Ellen was originally supposed to be a recurring character but C.K. enjoyed Kim Hawthorne's work so much that he made her a cast member. Because she was hired as a recurring character, she did not have a contract with HBO. During pre-production on the second season, Hawthorne wanted to leave the series to work on a pilot. C.K. convinced HBO to pay Hawthorne for the entire second season to keep her. The second season was never produced.
According to Louis C.K., the series had better ratings than Deadwood (2004), but a certain HBO executive hated the show and pushed for it to be cancelled. The executive felt that the show's working class image did not fit with the network's high class image.
According to C.K., the sparse apartment set and the banter between Louie and Kim was inspired by The Honeymooners (1955). C.K. used the actual blueprints of The Honeymooners set when having his set built.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, issued a press release calling the series "barbaric". Louis C.K. confronted Donohue on the "Opie & Anthony" radio show. Donohue admitted that even though his name was on the press release, he had never seen an episode of the show.
Every episode included a disclaimer spoken by Louis C.K. or Pamela Adlon stating "Lucky Louie was taped before a live audience". According to C.K., critics and viewers still complained about the use of an artificial laugh track despite the disclaimer.
C.K. consulted with Norman Lear during pre-production because the look of the series is based on Lear's sitcoms from the 1970's. Lear told C.K. that he wanted his sitcoms videotaped because it gave the shows a sense of immediacy.