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Lucky Louis

10 Things You Might Not Know About Louis C.K.

Louis visits Portlandia tonight at 10P on IFC.

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Louis C.K. seems to be everywhere these days, whether he’s dropping sitcoms out of nowhere, stealing the spotlight at the Oscars or hanging out with comedy nerds Fred and Carrie on this week’s Portlandia. But for a man who’s become this ubiquitous, fronting confessional stand-up specials and running autobiographical TV series, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the guy. Here are a few surprising things about the stand-up extraordinaire that even a super fan like you may have missed.

10. He’s an “Accidental White Person”

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With his fiery red hair and pasty white skin, Louis doesn’t exactly scream Hispanic. And yet, Louis is as much Mexican as he is anything else. He actually spent the first seven years of his life south of the border, only learning to speak English when his family moved to the States. His real name is Louis Szekely, coming from his father’s Hungarian/Mexican side of the family. He changed it to the abbreviated C.K. because no one ever knew how to pronounce his name. Much like America, Louis is a melting pot. Who knew?


9. He Once Asked Donald Rumsfeld If He Was a Lizard Person.

Louis has been a regular on the Opie and Anthony radio show for years, amassing over a hundred hours behind the mic. But no visit got more attention than when he asked former Secretary of Defense and Iraq War architect Donald Rumsfeld if he was a “lizard person.” What makes the exchange even more noteworthy is that Rumsfeld never actually denied he was one. Cue The X-Files music, because Louis just went full Mulder on us.


8. He Was The First Stand-up Ever on Conan.

Louis was one of the first writers hired when Conan O’Brien succeeded David Letterman as host of Late Night. In those early days, the show struggled to book guests, thus the repeated appearances of Tony Randall and the Zappa brothers. This dearth of options led to one of Louis’ big breaks. What do you do when you’re short a guest and have time to kill? You shove whoever’s siting around the office on camera and hope for the best. That’s how Louis (back when he had a full head of hair) became the first stand-up to perform on Late Night w/ Conan O’Brien.


7. His Boxing Trainer is Micky Ward of The Fighter fame.

Micky Ward

In 2008, Louis was going through a rough patch. His marriage had fallen apart, and his HBO sitcom Lucky Louis had been canceled. Out of shape mentally and physically, he began to feel like all this turmoil was taking a toll on his act. And so he did what any of us would, and hired Micky Ward, the boxer made famous by Mark Wahlberg in the Oscar winning film The Fighter, to knock him into shape. Seeing similarities between stand-up and boxing, he felt it was important to “do the grunt work and the boring, constant training so that you’ll be fit enough to take the beating.”


6. He Confronted the President of the Catholic League Over an Insult…

FX Productions

FX Productions

Louis is never shy about offending people. He’ll say whatever he wants to make a point, or get a laugh. Most people love him for it, but Catholic League president Bill Donahue isn’t most people. He wasn’t a fan of Louis’ HBO sitcom Lucky Louie, calling it “barbaric.” What he wasn’t counting on was having to say it to the crass comedian’s face. When the two met, Louis confronted him on the insult, and got the pious politician to admit he’d never seen the show.


5. …And Also Apologized to Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin

Like we said, Louis is famous for a lot of things, but having a filter isn’t one of them. Add in a few cocktails and some free Wi-Fi on a long flight, and you’ve got a recipe for comedy gold, with a very serious hangover. Back in 2010, a lubricated Louis decided it was time to take down everyone’s favorite Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin. And oh boy did he, tweeting a lot of things we can’t repeat here. But years later, at the SNL 40th Anniversary, Sarah Palin approached him, and told him how funny she thought he was. Overcome with guilt, he blurted out an apology. Palin later said “maybe it surprises people, but I was sincerely humbled and appreciative.” And you know she means it, because that’s about the only thing she’s ever said that makes sense.


4. He Broke an Emmy Record While Simultaneously Getting Snubbed.

Louis Emmy

In 2012, Louis broke an Emmy record, raking in seven individual nominations for his work on the FX series Louie, along with his self-produced stand-up special Live at the Beacon Theatre. It was an impressive haul, which makes the fact that Louie failed to get nominated for Best Comedy that year all the more bewildering. Still, Louis was grateful, telling the New York Times, “that’s a lot of nominations. It feels selfish, because I was really rooting for everybody on my show, so I feel a little selfish.” He would go on to win two Emmys that year, three if Julia Louis-Dreyfus counts as a “Louis.”


3. He Has A Feeling Martians Crashed A Moon Into Earth.

Broadway Video Broadway Video

Back in 2014, Louis sent out a seemingly innocent tweet, reading, “I seriously just can’t think of anything to tweet. #sorry.” But when has Louis ever stopped because he didn’t have something to say? Before anyone knew what was happening, he began laying out a massive theory about how Martians abandoned their planet, destroyed by global warming, and used their moon as a spaceship to take them to Earth. Apparently, the Martians crashed the moon into our planet, killing everyone on board and causing our smaller moon to enter orbit. Not yet finished, he explained that he also felt that our solar system is a spaceship, and the sun is the engine, and someday we’ll find the button that will let us travel through the universe. It all sounds pretty solid to us. He ended his rant by letting us know “I’m not high.”


2. His Shoots Are More Student Film Than Sitcom.

FX FX

Unlike most other sitcoms, that have craft service budgets bigger than average Americans earn in a year, Louis likes to keep things pretty low rent. He used his own camera, a $17,000 RED, for the first few seasons of his show, before FX convinced him to let them buy him a new one. He also only shoots three days a week, because he has his daughters for the rest of the week and doesn’t want the show to interfere. Robin Williams, who guest starred on a episode, was so shocked and impressed by the bare bones approach Louis had adopted, he returned his paycheck so it could go to the crew.


1. He’s Got Joe Rogan’s Back.

Joe Rogan

Louis is one of the great comedians of our time, and as a result he’s been the victim of joke thieves for years. Most famously, he confronted Dane Cook in an intense episode of Louie over the comedian’s penchant for repeating his material. So when Joe Rogan, a fellow comic who’s waged war against joke thieves, came under fire, Louis had his back. Apparently, Joe and Louis shared a management company, along with famous joke thief Carlos Mencia. When their managers pressured Joe to quit harassing their cash cow, or face their wrath, Louis dropped them out of solidarity. Now, remind me, how many Emmys is Carlos pulling in these days? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

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Grow TFU

Adulting Like You Mean It

Commuters makes its debut on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Jared Warner, Nick Ciavarella, and Tim Dean were once a part of Murderfist, a group of comedy writers, actors, producers, parents, and reluctant adults. Together with InstaMiniSeries’s Nikki Borges, they’re making their IFC Comedy Crib debut with the refreshingly-honest and joyfully-hilarious Commuters. The webseries follows thirtysomethings Harris and Olivia as they brave the waters of true adulthood, and it’s right on point.

Jared, Nick, Nikki and Tim were kind enough to answer a few questions about Commuters for us. Here’s a snippet of that conversation…

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IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Nick: Two 30-somethings leave the Brooklyn life behind, and move to the New Jersey suburbs in a forced attempt to “grow up.” But they soon find out they’ve got a long way to go to get to where they want to be.

IFC: How would you describe Commuters to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jared: It’s a show about how f*cking stupid people who think they are smart can be.

IFC: What’s your origin story? When did you all meet and how long have you been working together?

Jared: Nick, Tim, and I were all in the sketch group Murderfist since, what, like 2004? God. Anyway, Tim and Nick left the group to pursue other frivolous things, like children and careers, but we all enjoyed writing together and kept at it. We were always more interested in storytelling than sketch comedy lends itself to, which led to our webseries Jared Posts A Personal. That was a show about being in your 20s and embracing the chaos of being young in the city. Commuters is the counterpoint, i guess. Our director Adam worked at Borders (~THE PAST!!~) with Tim, came out to a Murderfist show once, and we’ve kept him imprisoned ever since.

IFC: What was the genesis of Commuters?

Tim: Jared had an idea for a series about the more realistic, less romantic aspects of being in a serious relationship.  I moved out of the city to the suburbs and Nick got engaged out in LA.   We sort of combined all of those facets and Commuters was the end result.

IFC: How would Harris describe Olivia?

Jared: Olivia is the smartest, coolest, hottest person in the world, and Harris can’t believe he gets to be with her, even though she does overreact to everything and has no chill. Like seriously, ease up. It doesn’t always have to be ‘a thing.’

IFC: How would Olivia describe Harris?

Nikki:  Harris is smart, confident with a dry sense of humor but he’s also kind of a major chicken shit…. Kind of like if Han Solo and Barney Rubble had a baby.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Nikki:  I think this is the most accurate portrayal of what a modern relationship looks like. Expectations for what your life is ‘supposed to look like’ are confusing and often a let down but when you’re married to your best friend, it’s going to be ok because you will always find a way to make each other laugh.

IFC: Is the exciting life of NYC twentysomethings a sweet dream from which we all must awake, or is it a nightmare that we don’t realize is happening until it’s over?

Tim: Now that i’ve spent time living in the suburbs, helping to raise a two year old, y’all city folk have no fucking clue how great you’ve got it.

Nikki: I think of it similar to how I think about college. There’s a time and age for it to be glorious but no one wants to hang out with that 7th year senior. Luckily, NYC is so multifaceted that you can still have an exciting life here but it doesn’t have to be just what the twentysomethings are doing (thank god).

Jared: New York City is a garbage fire.

See the whole season of Commuters right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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C'mon Fellas

A Man Mansplains To Men

Why Baroness von Sketch Show is a must-see.

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Mansplaining is when a man takes it upon himself to explain something to a woman that she already knows. It happens a lot, but it’s not going to happen here. Ladies, go ahead and skip to the end of this post to watch a free episode of IFC’s latest addition, Baroness von Sketch Show.

However, if you’re a man, you might actually benefit from a good mansplanation. So take a knee, lean in, and absorb the following wisdom.

No Dicks

Baroness von Sketch Show is made entirely by women, therefore this show isn’t focused on men. Can you believe it? I know what you’re thinking: how will we know when to laugh if the jokes aren’t viewed through the dusty lens of the patriarchy? Where are the thinly veiled penis jokes? Am I a bad person? In order: you will, nowhere, and yes.

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Huge Balls

Did you know that there’s more to life than poop jokes, sex jokes, body part jokes? I mean, those things are all really good things, natch, and totally edgy. But Baroness von Sketch Show does something even edgier. It holds up a brutal funhouse mirror to our everyday life. This is a bulls**t world we made, fellas.

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Oh Canada

After you watch the Canadian powerhouses of Baroness von Sketch Show and think to yourself “Dear god, this is so real” and “I’ve gotta talk about this,” do yourself a favor and think a-boot your options: Refrain from sharing your sage wisdom with any woman anywhere (believe us, she gets it). Instead, tell a fellow bro and get the mansplaining out of your system while also spreading the word about a great show.

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Dudes, that’s the deal.
Women, start reading again here:


Check out the preview episode of Baroness von Sketch Show and watch the series premiere August 2 on IFC.

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Happy Tears

Binge Don’t Cringe

Catch up on episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia.

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Photo Credit: GIFs via GIPHY

A brain can only take so much.

Every five minutes, all day, every day, ludicrously stressful headlines push our mental limits as we struggle to adapt to a reality that seems increasingly less real. What’s a mind to do when simple denial just isn’t good enough anymore?

Radical suggestion: repeal and replace. And by that we mean take all the bad news that keeps you up at night, press pause, and substitute it with some genuine (not nervous, for a change) laughter. Here are some of the issues on our mind.

Gender Inequality

Feminist bookstore owners by day, still feminist bookstore owners by night, Toni and Candace show the male gaze who’s boss. Learn about their origin story (SPOILER: there’s an epic dance battle) and see what happens when their own brand of empowerment gets out of hand.

Healthcare

From Candace’s heart attack to the rise of the rawvolution, this Portlandia episode proves that healthcare is vital.

Peaceful Protests

Too many online petitions, too little time? Get WOKE with Fred and Carrie when they learn how to protest.

What Could Have Been

Can’t say the name “Clinton” without bursting into tears? Documentary Now!’s masterfully political “The Bunker” sheds a cozy new light on the house that Bill and Hill built. Just pretend you don’t know how the story really ends.

Fake News

A healthy way to break the high-drama news cycle is to switch over to “Dronez”, which has all the thrills of ubiquitous adventure journalism without any of the customary depression.

The more you watch, the better you feel. So get started on past episodes of Documentary Now! and Portlandia right now at IFC.com and the IFC app.

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