Born on September 12, 1967, in Washington, D.C., Louis C.K. is a comedian and star of the cable television show Louie. He started performing stand-up comedy as a teenager. In the early 1990s, C.K. worked as a staff writer for Conan O'Brien. In 2010, he found success with his own sitcom Louie. He won an Emmy Award in 2012 for his work on the show.
Comedian Louis C.K. was born Louis Szekely on September 12, 1967, in Washington, D.C. His father, Luis, is of Mexican and Hungarian descent. His mother, Mary, is Irish Catholic. The two are said to have met while studying at Harvard University. After C.K. was born, the couple relocated to Mexico City. His family later moved to Massachusetts when he was 7. (C.K. reportedly still holds Mexican citizenship.) C.K.'s parents divorced when he was young, and his mother raised him and his three siblings in Newton, Massachusetts. According to the comedian, he became inspired to work in television after seeing his mother come home after a long day at work, only to have lackluster TV programs to choose from.
In his youth, the comedian changed the pronunciation of his name to "See-kay" because his Hungarian surname often confused people. He first tried stand-up comedy at age 17 at an open mic in Boston, but soon became discouraged after running out of material after three minutes. In 1985, he graduated from Newton South High School (whose other famous alumni include Matt LeBlanc and John Krasinski). After high school, C.K. worked as an auto mechanic, and finally moved to New York City in 1989.
Louis C.K.'s arrival on the comedy scene in New York was ill-timed. Although comedy blossomed in the ’80s, by the turn of the decade it was on the decline and clubs in Manhattan had begun going out of business. He practiced his routine at empty venues, and auditioned unsuccessfully for Saturday Night Live. In his 20s, C.K. found himself struggling to pay the rent. One night he suffered a serious motorcycle accident—an event he has said marked a low point in his life.
Things began to turn around when C.K. got a job as a staff writer for the cable show Caroline’s Comedy Hour. In 1993, he worked as a writer on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, helping craft the talk-show host’s very first sketch. He later wrote for The Dana Carvey Show and The Chris Rock Show. He also wrote and directed the 2001 comedy Pootie Tang. Upon its release, Roger Ebert wrote, “Pootie Tang is not bad so much as inexplicable. You watch in puzzlement: How did this train wreck happen?” C.K. characterizes the film as a flawed movie that only got worse when the studios tried to fix it.
In 2006, he created and starred in the HBO show Lucky Louie, which was cancelled after only one season. Shortly after, C.K. released a string of comedy specials, including Live at the Beacon Theater, which he sold on his website. After less than two weeks, sales topped $1 million and the comedian announced he would donate $280,000 to charity.
In 2010, his show Louie premiered on FX, with C.K. writing and directing all 13 episodes per season. The show has earned him many accolades and several Emmys, including 2011, 2012 and 2014 wins for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. He started a national comedy tour in October 2012, for which he also distributed tickets via his website. Despite some skepticism about his sales strategy, his shows began selling out immediately.
In addition to his hit sitcom and popular comedy tours, C.K. has appeared on other television shows as Parks and Recreation and in such films as American Hustle (2013). He also had his own comedy special Louis C.K. Oh My God on HBO in 2013.
Louis CK has appeared on a number of comedy series such as Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis, the late night TV circuit, and Saturday Night Live. In 2015 he earned an Emmy nod for his work on SNL and his show Louie, along with several writing nominations.
Louis C.K. was married to artist Alix Bailey, but the couple divorced in 2008. They share custody of their two daughters. Much of C.K.’s comedy draws from his life as a single, aging dad.
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