone because I want to have a phone. But more important, on the iPhone my assistant put a few hundred jazz records, and when I travel and practice the clarinet I used to take all this equipment with me. Now, I just have earphones and I can practice the clarinet effortlessly with this thing. I have never sent an email in my life. I never received an email. I have two buttons I can touch—the weather and the Huffington Post."

Interview with Patrick Wang of "In the Family" [1,2,3]
"It's amazing how many voices you will encounter trying to convince you to make a bad movie," says Wang. "They say take that wonderful and unique thing you have and turn it into garbage because the people love garbage and what's safer than garbage and we all live in garbage anyway." So amidst these pressures, you must defend original work, he says: "You need someone to say, 'Enough already.' I got tired of waiting for someone, so I said, 'Enough already.' "
(NYT/Ebert)
posted by kliuless (40 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
50$ tickets to see you live? How much AM I willing to pay! I had no idea I was willing to pay more, especially when I have to sit so far back that I end up watching you on a television screen.
posted by Napierzaza at 6:19 AM on July 6, 2012


The tickets for Louis C.K.'s tour are $45. Exactly $45.

There are fields in the order form for a Convenience Fee, a Delivery Fee, and an Order Fee. Those fields are set to $0.

This shouldn't be remarkable, but it is.
posted by helicomatic at 6:30 AM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


On radio promo bullshit: I said to him, “Let’s do none of it.”

And this is why everyone loves Louis CK.
posted by jaduncan at 6:38 AM on July 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Wait, I'm a little confused. How are the Woody Allen and Patrick Wang links related to Louis C.K.? Or each other?
posted by kmz at 6:39 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


creative process and control?
posted by kliuless at 6:41 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


They came all over my face with dollars.

Respect, CK, respect.
posted by unSane at 6:41 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not a post about Louis CK, it's a post about people who work in traditionally collaborative media but who feel a need to exert a much greater degree of personal control than usual over the final product.
posted by escabeche at 6:43 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wait, am I missing a theme here? I read the Woody Allen link because I love Woody Allen. I also like Louie CK although sometimes he can be a 'bit much' for me. Is it just that these guys are all in entertainment? Or eschewing technology in some way?
posted by bquarters at 6:45 AM on July 6, 2012


It's not a post about Louis CK, it's a post about people who work in traditionally collaborative media but who feel a need to exert a much greater degree of personal control than usual over the final product.

Oh, if that's the case then where is the obligatory Chappelle and ensuing freak-out discussion? Disclaimer: I also like Dave Chappelle.
posted by bquarters at 6:47 AM on July 6, 2012


Also if you RTFA C.K. talks about Woody Allen, working with him, their process commonalities, and etc.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:49 AM on July 6, 2012


"They say take that wonderful and unique thing you have and turn it into garbage"

Of course, the difficulty here is that 999 times out of 1000 what's actually happening is that an element of the work which the artist believes to be "wonderful and unique" is, in fact, failing, and someone is trying to get the artist to change it (or agree to let someone else change it) to make the piece something that makes sense to someone other than the artist.
posted by escabeche at 6:51 AM on July 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also, jeez, Woody, you've decided to allow yourself one tiny window into the Internet and it's The Huffington Post? If one of his assistants switched his one button to MetaFilter I'll bet he'd make even better movies.
posted by escabeche at 6:53 AM on July 6, 2012 [17 favorites]


I like to give people a little more than they want, and I like to ask people for a little less than they're willing to give.

That sounds great. If you interviewed his staff, would they say the same thing?
posted by Forktine at 7:01 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I like to give people a little more than they want, and I like to ask people for a little less than they're willing to give.

That sounds great. If you interviewed his staff, would they say the same thing?


Also from the article, right before that part:
When I negotiate with somebody who I’m working with on a crew, like if I hire a first A.D. or something, the way I work it in my head is, I tell them my economic realities—this is a low-budget show—and then I ask them to tell me how much they want. Say the guy says, “I want $500 an hour.” That’s not realistic; I’m just making it up. Then I’ll say, “Okay, I’ll give you $550.” You know what I mean?
I suspect his staff is probably willing to go to pretty good lengths for a guy who will counteroffer them up.
posted by Etrigan at 7:12 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


There's this thing where it bothers me that Patton Oswalt talks about how much he loves David Foster Wallace, given how dumb and cruel he can be. It doesn't help me that he approached DFW's work starting with the Kenyon speech, which I find unpleasantly saccharine, and that his interest in that piece as easy-peasy-cosmic revelation-squeezey seems intellectually lazy in a way that's infuriating. Shades of high school kids who repeat the old Vonnegut chestnut about being kind. I know this is petty of me, by the way, this whole you-don't-appreciate-him-like-I-do-bushwa, but it's how I feel.

And I can't help but think that Dave would fucking love Louis CK. That thing where he tells the young woman about the homeless man's death, and then chases after her? Goddamn.
posted by samofidelis at 7:28 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I suspect his staff is probably willing to go to pretty good lengths for a guy who will counteroffer them up.

Token example, but: I've negotiated salary with several people in the tech & marketing industries who did this. They all turned out to be excellent managers who enjoyed a great deal of subordinate loyalty in the form of people following them from one company to another. People who got things done, but quietly, without a lot of drama.

So, yeah, barring Louis being a jerk otherwise, this will probably work well for him.
posted by lodurr at 7:42 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't do a lot of pop culture but I'm getting more and more indication that I ought to be paying attention to Louis C. K. I don't often find comics who seem to me to have something really interesting to say, or who are doing something that's both actually challenging and not ultimately destructive in some way. Louis might be such a comic, I'm thinking.
posted by lodurr at 7:45 AM on July 6, 2012


Is "an audible" the same thing as in football? A play called out loud to the rest of the team? He uses it in his second answer.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:01 AM on July 6, 2012


Not to get too spoilery (or too offtopic), but did anyone else find last night's episode kinda rapey?
posted by togdon at 8:02 AM on July 6, 2012


No.
posted by bondcliff at 8:03 AM on July 6, 2012


If one of his assistants switched his one button to MetaFilter I'll bet he'd make even better lots fewer movies.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:07 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is "an audible" the same thing as in football?

Yeah, he means, "a last minute change of plans."
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:08 AM on July 6, 2012


escabeche: to make the piece something that makes sense to someone other than the artist.

You actually believe this is true 99.9% of the time? Are you just trolling or do you have an example?

Don't you think the point of the article and the experiment is that the success of Louis CK, maybe the Joe Rogan Experience, and other similar independent media is due to people being sickened by the content influenced by this presumption and desperately want more things that are free of it?
posted by hellslinger at 8:25 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also if you RTFA C.K. talks about Woody Allen, working with him, their process commonalities, and etc.

I only read the Woody Allen FA, mea culpa.
posted by bquarters at 8:41 AM on July 6, 2012


I started making enough money about two years ago on shows. I mean literally making enough. I reached a point where I felt like, “I don’t need to earn more than this doing stand-up comedy. It’s enough. That’s loads of money.”

GOD he's awesome. More people need to think like this.
posted by windbox at 8:47 AM on July 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Not to get too spoilery (or too offtopic), but did anyone else find last night's episode kinda rapey?

*SPOILERS*

I think that if you played the gender reversal game then, yeah, it's pretty rapey. Can you imagine how it would look if a man hit a woman in the head, hard enough to cause her to crack the passenger side window when her head subsequently struck it, and then proceeded to threaten to break her finger if he wasn't given oral sex? Not so funny is it? [LOL] These really aren't the kind of exercises I do when I try to find fairness in situations such as this. I'm just bustin' your chops.
posted by coolxcool=rad at 8:56 AM on July 6, 2012


There's this thing where it bothers me that Patton Oswalt talks about how much he loves David Foster Wallace, given how dumb and cruel he can be.

David Foster Wallace had his moments of ignorant dumbness and arrogant cruelty. There are moments in some of his writing that come across as so darkly mean that whenever I find a new one I usually have to put the piece down for a little while before finishing. To his credit, DFW seemed aware of these moments and probably hated them more than I do, but they're there.

Louis has them also but Louis is the first to remind us, again and again, what an idiot he is. He's astonishingly grounded and wise.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:01 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Rory -- I wouldn't argue with that in the least; it's just that Wallace and Louis CK seem really interested in turning the microscope on the ugly bits of humanity, themselves included. Oswalt, on the other hand, thinks it's okay for him to unload just the vilest bile against individual women because other individual women were cruel to him in the past. And I don't have much of a charitable streak, so I suspect that ostensible mistreatment may have been more like a failure to reciprocate his affections.

Anyway, I didn't mean to lead the thread off topic, so please feel free to mail me if you wish.
posted by samofidelis at 9:25 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


An audible is a play called at the line of scrimmage which supersedes the play called in the huddle. It allows the quarterback, once he has surveyed the field of play, to take into account emergent information such as shifts in the defensive formation or unanticipated time-management motives.

As the audible is called quickly in reaction to real-time circumstances outside of the confines of a meeting space, in corporate parlance it has come to represent a sharp, strategic adaptation made by few stakeholders in a short time frame.

Next time on Football Metaphors for Team Management: Sometimes It's Necessary to Rough the Kicker. Carry on.
posted by milquetoast at 9:40 AM on July 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


David Foster Wallace had his moments of ignorant dumbness and arrogant cruelty.

So have we all.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:47 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Even if LCK wasn't hilarious and such a solid-seeming guy, his effort to rip down the rotten tree called Ticketmaster from the roots would be worth the price of admission.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:00 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've dealt with Louis CK a few times for professional things in the past. He's always been kind and wonderful.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:23 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Furthermore, Louis is one of the few guys that you don't hear much shit about from other comedians. Comedians are a super gossipy lot in green rooms and other semi-private or private situations.

I can think of tons and tons of comedians who are complete asshole nightmares to deal with - I can only think of a handful that are always fantastic and Louis CK is one of the fantastic ones. There's a reason he's got a good rep among comedians. It's because he's not an asshole to anyone including dipshit personal assistant types like me.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:28 AM on July 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


his effort to rip down the rotten tree called Ticketmaster from the roots would be worth the price of admission.

You know, I don't think that's what he's doing. I mean, maybe he's just showing the "nice guy" public face when he says he doesn't have a problem with ticketmaster, but I get the impression from his interviews that it's really not about taking anyone down. It's about filling a gap that he needed filled for himself. Namely, he wanted to keep his ticket prices down, and prevent scalping, and he found that he had a good idea for doing that and that it didn't involve ticketmaster. In a lot of ways, I find that way more interesting, because often enough it's not about saying "I want to replace [company x] in the market," or "I want to make eliminating [problem x] my mission." sometimes it's just about saying "nothing exists to allow me to do this the way I want to do it, so I'm going to do it myself and if it fails then that's the risk I take." it's got to be an intensely terrifying prospect to set out on, and I respect the hell out of him for doing it.

Similarly, selling his show himself was about wanting the show available to comedy audiences (instead of showtime) and wanting to be able to curse and not have the show interrupted by commercials (rather than comedy central.) he made a list of what was most important to him, and when he saw that existing structures didn't support those values he did it himself. That's what's so intimidating to me about what Louis does. The guy is clearly brilliant enough to be able to manage all of these difficult aspects of a business that is notorious for its difficulty to both break into and stay afloat in when you don't play the game. How many other people who are also incredibly funny can really do that? It's mind boggling.
posted by shmegegge at 10:30 AM on July 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


That's what's so intimidating to me about what Louis does.

This bears repeating and being inserted into other relevant contexts: It implies (AFAIAC, and I think very correctly) that decency is threatening to the prevailing order of things. That's simultaneously hilarious, exhilarating, and depressing to me.
posted by lodurr at 1:15 PM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


... and independence. decency and independence.

And a fanatical devotion to the pope.
posted by lodurr at 1:16 PM on July 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


My first "real" job I asked for $13 an hour and the offer came back at $17. I can't tell you how absolutely awesome that felt, and how much better it made an otherwise fairly unremarkable job.
posted by maxwelton at 1:22 PM on July 6, 2012


I think Louie is just about the best show on television right now. Some people here are saying that he dwells on the dark side of things, but I see this differently. I think his character is uniquely moral and decent where other high quality shows think it is cool to write characters who do terrible things but you sympathize with them anyway. Most of the highly praised cable shows in recent years have involved "flawed" characters where flawed is best understood as seriously fucked up. The Sopranos: killers and psychopaths. Dexter: serial killer. Breaking Bad: drug dealer, killer, morals totally compromised. Weeds: drug dealers who do terrible things almost for comic effect. The Wire: I thought one of the main points of this show was to show how deeply similar and corrupted the politicians, police and criminals are.

I watch and truly love most of these shows, but I don't identify with these people. I'm not living my life like this. I don't kill people. I don't make or sell drugs. I'm just a person mostly trying to do the right thing and have a good life. And here is Louie who (SPOILERS) follows some frat creep home to tell his parents he is a bully in an attempt to do the right thing, who doesn't talk shit about his ex wife to his kids, who prioritizes the 3 days a week he spends with his 2 daughters over the oodles of cash he could make on a longer comedy tour -- there are examples in every single episode of his character choosing the harder path in the hopes of making good. But it's not sappy inspirational programming with easy answers, either. I really, really respect this guy, I think he is completely fascinating, and I hope his point of view is around for a long time to come. I will subscribe to any and all of his newsletters, forevermore.

Thanks for the post!
posted by onlyconnect at 3:04 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


did anyone else find last night's episode kinda rapey?

Spoilers here, of course.

I sure did (and there's a bit about it on Slate.), although until the point where she physically assaulted him, I pretty much thought he was in the wrong (the counterpoint, also on Slate). It's hard for me to tell how seriously we're supposed to take it, though; I haven't watched the entire episode (I don't get cable, so I'm currently catching S2 on Netflix), but although there's a lot realistic about the situations on the show, there's often a totally absurd twist at some point, and maybe this was that.

I'd think that a hit hard enough to break a car window like that would also damage his face, if we're to take it literally. So maybe it's a little symbolic, of her simply refusing to listen to his double standard.

For anyone who cares to see the scene in question, Louis CK's uploaded it to YouTube here.
posted by emumimic at 3:24 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd think that a hit hard enough to break a car window like that would also damage his face

Tempered glass, which most car windows are made out of, doesn't require much force to shatter it. It DOES require being struck with something which will concentrate the force into a very small spot. This is why a lot of those "escape your automobile" devices which have blades to cut through seatbelts also have a hammer face which is conical.

What wasn't very realistic about that particular window breakage is that, when tempered glass breaks, it basically explodes into a zillion tiny rounded shards that immediately fall apart. I know this because I work in an auto glass supply warehouse, and we were clearing out old stock that was never going to sell, and part of the process of throwing it away is you have to break it. And all it took was a very light tap of a hammer on the edge of the glass and it would do this really spectacular shattering thing. The glass was in cardboard sleeves, and even though I was tapping downward on the edge, the glass bits would fly up and out and everywhere.

That particular window looked like an odd combination of tempered glass with some kind of safety mechanism attached, like a sheet of clear sticker film or something to keep the glass from actually flying apart. I also wouldn't be surprised if it was some kind of specially made thinner-than-normal tempered glass, so it would shatter like that without damaging Louis' head. Breaking out a window glass by hitting it on the face like that takes a LOT more force, or at least not a lot of force all gathered into a point (like on those conical hammers) which turns into a lot of force.

Maybe the metaphor of the scene is that Louis is being a bit cone-headed at that point in time? ;)

(Windshields don't do that tempered shattering thing because, well, they aren't tempered glass. They're non-tempered glass, two layers of it, held together with a layer of plastic lamination. This is how you can have a crack in your windshield and it doesn't fall apart, and is why windshields in accidents don't just explode or turn into the kind of sharp "cut you like a knife" pieces like the glass you might break in your kitchen sink.)
posted by hippybear at 7:16 PM on July 6, 2012


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