This Emmy award-winning stand-up comic legend needs no introduction. Through his humorous and slapstick performances, Louis C.K. has earned respect and admiration in the entertainment world. With over 20 years of experience in his hand, he has shown exemplary success on live stage, movies and sitcom. His gifted talent has made him one of the most successful comedians in the world. He rose to fame with the FX series ‘Louie’, for which he turned writer, editor, director, executive producer, and actor as well. His scripts are usually based on observation, most of the incidents being derived from his marriage and children. With a number of comedy special shows aired on different channels, he has become a recognized face on the American television. Besides being a veteran stand-up comedian, he is also a successful writer and filmmaker. Moreover, he has acted in a handful of films in Hollywood, sharing screen space with some distinguished stars. He is known for his creative ways of selling tickets to his stand-up shows and letting his fans download his concerts from his website. Despite being a high-status celebrity, he never shies from attending tiny city clubs and bars and giving performances for free. He actively performs in concert tours across the United States and Europe.
Childhood & Early Life
Louis C.K. was born as Louis Szekely on September 12, 1967, in Washington D.C. to Mexican-Hungarian Luis Szekely and American-Irish Mary Louise Szekely. The family relocated to Mexico City when he was one.
The family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, when he was seven and when he was around 10, his parents divorced. Thus, he, along with his three sisters, was brought up by his single mother in Newton, Massachusetts.
It was during his early years that he decided to work in movies and television when his mother would return from work and look up to lackluster programs to unwind.
In 1985, he completed his schooling from Newton North High School and took up the job of an auto mechanic, before trying his hand at various odd jobs.
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In 1984, he debuted in stand-up comedy at a Boston comedy club’s open-mic night, where he performed for two minutes instead of the allotted five due to lack of material. Disheartened, he kept distance from comedy for two years.
Since comedy was not doing well in the late 1980s, he found hard to sustain his living, until he started performing with Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke, eventually getting paid for his shows.
In 1989, he relocated to Manhattan and was hired as a staff writer for ‘Caroline’s Comedy Hour’, after which he took up writing for ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’, in 1993, and became the first standup comedian to perform on the show.
He performed his comic act on various TV series, such as ‘Evening at the Improv’, ‘Comic Strip Live’, ‘Comic Search’, and ‘MTV Half Hour Comedy Hour’.
He debuted in writing and directing with his independent feature film ‘Tomorrow Night’ in 1998, which premiered on Showtime cable, though he self-released it in 2014.
In 2001, he wrote and directed his second feature film ‘Pootie Tang’, co-written by Chris Rock, which received negative reviews, but went on to become an offbeat piece. Since then, he hasn’t take up direction again.
His first hour-long special ‘Shameless’ was launched on HBO in 2007. The following year in 2008, he released his second hour-long comedy special ‘Chewed Up’ on Showtime.
In 2009, his stand-up concert film ‘Hilarious’ was the first such movie to be screened at The Sundance Film Festival and his third after ‘Ice Cream’ (1994) and ‘Tomorrow Night’ (1998). It was well received with excellent reviews.
In 2009, he created and starred in HBO’s first traditional sitcom ‘Lucky Louie’, hosted in the presence of studio audience. Even though the show earned good reviews, it was called off after the first season.
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His fourth full-length album ‘Live at the Beacon Theater’, produced and directed independently, released in 2011 on his website, generating over $1 million in less than two weeks.
He teamed up with Chris Rock again on two projects co-writing the screenplay – ‘Down to Earth’ (2001) and ‘I Think I Love My Wife’ (2007).
He appeared in the comedy show series ‘Parks and Recreation’, aired on NBC, playing a potential love interest to Amy Poehler’s character.
In 2013, his fifth one-hour comedy special ‘Oh My God’ was launched on HBO and was sold and distributed through his website.
He has acted in a number of movies, such as ‘Role Models’ (2008), ‘Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins’ (2008), ‘Diminished Capacity’ (2008), ‘The Invention of Lying’ (2009), ‘Blue Jasmine’ (2013) and ‘American Hustle’ (2013).
He has the credit of writing for shows - ‘The Dana Carvey Show’ and ‘The Chris Rock Show’, apart from delivering stand-up comedy acts on ‘Lopez Tonight’, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’, and ‘Late Show with David Letterman’, among others.
His third album ‘Hilarious’ was critically acclaimed and well accepted by the audience, and is considered it to be ‘one of the best stand-up comedy performances in the history of art’.
In 2010, his TV series ‘Louie’ was launched on FX, where he wrote, edited, directed and acted in all 13 episodes of each season. The show is a depiction of life experiences as a single, aging father through his stand-up comedy acts.
Awards & Achievements
In 1999, he won the Primetime Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program’ for his work on ‘The Chris Rock Show’.
His television comedy ‘Louie’ has won 14 awards out of 52 nominations under various awards, including Golden Globe Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, Television Critics Association Awards, and Writers Guild of America Awards.
His concert film ‘Hilarious’ was honored with the Grammy Award for ‘Best Comedy Album’ and the Comedy Award for ‘Stand-up Special’.
Comedy Central ranked him at number 98 in its ‘100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time’ list.
Personal Life & Legacy
He married New York based artist and painter, Alix Bailey in 1995. The couple had two daughters – Mary Louise Szekely and Kitty Szekely. The two ended their relationship with a divorce in 2008, though they share joint custody of their daughters.
His first language was Spanish while residing in Mexico and learnt English only after moving to Massachusetts. However, he has now forgotten Spanish, though he still holds the citizenship of Mexico along with the United States.
Since people had difficulty in pronouncing his Hungarian surname Szekely (pronounced Say-Kay), he changed it to C.K. (‘See-Kay’) during his early years.