|Alix Bailey||(? - 2008) (divorced) 2 children|
Cynical sense of humor
His father, Luis, is of Mexican and Hungarian descent and his mother, Mary Louise Szekely, is of Irish descent. His parents met as students at Harvard University. After his birth, his family lived in Mexico City until he was seven years old. His family then settled in Massachusetts.
His real surname, Szekely, is a common Hungarian surname pronounced SEK-kay. When he was young, he changed the pronunciation to SEE-kay because people always had trouble pronouncing it.
Spanish was his first language.
His first name is usually pronounced "Loo-ee".
His first job was as a cook at a KFC.
After high school, he was offered admission into New York University's Tisch School of the Arts but he did not bother to apply.
His father was an economist and his mother was a computer programmer.
He has three sisters.
Is a big fan of Miles Davis.
Cousin of Mario P. Székely.
Trains in boxing with Micky Ward.
Attended Newton North High School in Newton, Massachusetts.
Was roommates with Marc Maron early in their careers.
Is good friends with Chris Rock. Rock offered him the position of head writer on "The Chris Rock Show" (1997) but he turned it down for "The Dana Carvey Show" (1996). Carvey's show was short-lived and C.K. ended up as a staff writer on Rock's show.
He holds dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico.
I just always loved comedy and I really wanted to be good at it. And it was heartbreaking, 'cause I started and I wasn't good at it. I was only 17-years-old, so I had a lot to learn about life in general. But I just kept on trying. I was young enough and stupid enough and I had no other choice. I had nothing else I was good at.
I remember I was in Sacramento doing a TV morning show to promote a comedy club I was working at and the host asked me, "So, uh, you work with Chris Rock. I wouldn't think you'd be a guy that works with Chris Rock!" And I said, "You mean because I'm white?" And he went, "Whoa, whoa, whoa! I wasn't going there!" And I said, "Well what else do you mean? Why else would you say that?" And he said, "Well, because if I saw you walking down the street, I just wouldn't say, 'I bet that guy works with Chris Rock.'" And I said, "Yeah... because I'm white!" "No, no!! I'm not being... " And it was just pointless. And that was the whole interview basically!
You know what, it's a mysterious question to me. Chris is a comedian from New York, and so am I. And we did a show together ("The Chris Rock Show" (1997)) and I had this idea for this movie and we made it. I mean I'm half Mexican actually; my dad is Mexican. All of that race identity doesn't really mean anything to me. - when asked "How did a white guy end up making Pootie Tang (2001)?"
I do have very deep, fond memories of my family in Mexico City, but I also remember feeling funny for not speaking English - I was basically an immigrant. But I picked up the language fast and soon I knew that I wanted to be a writer.
My last name is Szekely. Sounds like Saykay. When I was a little kid I had an instructor in camp who called me Shnizneckely. He would make fun of my name and it hurt my feelings because I was a little pussy and I cried. He said, 'Well, how do you say it?' I said, Seekay. So he wrote 'C.K' on my jersey and everything. He made my name 'C.K' and I just stuck with it.
Dating is horrible, it's awful. I don't get it. It's like you're standing there: 'Hi. Do you want to have sex and later wish you hadn't?' It's horrible. And it's awkward at 42 because I don't have the body or the drive. I just sit in the car and hope somebody gets in.
I don't like waking up. I feel like staying in bed usually, but I can't because I've got two kids standing next to my bed, just eager to live another day.
After you do standup for for, like, five years, you're kind of screwed because you have no other skills. You can't get other jobs. It's like being in prison: you're not suitable for any other career.
I'm close to my audience. I think I have more tools in my box than other guys who might try it. Also, I know how to do this stuff. I know how to write and shoot and edit. I'm technically adept and that helped with the website. You need a big skill set.
I've had, what, two years? Probably five good years. Before that I had twenty years of uncertainty and suffering and ego destruction and poverty. All those things. That'll always outweigh the good times.
[on "Louie" (2010)] If they don't let me do it the way it should be done, I just won't do it. And one thing that enables me to do that is that I can go on the road and do comedy. I can just go do standup. I don't need this shit. I really don't... This is the greatest thing that ever happened to me but I don't need it. And I'm eternally grateful to [FX] for letting me do it this way. I don't know why they gave me this much freedom. If I was running FX, I would have never given me what they've given me. It was irresponsible.
I like pressure. Pressure doesn't make me crack. It's enabling. I eat pressure, and there might be times when I get a bad feeling in my gut that this might be too much, but you feel pressure when you're not doing something, you know? When you're getting ready for something, you feel pressure-when you're anticipating. But when you're constantly in activity, there's no time for pressure to just sit there and make you crack.
[on the success of "Louie" (2010)] The show has been a precious thing to me, and it's been something I'm horribly grateful for. It's just such a big deal to me that I'm getting to do this. I'm aware of how fleeting it is. I'm aware that, at best, it'll go eight years, and that a year after those eight years are over, it'll feel like a distant memory. I'm aware of that.
[on having complete control of "Louie" (2010)] To me, it's not that I control a bunch of people, it's just that nobody controls me. There's nothing above me except responsibility to the product. That's the ultimate responsibility, is if the show sucks, then what was the fucking point of being in charge? I'm right about these things on the show, and when I'm not, it's interesting to watch me be wrong. I don't think you have to be perfect, you just have to be compelling in the work you do.
I've had two great years, probably five good years. So I had 20 years of just kind of uncertainty and suffering and ego destruction and poverty. All these things. There's no way I'm ever going to catch up to the misery years. It's impossible.... If I don't do anything dumb or I don't get a disease or something, and then I've got to five to eight years I think where it'll really be great and then it will start to degenerate like uranium, you know?
[on his deal with FX for "Louie" (2010)] No one on the planet Earth has what I have right now. No one ever has. And I don't know that I ever will again.
Human kindness has no reward. You should give to others in every way you see. You should expect absolutely nothing from anyone. It should be your goal to love every human you encounter. All human suffering that you're aware of and continues without your effort to stop it becomes your crime. Humans are always evolving. If you do one thing that if done by every human would destroy the world, that makes you Hitler... I don't live by any of those. But I believe them all very strongly.
[on his jokes about his children] I definitely heighten everything for the material, you know? I don't act the way that I do onstage at home. I feel maybe 5% of what I say on stage and then I amplify it because it's fun. It's a release. But in real life I'm very patient with my kids. I don't have any animosity towards them and they're constantly fascinating. They don't bother me! And I love being with them and I'm very responsible with them. I take a lot of care with them. But that's not the way I am on the show. On the show I act the way I really feel, which is, fucking get me outta here! But that's only sometimes. And I think all parents feel that way.
[on Pootie Tang (2001)] It comes from way back when I was a kid and I used to enjoy talking nonsense. But I used to try to talk nonsense believably, you know what I mean? Like I'm really communicating, and not just talking a string of gibberish. It's something I used to do all the time: "Hey, it's a tippi tai a ma tammy fae." I just used to talk like that. Then I started trying to think of a sketch for Chris Rock, and I came up with the notion of a guy who's so cool, he doesn't even speak English, but he exudes this coolness and this ease, and Chris buys into it and doesn't question it, and just chats with him. The notion to me was that someone could just be flipping around and see this, and it would take them a few beats to see that these guys aren't saying anything.
[on the failure of Pootie Tang (2001)] They wanted Austin Powers, plain and simple, for black people. They wanted a brightly lit, easy, punchy comedy, and that's not what I wrote and not what I directed. I directed something with a little more texture to it, I think, and a little more grit. Another problem was that I thought we were making a low-budget movie that would go to Sundance, and everyone would say "How did you do this for $4 million? There's a car chase, there's all this stuff." But they didn't promote it that way. They just said, "Here's Paramount's next movie." So a lot of critics said, "This is the most irresponsible piece of..." They hated it.
[on the cult status of Pootie Tang (2001)] There's a lot in that movie I love. It makes me happy that a world I created and wrote and shot made people happy and then lived on. After all, there aren't many other movies from that year that people still want to see now. But still, there's some regret as to how it came out, and things like that. It was worth it, though, because it was probably the most significant education of all the surviving-failure lessons I've gotten. Also, I think the success it's had proves that there's a little more to what I was saying than they thought. I think that if they had let me have even a little more freedom, it could have been more of a success.
[on his material about fatherhood] I started talking about it on stage a lot, just to blow off steam. I never thought I'd do material about kids, but I started getting really stressed out and not sleeping a lot. It's a very difficult thing, way harder than anything I've described to you so far. And the stakes are so much higher and more exhilarating and wonderful and all that. I started talking about it onstage and being very dark in the way I talk about my kid, saying things like, "I can understand these babies-in-the-garbage-can stories now. I wouldn't do it, but I understand it." I figured I'd just get booed, but that it'd be worth it, because I needed the release. I found that parents were coming up to me and saying, "Oh, we love this stuff."
[on whether he considers himself a Latino] Latino is kind of... racial labels can be confusing. I am a Mexican American. My dad's Mexican. That was my first language and I lived there. I definitely identify more with being American because that's mostly how I grew up. And a lot of Latino comedians are from like Southern California, that kind of thing. And I don't speak Spanish, at least not on stage. Although I have thought it would be fun if I could get my Spanish back to where it was, to do comedy in Spanish, it would be fun.
[on Tig Notaro's onstage chronicling many recent tragic events in her life] I was crying and laughing and listening like never in my life. Here was this small woman standing alone against death and simply reporting where her mind had been and what had happened and employing her gorgeously acute stand-up.
[on receiving applause at start of his HBO's special] I don't necessarily agree with you, but I appreciate it very much.
I think that failing at Pootie Tang (2001) is why this show ["Louie" (2010)] is good. It's one of the reasons. It's that and a huge - just an army of failures that have wrecked my life, made me good at this. I got to make a movie finally, which was my dream, and it was terrible, and then it got made even more terrible, and then it came out, and I was just hated. I mean, the first time I was known by a lot of people was because I made a bad movie. And I remember watching Roger Ebert say -- I grew up watching Roger Ebert doing movie criticism, and he said, 'I can't even say this is a bad movie, because it's not even complete. It's incomplete. It's not even a movie.' It was the worst. I think it's probably the worst review he ever gave to a movie... But the great thing is that after maybe a week, it just goes away, and all you're left with is the forensic evidence of all the mistakes you made and all of the rocks that you've kind of crashed into, and you're left with this beautiful map of where all the dangers are, and you repair all the holes, and then you're so much better.
Life's too short to be an asshole, as an employer or as an employee.
To me, comedies are usually the least funny movies. Movies that are actually a comedy are usually not all that funny. To me Goodfellas (1990) and Raging Bull (1980) are two of the funniest movies I ever saw.
The "Jackass" (2000) movies are honestly some of the best movies I've ever seen. I laugh so hard at them. Those guys are geniuses. If they had grown up with a different group of people, they could've been performance artists at Bard College, and people would be writing papers about them.
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