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Louis Székely (; born September 12, 1967), known professionally as Louis C.K. (), is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and filmmaker. C.K. won three
Peabody Awards The George Foster Peabody Awards (or simply Peabody Awards or the Peabodys) program, named for the American businessman and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, George Peabody, honor the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in ...
and has received six
Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Awards are bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), also colloquially known as the Television Academy, is a professional honorary organization dedicated to th ...
s, as well as numerous awards for ''
The Chris Rock Show ''The Chris Rock Show'' was a weekly, Friday night, late-night talk show A late-night talk show is a genre of talk show popular in the United States, where the format originated. It is generally structured around humorous monologues about the ...
'', '' Louie'', and his stand-up specials ''
Live at the Beacon Theater ''Live at the Beacon Theater'' is the fourth full-length comedy special/concert film by comedian Louis C.K.. The special takes place at the Beacon Theatre (New York City), Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, New York (state), New York. In contrast to his ...
'' (2011) and ''
Oh My God Oh My God, O My God, Oh My God! or Ohmigod may refer to: * the first words of the Act of Contrition, a Christian prayer * a common phrase frequently abbreviated as "OMG", often used in SMS language#SMS dictionaries, SMS messages and Internet commun ...
'' (2013). He has won the
Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album The Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album is presented by the The Recording Academy, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement in comedy." The award was awarded yearly from 1959 to 1993 and t ...
twice. In 2015, ''
Rolling Stone ''Rolling Stone'' is an American monthly magazine that focuses on music, politics, and popular culture. It was founded in San Francisco, California San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish ...
'' ranked C.K.'s stand-up special ''
Shameless Shameless may refer to: Television and cinema * Shameless (British TV series), ''Shameless'' (British TV series), a UK television series that ran from 2004 to 2013 * Shameless (American TV series), ''Shameless'' (American TV series), a U.S. telev ...
'' number three on their "Divine Comedy: 25 Best Stand-Up Specials and Movies of All Time" list and ranked him fourth on its 2017 list of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time. C.K. began his career in the 1990s writing for comedians including
David Letterman David Michael Letterman (born April 12, 1947) is an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He hosted late night television talk shows for 33 years, beginning with the February 1, 1982, debut of ''Late Night with David Letterma ...

David Letterman
,
Conan O'Brien Conan Christopher O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, podcaster, and producer. He is best known for having hosted late-night talk shows for almost 28 years, beginning with ''Late Night with Conan O' ...

Conan O'Brien
,
Dana Carvey Dana Thomas Carvey (born June 2, 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, impressionist, screenwriter and producer. He is best known for his seven seasons as a cast member on ''Saturday Night Live'' from 1986 to 1993, which earned him five ...
,
Chris Rock Christopher Julius Rock (born February 7, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance and narration, narrative craft whereby a comedian Communication, communicates to a live audience, Fourt ...
, and ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
''. He was also directing surreal short films and directed two features—'' Tomorrow Night'' (1998) and ''
Pootie Tang ''Pootie Tang'' is a 2001 American comedy film A comedy film is a category of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Pain ...
'' (2001). In 2001, C.K. released his debut comedy album, '' Live in Houston'', directly through his website and became among the first performers to offer direct-to-fan sales of tickets to his stand-up shows and
DRM DRM may refer to: Government, military and politics * Defense reform movement, U.S. campaign inspired by Col. John Boyd * Democratic Republic of Madagascar, a former socialist state (1975–1992) on Madagascar * Direction du renseignement militaire ...
-free video concert downloads via his website. He has released nine comedy albums, often directing and editing his specials as well. He had supporting acting roles in films such as
David O. Russell David Owen Russell (born August 20, 1958) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His early directing career includes the comedy films ''Spanking the Monkey ''Spanking the Monkey'' is a 1994 American black comedy Black c ...
's ''
American Hustle ''American Hustle'' is a 2013 American black comedy crime film directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, inspired by the FBI Abscam operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It stars Christian Bale and A ...
'',
Woody Allen Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; November 30, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Os ...

Woody Allen
's ''
Blue Jasmine ''Blue Jasmine'' is a 2013 American comedy-drama Comedy music, Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. In the United States Example include ''The Days a ...

Blue Jasmine
'' (both 2013), and the
Hollywood blacklist The Hollywood blacklist was the colloquial term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other en ...
drama '' Trumbo'' (2015). C.K. created, directed and starred in '' Louie'', an
Emmy Award The Emmy Awards, or Emmys, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the television industry. It is considered one of the four major entertainment awards in the United States, the others being the Grammy The Grammy Award (stylized ...
winning semi-autobiographical comedy-drama series aired from 2010 to 2015 on FX. In 2016, C.K. created and starred in his self-funded web series ''
Horace and Pete ''Horace and Pete'' is an American web series created, written, and directed by Louis C.K., who describes it as a tragedy. In addition to C.K., the series stars Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and Jessica Lange. Dealing with the themes of ab ...
''. He also co-created the shows ''
Baskets A basket is a container that is traditionally constructed from stiff fibers and can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints, runners, and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehai ...
'' and '' Better Things'' for FX and voiced the protagonist Max in the animated film ''
The Secret Life of Pets ''The Secret Life of Pets'' is a 2016 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment. It is directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Yarrow Cheney, written by Brian Lynch (writer), Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Da ...
'' in the same year. In 2017, he admitted to several incidents of sexual misconduct following the release of an article in ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
''. This resulted in widespread criticism and caused his 2017 film ''
I Love You, Daddy ''I Love You, Daddy'' is a 2017 American comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cinema and in parti ...
'' to be pulled from distribution prior to its release, and a halt in his stand-up career. In 2018 he returned to stand-up comedy and in 2019 announced an international tour. In 2020, C.K. released a new comedy special, '' Sincerely Louis C.K.'', on his website for which he received a
Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album The Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album is presented by the The Recording Academy, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement in comedy." The award was awarded yearly from 1959 to 1993 and t ...
nomination. In 2021 he embarked on an international comedy tour and released a new comedy special '' Sorry'' once again on his website.


Early life

Louis Székely was born in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...
, U.S., on September 12, 1967, the son of
software engineer A software engineer is a person who applies the principles of software engineering to the design, development, maintenance, testing, and evaluation of computer software Software is a collection of Instruction (computer science), instructions ...
Mary Louise (''née'' Davis) and economist Luis Székely. He has three sisters. His father is of
Mexican Mexican may refer to: Mexico and its culture *Being related to, from, or connected to the country of Mexico, in North America ** Being related to the State of Mexico, one of the 32 federal entities of Mexico ** Culture of Mexico *** Mexican cuisi ...

Mexican
and
Hungarian-Jewish The history of the Jews in Hungary dates back to at least the Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed from the Middle Ages into the 20th century (1000–1946 with the exception of 1918–1920 ...
descent. C.K.'s
Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is ...

Jewish
paternal grandfather, Géza Székely Schweiger, had immigrated from
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a in . Spanning of the , it is bordered by to the north, to the northeast, to the east and southeast, to the south, and to the southwest and to the west. Hungary has a population of 10 million, mostl ...

Hungary
to
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
, and to appease his Mexican wife raised Luis in the
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
faith. C.K.'s mother, an American, was a Catholic with
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
ancestry. When C.K. was an infant, his family moved to his father's home country of Mexico, where his father had earned a degree from the
National Autonomous University of Mexico The National Autonomous University of Mexico ( es, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México , lit=Autonomous National University of Mexico, UNAM) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and d ...
prior to graduating from Harvard. C.K.'s first language was
Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambiguation), the name of several ...

Spanish
; it was not until after they moved back to the U.S. when he was 7 that he began to learn English. He has said that he has since forgotten much of his Spanish. When C.K. left Mexico with his family, they moved back to the United States and settled in
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
, Massachusetts area, initially for a year in
Framingham, Massachusetts Framingham () is a city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States. Incorporated in 1700, it is within Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County and the MetroWest subregion of the Greater Boston m ...
. Upon moving from Mexico to suburban Boston, C.K. wanted to become a writer and comedian, citing
George Carlin George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedy, stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author. Regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time, he was dubbed " ...
,
Bill Cosby William Henry Cosby Jr. (; born July 12, 1937) is an American retired stand-up Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance to a live audience, addressed directly from the stage. The performer is known as a comic, comedian, or s ...
and
Richard Pryor Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style, and is widely regarded ...
as some of his influences. When he was 10, his parents divorced. C.K. said that his father was around but he did not see him much and when he remarried, C.K.'s father
converted Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * Conversion (Stargate Atlantis), "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis ...
to
Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Judaism is the collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, ...
, the faith of his new wife. C.K. and his three sisters were raised by their single mother in
Newton Newton most commonly refers to: * Isaac Newton (1642–1726/1727), English scientist * Newton (unit), SI unit of force named after Isaac Newton Newton may also refer to: Arts and entertainment * Newton (film), ''Newton'' (film), a 2017 Indian fil ...
,
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * ...

Massachusetts
. The fact that his mother had only "bad" TV shows to view upon returning home from work inspired him to work on television. C.K.'s mother raised her children as Catholic and they attended after-school Catholic class until they completed communion. C.K. has said that his father's whole family still lives in
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...

Mexico
. C.K.'s paternal uncle Dr. Francisco Székely is an academic and an international consultant on environmental affairs who served as Mexico's Deputy Minister of Environment (2000–2003). C.K. attended
Newton North High School Newton North High School, formerly Newton High School, is the larger and longer-established of two public high school State schools (in England, Wales, and New Zealand) or public schools (Scottish English Scottish English ( gd, Beurl ...
, and graduated in 1985. He graduated with future ''
Friends ''Friends'' is an American television sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...

Friends
'' star
Matt LeBlanc Matthew Steven LeBlanc (; born July 25, 1967) is an American actor An actor is a person who portrays a character Character(s) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''Character'' (novel), a 1936 Dutch novel by Fer ...
. After graduation, C.K. worked as an auto mechanic and at a public access TV cable station in Boston. According to C.K., working in public access TV gave him the tools and technical knowledge to make his short films and later his television shows. "Learning is my favorite thing", he said. He also worked for a time as a cook and in a video store.


Career


1984–1997: Career beginnings

In 1984 at 17, C.K. directed the comedic short film ''Trash Day''. The
New York University Tisch School of the Arts The New York University Tisch School of the Arts (commonly referred to as Tisch) is the performing, cinematic and media arts New media art includes artworks designed and produced by means of new media technology, technologies, comprising vir ...
showed an interest in him as a filmmaker, but he instead decided to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. C.K.'s first attempt at stand-up was in 1985 at an
open mic open mic in Harrisonburg, Virginia. An open mic (or open mike) (derived from the expression "open microphone") is a live show at a coffeehouse, nightclub, comedy club, strip club, institution or pub at which audience members who are amateur or ...
night at a
comedy club A comedy club is a venue—typically a nightclub, bar (establishment), bar, hotel, casino, or restaurant—where people watch or listen to performances, including stand-up comedy, stand-up comedians, improvisational comedians, impersonators, impre ...

comedy club
in
Boston Boston (, ), officially the City of Boston, is the capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Massachusetts, most populous city of the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States and 21st List of Unit ...

Boston
, Massachusetts, during the apex of the comedy boom. He was given five minutes of time, but had only two minutes of material. He was so discouraged by the experience that he did not perform again for two years. As Boston's comedy scene grew, C.K. gradually achieved success, performing alongside acts such as
Denis Leary Denis Colin Leary (born August 18, 1957) is an American actor, comedian, producer, and writer. A native of Massachusetts, Leary first came to prominence as a stand-up comedian Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance and narr ...

Denis Leary
and
Lenny Clarke Lenny Clarke (born September 16, 1953) is an American comedian and actor. He is known for his thick Boston accent and as the role of Teddy Gavin, Uncle Teddy on the series ''Rescue Me (U.S. TV series), Rescue Me''. Early life Clarke was born i ...
, and eventually he moved up to paid gigs, opening for
Jerry Seinfeld Jerome Allen Seinfeld ( ; born April 29, 1954) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He is best known for playing a semi-fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom ''Seinfeld ''Seinfeld'' (; ) is an American ...

Jerry Seinfeld
and hosting comedy clubs until he moved to
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
in 1989. He performed his act on many televised programs, including ''Evening at the Improv'' and ''
Star Search ''Star Search'' was an American that was produced by T.P.E./ from 1983 to 1995, hosted by , and created by . A relaunch was produced by from 2003 to 2004. On both versions of the show, contestants competed in several genres of entertainment. ...
''. C.K.'s short film ''
Ice Cream Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It may be made from milk or cream and is flavoured with a sweetener A sugar substitute is a food additive that provides a sweetness, sweet taste like that of sug ...
'' (1993), was submitted to the
Aspen Shortsfest The Aspen Shortsfest is an annual Oscar® qualifying short film festival held in Aspen, Colorado. The internationally-recognized festival began in 1979. In 2003, director Lionel Bailliu was given the Shortfest Award for the 2002 2002 was d ...
in 1994. In 1993, he unsuccessfully auditioned for ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'', although he did later work with
Robert Smigel Robert Smigel (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, humorist, writer, director, producer, and puppeteer, known for his ''Saturday Night Live'' "TV Funhouse" cartoon shorts and as the puppeteer and voice behind Triu ...

Robert Smigel
, writing on the ''
TV Funhouse''Saturday TV Funhouse'' is a segment on NBC The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves ...
'' shorts for the program. C.K.'s earliest writing job was for
Conan O'Brien Conan Christopher O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, podcaster, and producer. He is best known for having hosted late-night talk shows for almost 28 years, beginning with ''Late Night with Conan O' ...

Conan O'Brien
on the late-night talk show ''
Late Night with Conan O'Brien ''Late Night with Conan O'Brien'' is an American late-night talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien Conan Christopher O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known for hosting se ...
'' from 1993 to 1994, before briefly writing for ''
Late Show with David Letterman #REDIRECT Late Show with David Letterman#REDIRECT Late Show with David Letterman The ''Late Show with David Letterman'' is an American late-night talk show hosted by David Letterman David Michael Letterman (born April 12, 1947) is an America ...
'' in 1995. C.K. has stated that Conan O'Brien kept C.K. in comedy by hiring him, as he planned to quit comedy the following day if he had not been hired for ''Late Night with Conan O'Brien''. Throughout the spring of 1996, C.K. served as the head writer for ''
The Dana Carvey Show ''The Dana Carvey Show'' is an American sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, performed by a group of comic actors or comedians. The f ...
''; its writers also included
Steve Carell Steven John Carell (; born August 16, 1962) is an American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and director. He played Michael Scott (The Office), Michael Scott in ''The Office (American TV series), The Office'' (2005–2013), NBC’s adaptati ...
,
Stephen Colbert Stephen Tyrone Colbert ( ; born May 13, 1964) is an American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host. He is best known for hosting the satirical Comedy Central Comedy Central (Formerly Styled As COMED ...

Stephen Colbert
,
Robert Smigel Robert Smigel (born February 7, 1960) is an American actor, voice actor, comedian, humorist, writer, director, producer, and puppeteer, known for his ''Saturday Night Live'' "TV Funhouse" cartoon shorts and as the puppeteer and voice behind Triu ...

Robert Smigel
, and
Charlie Kaufman Charles Stuart Kaufman (; born November 19, 1958) is an American screenwriter, producer, director, and novelist. He wrote the films ''Being John Malkovich ''Being John Malkovich'' is a 1999 American fantasy comedy film directed by Spike Jonze ...
. It was cancelled after seven episodes. In 1996,
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
released his first half-hour comedy special. C.K. appeared several times on the animated show '' Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist''. From 1997 to 1999, he wrote for ''
The Chris Rock Show ''The Chris Rock Show'' was a weekly, Friday night, late-night talk show A late-night talk show is a genre of talk show popular in the United States, where the format originated. It is generally structured around humorous monologues about the ...
''. His work on the show was nominated for a
Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Awards are bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), also colloquially known as the Television Academy, is a professional honorary organization dedicated to th ...
for writing three times, winning "Best Writing in a Variety or Comedy Series" in 1999. He was also nominated for an Emmy for his work writing for ''Late Night with Conan O'Brien''. He has been quoted as describing his approach to writing as a "deconstruction" that is both painful and frightening.


1998–2004: Focus on filmmaking

In 1998, C.K. wrote and directed the independent black-and-white film ''Tomorrow Night'', which premiered at
Sundance A Sun Dance is a Native American ceremony. Sun dance or Sundance may also refer to: Places ;Canada *Sundance, Calgary, Alberta, a neighbourhood *Sundance, Manitoba, a ghost town ;United States *Sundance, New Mexico, a census-designated place ...

Sundance
, marking his feature film directorial debut after making several shorter films, including six short films for the sketch comedy show ''
Howie Mandel's Sunny Skies ''Howie Mandel's Sunny Skies'' is a sketch comedy television series, which aired in 1995."Howie hurt by his critics". ''Toronto Star'', July 13, 1995. Produced by Alliance Atlantis, Atlantis Communications for Showtime (TV network), Showtime in the ...
'' (1995) on the
Showtime Showtime or Show Time may refer to: Film * Showtime (film), ''Showtime'' (film), a 2002 American action/comedy film * Showtime (video), ''Showtime'' (video), a 1995 live concert video by Blur Television Networks and channels * Showtime Networks, ...
cable network. C.K. self-released ''Tomorrow Night'' in 2014. He hosted the
PBS The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is an American public broadcaster Public broadcasting involves , and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is . In many countries of the world, comes from governments, especially vi ...
show ''ShortCuts'' in 1999, which featured independent short films, including some made by C.K. himself. Also that year, C.K. devised and starred in ''The Filthy Stupid Talent Show'', a mock talent show television special. He had an early acting role in the independent comedy ''Tuna'', alongside
Nick Offerman Nicholas David Offerman (born June 26, 1970) is an American actor, writer, comedian, producer, and professional carpenter. He is best known for his role as Ron Swanson in the NBC sitcom ''Parks and Recreation'', for which he received the Televis ...
, in 2000 and performed on the stand-up showcase series ''
Comedy Central Presents ''Comedy Central Presents'' is the network's main half-hour program which highlights either one or a series of stand-up comedy, stand-up comedians each episode. In 2011, the series ended and Comedy Central replaced it with the revamped ''The Half ...
'' the following year. C.K. wrote and directed the feature film ''
Pootie Tang ''Pootie Tang'' is a 2001 American comedy film A comedy film is a category of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art The visual arts are art forms such as painting Pain ...
'' (2001), which was adapted from a sketch that was featured on ''The Chris Rock Show'' and featured
Chris Rock Christopher Julius Rock (born February 7, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance and narration, narrative craft whereby a comedian Communication, communicates to a live audience, Fourt ...
in a supporting role. The film received largely negative reviews from critics, but has become a
cult classic A cult following refers to a group of fans Fan commonly refers to: * Fan (machine) Sounds from a household fan. A fan is a powered machine A machine is a man-made device that uses power to apply forces and control movement to perfo ...
; in a half-star review,
Roger Ebert Roger Joseph Ebert (; June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013) was an American Film criticism, film critic, film historian, journalist, screenwriter, and author. He was a film critic for the ''Chicago Sun-Times'' from 1967 until his death in 2013. In ...

Roger Ebert
declared it a "train wreck" and felt the film was "not in a releasable condition". Though C.K. is credited as the director, he was fired at the end of filming with the film being re-edited by the studio. C.K. has since co-written two screenplays with Rock: '' Down to Earth'' (2001) and ''
I Think I Love My Wife ''I Think I Love My Wife'' is a 2007 American romantic comedy Romantic comedy (also known as romcom or rom-com) is a subgenre of comedy and slice-of-life Slice of life describes the depiction of mundane experiences in art and entertainmen ...
'' (2007). His first comedy album, '' Live in Houston'', was released in 2001. In 2002, he voiced Brendon Small's estranged father, Andrew Small, in the animated sitcom ''
Home Movies A home movie is a short amateur film or video typically made just to preserve a visual record of family activities, a vacation, or a special event, and intended for viewing at home by family and friends. Originally, home movies were made on pho ...
''. C.K. was among the writing staff of the sketch comedy show ''
Cedric the Entertainer Presents ''Cedric the Entertainer Presents'' is an American sketch comedy television series and television program featuring dance numbers starring Cedric the Entertainer. The series premiered September 18, 2002 on Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox and after t ...
'' (2002–03).


2005–2009: ''Lucky Louie'' and standup breakthrough

In August 2005, C.K. starred in a half-hour HBO special as part of the stand-up series ''
One Night Stand A one-night stand is a single sexual encounter Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their Human sexuality, sexuality. People engage in a variety of sex ...
''. Inspired by the work ethic of fellow comedian
George Carlin George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedy, stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author. Regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time, he was dubbed " ...
, who had committed to dropping all of his existing material and starting over every year, in June 2006, C.K. starred in and wrote ''
Lucky Louie ''Lucky Louie'' is an American television sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every a ...
'', a sitcom he created. The series premiered on
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
and was videotaped in front of a studio audience; it was HBO's first series in that format. ''Lucky Louie'' is described as a bluntly realistic portrayal of family life. HBO canceled the series after its first season. C.K. was also a part of
Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus was a comedy-based concert tour starting in 2006 and ending in 2008. It starred comedians featured on the Opie and Anthony show on XM Satellite Radio and CBS Radio. History The tour was a goal of Opie and Anthon ...
with other comedians in
2007 2007 was designated as the International Heliophysical YearImage:IHY logo.png, 200px, right The International Heliophysical Year is a United Nations, UN-sponsored scientifically driven international program of scientific collaboration to unde ...
. In 2007, he hosted a three-hour phone-in show on the service at the request of Opie & Anthony, during which he advised callers on their relationship troubles. During an interview with
Secretary of Defense A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent ...
Donald Rumsfeld Donald Henry Rumsfeld (July 9, 1932 – June 29, 2021) was an American politician, government official and businessman who served as United States Secretary of Defense, secretary of defense from 1975 to 1977 under president Gerald Ford, a ...

Donald Rumsfeld
on the show, C.K. repeatedly asked Rumsfeld whether he is in fact a reptilian space alien who "eats Mexican babies". Rumsfeld declined to comment and the video has since gone viral. He appeared in three films in 2008: ''
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins ''Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins'' is a 2008 American comedy film A comedy film is a category of film A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate idea ...
'', ''
Diminished Capacity In criminal law Criminal law is the body of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and i ...
'', and ''
Role Models ''Role Models'' is a 2008 American comedy film directed by David Wain, who co-wrote it with Timothy Dowling, Paul Rudd and Ken Marino. The film follows two energy drink salesmen who are ordered to perform 150 hours of community service as punishm ...
''. C.K. launched his first hour-long special, ''
Shameless Shameless may refer to: Television and cinema * Shameless (British TV series), ''Shameless'' (British TV series), a UK television series that ran from 2004 to 2013 * Shameless (American TV series), ''Shameless'' (American TV series), a U.S. telev ...
'', in 2007, which aired on HBO and was later released on DVD. In March 2008, he recorded a second hour-long special, '' Chewed Up'', which premiered on Showtime Network on October 4, 2008, and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Special, Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy or Variety Special. C.K. and his wife Alix Bailey divorced in 2008, with C.K. and Bailey sharing joint custody of their children. In a 2010 interview, C.K. talked about how, after his divorce, he thought, "well, there goes my act." He alluded to the way that his marriage had been central to his act and his life, and he said that it took him approximately a year to realize "I'm accumulating stories here that are worth telling." One element in his preparation for stand-up was training at the same boxing gym as Lowell, Massachusetts fighter Micky Ward, trying to "learn how to ... do the grunt work and the boring, constant training so that you'll be fit enough to take the beating." A clip from an appearance by C.K. on
Late Night with Conan O'Brien ''Late Night with Conan O'Brien'' is an American late-night talk show hosted by Conan O'Brien Conan Christopher O'Brien (born April 18, 1963) is an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He is best known for hosting se ...
in October 2008 titled "Everything's Amazing and Nobody is Happy" became a viral video, viral hit on YouTube in 2009, helping his standup career to propel forward. On April 18, 2009, C.K. recorded a concert film titled ''Hilarious (film), Hilarious''. Unlike his previous specials—which had all been produced for television networks—''Hilarious'' was produced independently, directed by C.K. himself, and sold to Epix (TV channel), Epix and Comedy Central after it was complete. As a result, it was not released until late 2010. It was published on DVD and CD in 2011. It is the first stand-up comedy film accepted into the Sundance Film Festival. From 2009 to 2012, C.K. played Dave Sanderson, a police officer and ex-boyfriend of Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) in the sitcom ''Parks and Recreation''. He also co-starred in the romantic comedy fantasy film ''The Invention of Lying'', directed by and starring Ricky Gervais, in 2009.


2011–2015: ''Louie'', FX deal and film roles

FX picked up C.K.'s series '' Louie'' in August 2009, which C.K. stars in, writes, directs, and edits. The show features stand-up routines blended with segments partially based on his offstage experiences which address his life as a divorced, aging father. The show premiered on June 29, 2010. In season three, episodes dealt respectively with a date with an unstable bookshop clerk (played by Parker Posey); a doomed attempt to replace a retiring
David Letterman David Michael Letterman (born April 12, 1947) is an American television host, comedian, writer, and producer. He hosted late night television talk shows for 33 years, beginning with the February 1, 1982, debut of ''Late Night with David Letterma ...

David Letterman
; an aborted visit to C.K.'s father; and a dream-reality New Year's Eve episode in which C.K. ends up in China. These episodes were ranked in critic Matt Zoller Seitz's favorite 25 comedy episodes of 2012. Seitz called the episode "New Year's Eve" "truly audacious". C.K. has been nominated five times for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (2011–2015) for his work in '' Louie'', and won two Emmys in 2011 for the ''Louie'' episode "Pregnant" and for his special ''
Live at the Beacon Theater ''Live at the Beacon Theater'' is the fourth full-length comedy special/concert film by comedian Louis C.K.. The special takes place at the Beacon Theatre (New York City), Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, New York (state), New York. In contrast to his ...
''. The show was renewed for a fourth season; with a 19-month hiatus after season 3 to accommodate C.K.'s roles in
David O. Russell David Owen Russell (born August 20, 1958) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His early directing career includes the comedy films ''Spanking the Monkey ''Spanking the Monkey'' is a 1994 American black comedy Black c ...
's ''
American Hustle ''American Hustle'' is a 2013 American black comedy crime film directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, inspired by the FBI Abscam operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It stars Christian Bale and A ...
'' and
Woody Allen Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; November 30, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Os ...

Woody Allen
's ''
Blue Jasmine ''Blue Jasmine'' is a 2013 American comedy-drama Comedy music, Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. In the United States Example include ''The Days a ...

Blue Jasmine
'' in 2013. During the 2014 Television Critics Association presentations, FX Networks' John Landgraf reported that '' Louie'' would return in spring 2015 for a shortened fifth season of seven episodes—compared to the 13 episodes of prior seasons. The Louie (season 5), fifth season premiered in April 2015 and an announcement said the series would take an "extended Hiatus (television), hiatus" in August 2015; C.K. stated in January 2016 that he "just doesn't know" whether it would return or not. In November 2017, in the wake of the misconduct allegations against C.K, FX cut ties with the embattled comic and filmmaker, ending their partnership. In 2018, however, FX CEO John Landgraf stated to Variety Magazine, Variety, “I love ‘Louie’ and I love Louis C.K.'s work and I miss him, and I miss it,” and that "the network is ready to welcome C.K. back and is eager for “Louie” season six". In 2011, C.K. joined fellow comedians
Jerry Seinfeld Jerome Allen Seinfeld ( ; born April 29, 1954) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He is best known for playing a semi-fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom ''Seinfeld ''Seinfeld'' (; ) is an American ...

Jerry Seinfeld
,
Chris Rock Christopher Julius Rock (born February 7, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance and narration, narrative craft whereby a comedian Communication, communicates to a live audience, Fourt ...
, and Ricky Gervais for a discussion of comedy in ''Talking Funny (Television special), Talking Funny'', a one-hour television special that aired on
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
. On December 10, 2011, C.K. released his fourth full-length special, ''
Live at the Beacon Theater ''Live at the Beacon Theater'' is the fourth full-length comedy special/concert film by comedian Louis C.K.. The special takes place at the Beacon Theatre (New York City), Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, New York (state), New York. In contrast to his ...
''. Like ''Hilarious'', it was produced independently and directed by C.K. However, unlike his earlier work, it was distributed digitally on his website, foregoing both physical and broadcast media. C.K. released the special for $5.00 and without digital rights management, DRM, hoping that these factors and the direct relationship between the artist and consumer would effectively deter illegal downloading. At the end of the special, the release of a new album, recorded at Carnegie Hall the previous year, is mentioned. By December 21, 2011, the sales of the special from C.K.'s website had already earned him over $1 million. C.K. hosted ''Saturday Night Live'' on November 3, 2012, and was subsequently
Primetime Emmy Award The Primetime Emmy Awards are bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS), also colloquially known as the Television Academy, is a professional honorary organization dedicated to th ...
-nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series. The success of the special prompted other comedians, including Jim Gaffigan, Joe Rogan, and Aziz Ansari, to release their own specials with a similar business model. On May 11, 2012, C.K. additionally made two audio-only downloads available for $5.00 each: ''Word: Live at Carnegie Hall, WORD – Live at Carnegie Hall'' (and the audio version of his first
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
stand-up special, ''Shameless''), as well as an audio-only version of ''
Live at the Beacon Theater ''Live at the Beacon Theater'' is the fourth full-length comedy special/concert film by comedian Louis C.K.. The special takes place at the Beacon Theatre (New York City), Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, New York (state), New York. In contrast to his ...
''. C.K.'s fifth one-hour special, ''
Oh My God Oh My God, O My God, Oh My God! or Ohmigod may refer to: * the first words of the Act of Contrition, a Christian prayer * a common phrase frequently abbreviated as "OMG", often used in SMS language#SMS dictionaries, SMS messages and Internet commun ...
'', was recorded at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, and premiered on HBO April 13, 2013. It was also sold and distributed using the same model as C.K. used for ''Live at the Beacon Theater''. In 2013, C.K. appeared in critically acclaimed films the first being
Woody Allen Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; November 30, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Os ...

Woody Allen
's ''
Blue Jasmine ''Blue Jasmine'' is a 2013 American comedy-drama Comedy music, Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. In the United States Example include ''The Days a ...

Blue Jasmine
'' where he played the romantic interest of Sally Hawkins' character. C.K. originally auditioned for the role that went to Andrew Dice Clay, and Allen offered Louie the role that ended up in the film. Of the experience, C.K. stated, “I had this three-day part and I figured I’m a tourist on this movie. All I want is a little Woody moment to take home with me. It was so fun, and we had lunch, and I thought having lunch with him was my rewarding moment. And then after lunch, we shot one more scene and I got a big laugh on the set, and I thought, that’s my Woody moment". Later that year, C.K. starred in
David O. Russell David Owen Russell (born August 20, 1958) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His early directing career includes the comedy films ''Spanking the Monkey ''Spanking the Monkey'' is a 1994 American black comedy Black c ...
's black comedy crime film ''
American Hustle ''American Hustle'' is a 2013 American black comedy crime film directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, inspired by the FBI Abscam operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It stars Christian Bale and A ...
'', which was released in December 2013. C.K. played the role of FBI supervisor Stoddard Thorsen, the boss of Bradley Cooper's character. The film was a financial and critical hit, earning 10 Academy Awards nominations including Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Picture. C.K. earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture. C.K.'s production company, Pig Newton, where he works with producer Blair Breard, signed a contract to develop and executive produce pilots for FX Networks in 2013. In January 2014, an announcement said C.K. would produce and co-write a Zach Galifianakis-created comedy pilot for FX Networks. The 10-episode single-camera comedy, titled ''
Baskets A basket is a container that is traditionally constructed from stiff fibers and can be made from a range of materials, including wood splints, runners, and cane. While most baskets are made from plant materials, other materials such as horsehai ...
'', premiered on January 21, 2016. It features Galifianakis as the main character, a struggling clown named Chip Baskets in a pilot episode written by Galifianakis, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel. C.K. released his sixth one-hour special ''Live at the Comedy Store'' to his website in January 2015, which, unlike his past few specials, was recorded at a club, The Comedy Store in West Hollywood. C.K. said he intended the material as an exercise in creating an act that hearkened back to his early days in comedy clubs. The special premiered exclusively on FX on May 28, 2015. He returned to host ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'' on March 29, 2014, and May 16, 2015, and received
Emmy Award The Emmy Awards, or Emmys, are awards for artistic and technical merit in the television industry. It is considered one of the four major entertainment awards in the United States, the others being the Grammy The Grammy Award (stylized ...
nominations for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for both episodes. C.K. also attended the ''Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special'', where he was chosen to introduce a montage of the pre-recorded sketches. In May 2015, it was announced that C.K. would write, direct, and star in the film ''I'm a Cop'', to be produced by Scott Rudin, Dave Becky, and Blair Breard, with a budget of $8 million, although he later canceled the project. C.K. became the first comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden three times in a single tour in 2015. Audio from the tour was released by C.K. on his website as ''Louis C.K.: Live at Madison Square Garden'' through the pay what you want model. In November 2015, C.K. co-starred in the biographical drama film '' Trumbo'' as a composite character based on five different screenwriters who were Hollywood blacklist, blacklisted in Hollywood for their alleged ties to the Communist party during the 1940s. He executive-produced the pilot for the Amazon Video black comedy series ''One Mississippi (TV series), One Mississippi'', starring Notaro, in November 2015. It was ordered for a full season by Amazon.


2016: ''Horace and Pete'' and continued success

In January 2016 C.K. and actor/comedian Albert Brooks were rumoured to create, write, executive produce, and provide the voices for the two main characters in an animated series pilot for FX. The following January, the series was announced to instead be premiering on TBS (U.S. TV channel), TBS in 2018 and titled ''The Cops'', following two Los Angeles patrolmen. On January 30, 2016, he released the first episode of the Comedy-drama, tragicomic drama series ''
Horace and Pete ''Horace and Pete'' is an American web series created, written, and directed by Louis C.K., who describes it as a tragedy. In addition to C.K., the series stars Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and Jessica Lange. Dealing with the themes of ab ...
'' to his website, without any prior announcements. C.K. directed, wrote, and starred in the series as bar owner Horace, alongside Steve Buscemi, who portrays co-owner Pete. ''Horace and Pete'' pioneered the genre of 'sadcom'. James Poniewozik of ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 132 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of a ...

The New York Times
'' said the series "may best be described as a ''Cheers'' spec script by Eugene O'Neill: a snapshot of a family—and a country—suffering a hangover decades in the making." The self-financed series received a significantly positive reaction from critics, who largely focused on the performances of the veteran cast that includes C.K., Buscemi, Edie Falco, Steven Wright, Alan Alda, and Jessica Lange and C.K.'s writing. C.K. has expressed his interest in a second season. C.K. next voiced the lead, Max, a Jack Russell Terrier, in the animated comedy film ''
The Secret Life of Pets ''The Secret Life of Pets'' is a 2016 American computer-animated comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment. It is directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Yarrow Cheney, written by Brian Lynch (writer), Brian Lynch, Cinco Paul and Ken Da ...
''. The film was co-directed by Chris Renaud of the ''Despicable Me (franchise), Despicable Me'' series, and was released on July 8, 2016. It grossed over $875 million worldwide. C.K. developed the series '' Better Things'' with its star Pamela Adlon, who had appeared on ''Louie''. C.K. co-wrote, co-produced, and directed the pilot. The show is about a single working actress mother and her struggles to raise three daughters. It premiered in September 2016 on FX. His stand-up special ''2017'' was filmed in Washington, D.C. and released on April 4, 2017, through the streaming service Netflix. Barry Crimmins's stand-up special, ''Whatever Threatens You'', directed and produced by C.K., was released through his website in 2016. On April 8, 2017, he hosted ''Saturday Night Live'' for a fourth time, where he received strong reviews for his opening monologue in which he tackled white privilege, and bits about a racist chicken, and talking animals. A critic from ''The A.V. Club'' wrote " no one's better at taking a joke to the edge and tiptoeing nimbly along it". C.K. also honored fellow comedian Don Rickles who died that week, saying during the goodnights portion stating, "I just want to say, Don Rickles was the funniest man in the world and he was also a lovely, beautiful guy. I'll miss him for the rest of my life". C.K. directed the film ''
I Love You, Daddy ''I Love You, Daddy'' is a 2017 American comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cinema and in parti ...
'' in secret, shooting entirely on black and white 35mm movie film, 35 mm film in June 2017. The film follows a television producer and writer played by C.K. called Glen Topher whose teenage daughter, played by Chloë Grace Moretz, is seduced by a much older film director (John Malkovich), causing Topher to become disconcerted. The film also features Charlie Day, Adlon, Rose Byrne, Edie Falco and Helen Hunt. It premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival in September, whereupon ''The Guardian'' film critic Peter Bradshaw gave the film a four-star review, calling it a "very funny and recklessly provocative homage to Woody Allen, channeling his masterpiece ''Manhattan (film), Manhattan''."


2017: Sexual misconduct revelations

In 2015, rumors about C.K.'s behavior towards women in his professional life began to appear on various websites, starting with comedian Roseanne Barr, who told ''The Daily Beast'' in an interview that she had heard stories of C.K., "locking the door and masturbating in front of women comics and writers". Barr added in a subsequent Twitter, tweet that she had no idea if C.K. was a sexual offender or not, but said that given the number of accusations, he should address the rumors. Two years later, in a September 2017 ''Vanity Fair (magazine), Vanity Fair'' interview, comedian Tig Notaro cut ties with C.K., a one-time collaborator and producer on her show ''One Mississippi (TV series), One Mississippi'', saying that he should address the rumors of sexual impropriety, and alluding to an unspecified "incident" between herself and C.K. As he had repeatedly in the past, C.K. denied the allegations in a September 2017 ''New York Times'' interview, saying "They're rumors, that's all that is... I don't think talking about that stuff in the press... is a good idea." On November 9, 2017, The Orchard (company), The Orchard, distributor of C.K.'s upcoming film ''
I Love You, Daddy ''I Love You, Daddy'' is a 2017 American comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cinema and in parti ...
'', canceled the New York premiere of the film due to "unexpected circumstances", while a scheduled appearance by C.K. on ''The Late Show with Stephen Colbert'' promoting the movie was also canceled. ''The Hollywood Reporter'' ran an article claiming that a very damaging story on the comedian was about to be published in the ''New York Times'', and the premiere was canceled to mitigate the damage. Later that day, the ''Times'' published allegations of sexual misconduct from five women against C.K. The women who spoke out in the article included comedy duo Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, who claimed that C.K. had invited them to his hotel room in 2002 during the US Comedy Arts Festival, where he asked them if he could take out his penis. The two women assumed he was joking, but C.K. masturbated to completion in front of them. They relayed the incident to iO Theater, ImprovOlympics founder Charna Halpern. The comedian Rebecca Corry described that, on the set of a television pilot in 2005, she reported an incident to the show's producers where C.K. offered to masturbate in front of her, and no action was taken. Comedian Abby Schachner said that during a 2003 telephone conversation, C.K. began speaking about his sexual fantasies and masturbating. Schachner felt C.K.'s conduct was "unprofessional and inappropriate" given that she was inviting him as an established comedian to one of her comedy shows, and that C.K. was working in a writers room with Schachner's then-boyfriend. Schachner said that C.K. apologized for his past behavior several years later. C.K. initially declined to answer the allegations in public. In a subsequent statement on November 10, after the ''Times'' article, C.K. admitted to behavior that he initially thought "was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first", and went on to express remorse, stating, "the power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly." After C.K. exposed himself to Goodman and Wolov, his manager, Dave Becky, made it known to theirs that they might suffer professional consequences if they continued talking about the incident. Becky initially denied making any threats but later apologized for statements that he said could have been perceived as threats. He claimed to have no knowledge of any other incidents. He dropped C.K. as a client and apologized for a perceived "cover up". In subsequent days, Pamela Adlon and John Mulaney fired Becky as a manager for his role in the cover up, while many of his other clients kept him as manager without comment. Separately, the comedian and journalist Megan Koester claims to have been threatened by Just for Laughs president Dave Hills when she asked several prominent comedians about the allegations at the festival in 2015.


Consequences

In the wake of the scandal, C.K. suffered severe repercussions, stating in 2018 that the fallout had taken him through "hell and back" and cost him approximately $35 million in lost income. The Orchard announced it would not distribute the film ''I Love You, Daddy'', and co-stars Chloë Grace Moretz and Charlie Day said they would not participate in the film's promotion. FX Networks announced it was cutting ties with C.K., and Netflix announced that it would not be moving forward with a second planned stand-up special featuring the comedian.
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American pay television Pay television, also known as subscription television, premium television or, when referring to an individual service, a premium channel, refers to subscription The subscription busin ...
dropped C.K.'s appearance on an upcoming ''Night of Too Many Stars'' television special and removed his content from their on-demand services. TBS suspended production of, and eventually scrapped, its animated series ''The Cops''. Illumination (company), Illumination, about to produce the animated children's film ''The Secret Life of Pets 2'' in which C.K. was to reprise his starring role from the previous film, terminated their relationship with him and hired Patton Oswalt as his replacement. The Disney Channel also removed C.K. from reruns of ''Gravity Falls'', redubbing his character's voice with series creator Alex Hirsch.


2018–2020: Return to stand-up comedy

On August 26, 2018, C.K. made an unannounced appearance at the Comedy Cellar in
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
, New York City, New York. It was reported that he received an ovation from the audience, and performed a typical set making no reference to the sexual controversy. His return to stand-up comedy was criticized by comedians including Aparna Nancherla, Ian Karmel, Allie Goertz, and Judd Apatow as being premature, whereas Dave Chappelle,
Chris Rock Christopher Julius Rock (born February 7, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance and narration, narrative craft whereby a comedian Communication, communicates to a live audience, Fourt ...
, Bill Burr, Michael Che, Jim Gaffigan, Janeane Garofalo, Sarah Silverman, Wanda Sykes, Judy Gold, Marlon Wayans, Joe Rogan, and Kurt Metzger supported C.K.'s right to continue standup. Comedian
Jerry Seinfeld Jerome Allen Seinfeld ( ; born April 29, 1954) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He is best known for playing a semi-fictionalized version of himself in the sitcom ''Seinfeld ''Seinfeld'' (; ) is an American ...

Jerry Seinfeld
also supported C.K.'s return to standup but opined that the public may have felt that C.K. had not owned up to his actions enough, saying in October 2018, "We know the routine: The person does something wrong. The person's humiliated. They're exiled. They suffer, we want them to suffer. We love the tumble, we love the crash and bang of the fall. And then we love the crawl-back. The grovel. Are you going to grovel? How long are you going to grovel?" Seinfeld added, "We, the court of public opinion, decided if he's going to come back, he'd better show a lot of pain. Because he denied (the public) that." Edie Falco, who starred in C.K.'s ''
Horace and Pete ''Horace and Pete'' is an American web series created, written, and directed by Louis C.K., who describes it as a tragedy. In addition to C.K., the series stars Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and Jessica Lange. Dealing with the themes of ab ...
'' and ''
I Love You, Daddy ''I Love You, Daddy'' is a 2017 American comedy-drama Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. History The advent of radio drama, film, cinema and in parti ...
'', expressed her hope that he would receive a second chance saying: "He's someone who admitted that he did what he was accused of doing and admitted that it wasn't right" and that "people who are committed to becoming aware of what they've done and changing, they can be our strongest proponents in an issue like this." On December 31, 2018, an audience member secretly recorded C.K. working out new material and posted it online which drew media controversy. Included in his set, were jokes about school shootings which drew condemnation from Parkland survivors and a divided reaction from fellow comedians. Ricky Gervais defended C.K.'s jokes saying "[C.K.'s] got nothing against those [Parkland] kids. It was him pretending to be angry for comedy." In October 2019, C.K. announced in an e-mail to subscribers of his website an international tour of his new material. Following the leak of his new material in December 2018, his future shows would require audience members to lock cell phones and other devices in Yondr cases which has become the norm with comedians Dave Chappelle, John Mulaney, and Aziz Ansari using them as well. Canadian comedian Mark Breslin and owner of Canadian comedy club chain Yuk Yuk's defended his decision to book C.K. again in Toronto, citing sold out tickets for five shows and a lack of controversy. In January 2020, C.K. performed an unannounced set, receiving a standing ovation for the eighth annual benefit show for late comedian Patrice O'Neal, a yearly benefit of which comedian Bill Burr is the organizer. Beginning in March 2020, most of C.K.'s shows were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.


''Sincerely Louis C.K.''

On April 4, 2020, C.K. self-released a new stand-up special entitled '' Sincerely Louis C.K.'' through his website without advance notice. In the credits, C.K. thanked various people, including comedians Dave Chappelle,
Chris Rock Christopher Julius Rock (born February 7, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance and narration, narrative craft whereby a comedian Communication, communicates to a live audience, Fourt ...
, Bill Burr, Norm Macdonald and Joe Rogan, and his girlfriend Blanche Gardin, and dedicated the special to his mother who died in 2019. The special drew a divided response from audiences, including fellow comedian Amy Schumer, who said, "I laughed at a lot of it. But it's hard to not think of what he has done, what he has and hasn't learned, but I definitely laughed."


2020–present: COVID-19 and stand-up tour

In July 2020, C.K. released an audio series of conversations between himself and girlfriend Blanche Gardin titled ''Long Distance Relationship''. Proceeds would go toward the Fistula Foundation and French charity Fondation Abbé Pierre. On August 4, 2020, C.K. was invited by his longtime friend Dave Chappelle to join him in an instalment of his standup series "An Intimate Socially Distanced Affair" at the Wirrig Pavilion in Yellow Springs, Ohio, during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Photos emerged from the event of C.K. with Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, Michelle Wolf, Tiffany Haddish and Common (rapper), Common. In October 2020, C.K. appeared in a docu-series titled ''The Comedy Store#Docu-series, The Comedy Store'' about the Los Angeles comedy club of the same name, directed by Mike Binder. In May 2021, following the easing of restrictions in New York City due to the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, COVID-19 pandemic, C.K. made an unannounced stop at the Village Underground. He then announced upcoming tour-dates for summer 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia, Atlanta, Nashville, Tennessee, Nashville and Minneapolis. In August 2021, C.K. announced a tour of the United States in the year 2021 and international dates for the year 2022. American dates include two nights at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. The tour rescheduled dates cancelled due to COVID-19, acknowledging the ongoing pandemic and safety concerns. In November 2021, C.K. was nominated for the
Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album The Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album is presented by the The Recording Academy, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States to "honor artistic achievement in comedy." The award was awarded yearly from 1959 to 1993 and t ...
for his special ''Sincerely, Louis C.K.'' On ''The Joe Rogan Experience'' in November 2021, comedian Shane Gillis revealed that C.K. had filmed a new special at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.


''Sorry''

On 18 December 2021 C.K. announced the release of a new stand-up comedy special, titled '' Sorry''. The special was released for sale through his website, similar to other releases he has done in the past. He also offered a bundling of previous specials for a larger fee.


Influences

C.K. has cited many comedians who have had an influence on him, including
George Carlin George Denis Patrick Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008) was an American stand-up comedy, stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, and author. Regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time, he was dubbed " ...
,
Woody Allen Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; November 30, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Os ...

Woody Allen
, Larry David, Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Steve Martin,
Richard Pryor Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American stand-up comedian, actor, and writer. He reached a broad audience with his trenchant observations and storytelling style, and is widely regarded ...
and
Bill Cosby William Henry Cosby Jr. (; born July 12, 1937) is an American retired stand-up Stand-up comedy is a comedy Performing arts, performance to a live audience, addressed directly from the stage. The performer is known as a comic, comedian, or s ...
.


Ticketing innovation

C.K. innovated direct-to-consumer distribution in 2001 when he released his debut comedy album, '' Live in Houston'', directly through his website. He became one of the first performers to use his website to offer direct-to-fan ticket sales for his shows, as well as
DRM DRM may refer to: Government, military and politics * Defense reform movement, U.S. campaign inspired by Col. John Boyd * Democratic Republic of Madagascar, a former socialist state (1975–1992) on Madagascar * Direction du renseignement militaire ...
-free video concert downloads. In this way, C.K. sold tickets for his stand-up tour, circumventing large Primary ticket outlet, ticket outlets, bypassing their overhead and the venues they control. C.K. has said the ticket outlets create barriers to consumers, whereas direct distribution is easy—and has effectively "closed the gap between how easy it was to steal it [versus] how easy it was to buy it". The success of the special prompted other comedians, including Jim Gaffigan, Joe Rogan, and Aziz Ansari, to release their own specials with a similar business model.


Personal life


Marriage and relationships

C.K. married artist Alix Bailey in 1995. Together, they have two daughters: Katherine "Kitty" Szekely (b. 2002) and Mary Louise Szekely (b. 2005). The couple divorced in 2008. C.K.'s mother, Mary Louise Szekely, died on June 3, 2019. C.K. had a brief relationship with musician Fiona Apple. C.K. confirmed he was dating Blanche Gardin in 2018.


Political views

About political partisanship, C.K. stated, "Some things I think are very Neoconservatism, conservative, or very Modern liberalism in the United States, liberal. I think when someone falls into one category for everything, I'm very suspicious. It doesn't make sense to me that you'd have the same solution to every issue." In March 2016, C.K. sent an email to those subscribed to his mailing list which was critical of the 2016 United States presidential election, 2016 presidential race. C.K. stated he hoped for a Conservatism in the United States, conservative president but likened Republican Party (United States), Republican Party presidential candidate Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. He labeled Trump an "insane bigot" also adding, "He's not a monster. He's a sad man." C.K. later referred to the e-mail as "irrational". But he clarified to Stephen Colbert in April 2017 that Trump is not "some new kind of evil" but rather "a gross, crook, dirty, rotten, lying sack of shit", to boisterous approving applause from the ''The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Show'' audience. In March 2020, C.K. donated to the Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign. However, the campaign said that it has refunded the $2,800 donation from C.K. Neither Biden nor C.K. have released statements regarding the matter.


Philanthropy

In 2011, by selling ''
Live at the Beacon Theater ''Live at the Beacon Theater'' is the fourth full-length comedy special/concert film by comedian Louis C.K.. The special takes place at the Beacon Theatre (New York City), Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, New York (state), New York. In contrast to his ...
'' on his website, C.K. earned a "million dollars in a matter of days, half of which he [gave] away to his staff and charities." Recipients included Fistula Foundation, the Fistula Foundation, Green Chimneys, Pablove Foundation, the Pablove Foundation, Charity: Water, and Kiva (organization), Kiva. In 2016, he selected the Fistula Foundation as the beneficiary of his ''Jeopardy!'' Power Players Week appearance, and won $50,000 for the charity. In April 2020, C.K. donated $30,000 to the wait staff at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States as part of a GoFundMe program called "Tip Your Wait Staff".


Religion

Louis C.K. was raised Catholic and has identified as an agnostic.


Filmography

Louis C.K. is known as a writer, director, producer and actor who has acted in many television series, including ''
Lucky Louie ''Lucky Louie'' is an American television sitcom A sitcom, clipping Clipping may refer to: Words * Clipping (morphology) In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every a ...
'' (2006), '' Louie'' (2010–2015) and ''
Horace and Pete ''Horace and Pete'' is an American web series created, written, and directed by Louis C.K., who describes it as a tragedy. In addition to C.K., the series stars Alan Alda, Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco and Jessica Lange. Dealing with the themes of ab ...
'' (2016). He has hosted ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'' five times, in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017. He has also appeared in television shows such as ''Parks and Recreation'' and ''Portlandia (TV series), Portlandia''. C.K. has also starred in a number of films such as
Woody Allen Woody Allen (born Allan Stewart Konigsberg; November 30, 1935) is an American film director, writer, actor, and comedian whose career spans more than six decades and multiple Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Os ...

Woody Allen
's ''
Blue Jasmine ''Blue Jasmine'' is a 2013 American comedy-drama Comedy music, Comedy-drama, or dramedy, is a genre of dramatic works that combines elements of comedy and Drama (film and television), drama. In the United States Example include ''The Days a ...

Blue Jasmine
'',
David O. Russell David Owen Russell (born August 20, 1958) is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. His early directing career includes the comedy films ''Spanking the Monkey ''Spanking the Monkey'' is a 1994 American black comedy Black c ...
's ''
American Hustle ''American Hustle'' is a 2013 American black comedy crime film directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, inspired by the FBI Abscam operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It stars Christian Bale and A ...
'' (both 2013) and Jay Roach's
Hollywood blacklist The Hollywood blacklist was the colloquial term for what was in actuality a broader entertainment industry blacklist Blacklisting is the action of a group or authority, compiling a blacklist (or black list) of people, countries or other en ...
drama '' Trumbo'' (2015).


Comedy releases


Specials and albums


Appearances


Awards and nominations

For his work performing stand-up, writing, acting, directing, producing and editing, C.K. has received several awards and nominations. Among them are 39 Emmy Award nominations, with six wins. C.K. has won two Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, Grammy Awards for Best Comedy Album for ''Hilarious (film), Hilarious'' in 2011, and ''Live at Madison Square Garden'' in 2015. C.K. has also been nominated for two Golden Globes, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards winning one with the ensemble cast of ''
American Hustle ''American Hustle'' is a 2013 American black comedy crime film directed by David O. Russell. It was written by Eric Warren Singer and Russell, inspired by the FBI Abscam operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s. It stars Christian Bale and A ...
'' in 2013. C.K. has won three
Peabody Awards The George Foster Peabody Awards (or simply Peabody Awards or the Peabodys) program, named for the American businessman and philanthropist George Foster Peabody, George Peabody, honor the most powerful, enlightening, and invigorating stories in ...
in the area of Excellence in Entertainment for his shows, ''Louie'', ''Better Things'', and ''Horace and Pete''. For his work on ''Louie'' C.K. earned three Writers Guild of America Awards alongside his writing partner Pamela Adlon.


Notes


References


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:C.K., Louis 1967 births Living people 20th-century American comedians 20th-century American male actors 21st-century American comedians 21st-century American male actors 21st-century American male writers 21st-century American screenwriters Hispanic and Latino American male actors Hispanic and Latino American writers Actors from Newton, Massachusetts American agnostics American comedy writers American male comedians American male comedy actors American male film actors American male screenwriters American male television actors American male television writers American male voice actors American people of Hungarian-Jewish descent American people of Indigenous Mexican descent American people of Irish descent American people of Spanish descent American philanthropists American stand-up comedians American television directors American television editors American television writers Comedians from Massachusetts Comedians from Washington, D.C. Former Roman Catholics Grammy Award winners Kerrang! Awards winners Male actors from Massachusetts Male actors from Mexico City Male actors from Washington, D.C. Newton North High School alumni Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Screen Actors Guild Award winners Primetime Emmy Award winners Screenwriters from Massachusetts Screenwriters from Washington, D.C. Showrunners Television producers from Massachusetts Writers from Newton, Massachusetts Writers Guild of America Award winners