Comedian and creator of the show Louis C.K.'s response to the outcry? "So what?" Which is typical of his say-anything demeanor. The star recently jumped on the phone to talk about this latest run of all-new episodes, which are proving to be even more radical than the past two seasons of this award darling and fan favorite sitcom.
Check out a handfull of clips, and then read on for what's to come in the following weeks.
First, he talked about the progression of his stand-up act over the years and especially how its changed since the show first aired two years ago.
"Standup-wise, I'd been doing it for about 20 years when I sort of figured it out. That's just kind of how long it takes. And also, you grow up. I have kids now, and that puts real, actual-life pressure on you rather than just some guy kicking around with a show-business career. There's not much to draw from there. So I think that made a difference. And technically, I've learned that being in good shape, having good legs and wind is good for being onstage...If you're in shape and have endurance. I learned some things from different guys. Chris Rock taught me to always look up; you don't look down at your feet. A lot of comedians want to look down at their feet. You break contact with the audience. So he told me just a really simple fact of the whole thing, which is just look at the back of the room. Don't look at the front row; look at the back row.
I love standup. I love comedians. They're my community. And also, I guess, because I know so many of them, I know the value of them. I know what they can do. Comedians work great as actors because they're good under pressure. A lot of actors you have to sort of make them feel like everything's going really well to get a good performance out of them. But if you have a comedian on the set, you can tell them, "Hey, you really are screwing this up," and then they just get better. So they're valuable that way. And I loved bringing Steven Wright and Richard Lewis to my show in Chicago. That was really fun to do. They paid me a lot for the show, so I figured, "I don't need all this money. I'd rather have a great, great bunch of opening acts."
In terms of Louie here, in Season 3, Louis C.K. is still in charge of writing, starring, directing, and editing. He wouldn't have it any other way.
"I love doing all of it. It's all stuff that I really enjoy. It is really hard, but it's not too hard to do. I like it. I like being full every day with stuff I have to do. And also, I've learned about management of time and brain, so it's just something I...You got to get good at it, at doing a bunch of things at once and not thinking about things you're not doing while you're doing other things. You have to be disciplined about not trying to do everything all at the same time. But yeah, it's hard. It's hard and fun. I think you just have to be new all the time, and different. You can't do the same thing all the time."
Louis C.K. does promise some great guest stars in the near future.
"I got a lot of great people this year. I won't tell you all of them, but Melissa Leo is in the second episode. F. Murray Abraham comes back; he's one of my favorite guys ever. Robin Williams does a thing on the show later in the seasonJerry Seinfeld is on the show. There are a lot of guest stars that are piling up, and I'm excited about it.
I love Melissa Leo very much as an actor, and so she was in my head. When I wrote the thing that she's in, I wrote it in my head for the kind of women I knew in Boston growing up, and then it just hit me...Melissa Leo would be amazing. It was very simple: we sent it to her reps, and in a few days she said yes. She just really responded to the material, and she showed up and took it very seriously. She really approached it the way I wanted her to as an actress, you know? On my show, there's not really a comedy muscle you have to use. We play most of the scenes kind of real or we play them straight for comedy rather than, you know, our eyebrows don't all go up like they do on most sitcoms, so somebody like her is perfect for my show.
It's all strictly scripted. We don't really improvise on my show. I guess if she would've had any problems, she wouldn't have shown up. But she was eager...It was hard for her to get into our set. She was shooting something in New Orleans, so we flew her in for a quick two days, and we had to sort of jam everything into two days. But that's how much she wanted it. She really wanted to do it.
Jerry Seinfeld is in-not the last three, but the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth episodes of this season are going to be a whole story of their own. It's going to be basically a three-part story, and it's kind of the biggest...It's what we put the most effort into, and Jerry is in that. I don't want to say anything about any of it because it's got a lot of guest stars, and a lot happens. It's a big turn for the character and for the show. It's a cool, fun story. I just don't want to talk about it. But Jerry did a part in that, and what he did was very different than what you're used to seeing Jerry do. Jerry turned in a really, really great performance. I was really happy."
Louis C.K. promises that he won't wallow in misery the entire season. In fact, he took his crew on a road trip.
"The Miami episode was so fun for our whole crew. We all got a trip to Miami, but it was very hard work because we went all over the city. But yeah, I loved celebrating Miami. All the music is original. That's all music that we made with our musicians. A lot went into creating the colors and the energy of Miami, and we have this young actor who had never really acted, and he did a really great job. But yeah, I spend enough time onscreen looking hangdog and depressed, so I think it was okay to let me smile and chase a chicken for a minute."
Louis C.K. finally spoke more about the controversy surrounding his on-screen ex-wife.
"The show needs to keep going, and so I'm introducing new elements each year. I try to do something new that's new to the show. The stories that I wrote really led me to her. The show has really broken off into fiction much more in the last year and this year, and so it's really not drawing from my life so much anymore. This ex-wife character is completely not anything like my real ex-wife. When I was drawing from my own life, I didn't want to have the story be about an ex-husband and ex-wife. That relationship wasn't what I wanted to write about. But I arrived at a version of it for this character that I thought was really good, this woman who's well put together and kind of an added pressure to his life. And the actress was so good. A lot of the stuff that we do on the show, I'm not sure I'm going to do it until I see who's playing it. It's part of having the freedom without a network, that you don't have to run all the scripts and casting by people. I wrote a script with her in it, and I had the casting people go look for someone, and I told them open it way up and just bring anybody. And I really liked what this woman did, so I decided to stick with the character.
The actress being as good as she was, the character felt right. And I guess I didn't care. I guess to me the racial thing is like...I think when people probably first see her, their brains do a little bit of DNA math and go, "I'm not sure I get how that would happen." And then I think with my show, most people, they go, "Oh, alright. Just go ahead," and then they watch the scene. The thing that's important is what's getting said. I think that her performance is really compelling and I just like that. I like what that character brings out in the story and in me on the show, so to me that trumped whatever logistical notion.
She's really direct, and she's very self-possessed, and she has got a great demeanor for somebody who has moved on in life. That's what she feels like to me, like she has moved on in life, and she's on a good new chapter. And I think she looks like she's in a better new chapter than me as far as us having shared a chapter earlier, so I think that is a good contrast."
Louie airs Thursday nights at 10:30 pm, only on FX.