Sardonic multi-hyphenate entertainer (comedian, actor, writer, producer, director and editor) Louis C.K. recently returned to the city where he was born (our nation’s capital) to perform the first of two stand-up specials for Netflix this year. The teaser for C.K.'s 2017 shows him exiting a limo and then suiting up for the event at the DAR Constitution Hall—in an actual suit and tie. The tagline promises he will muse on religion, eternal love, giving dogs drugs, email fights, teachers and more.
As fans anticipate watching C.K.’s new material, here are five facts about the funnyman’s life.
English is not his first language
C.K., who was born Louis Székely, in Washington, D.C., moved with his family to his father's native Mexico when he was a year old. After his parents split up, his mother moved back to the U.S. (just outside of Boston) with him and his three siblings when he was seven years old. He credits this as the reason he avoided the distinctive Boston accent, about which, in his 2015 special, Louis C.K. Live at the Comedy Store, he said: “It’s not an accent. It’s a whole city of people saying most words wrong.” He retains his Mexican citizenship to this day.
He's a sailorman
In 2012, he took his two daughters out for a jaunt up the Hudson River on Labor Day weekend and inadvertently grounded his vessel across from Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park as the tide was going out. They were stuck in the mud from early afternoon until after midnight when the tide came back in. Police officers on their own boat came to help, but could not get close enough without getting stuck themselves. Concerned for his children, one officer went to Whole Foods and brought the family a small feast—and they enlisted a nearby fisherman to help C.K. secure a line to hoist the bag onto the boat.
He calls NYC home
C.K. has called New York City home since he settled here as a comic in 1989. In the early days, he struggled to pay rent, but now owns several properties in the city. In December 2016, he bought his fifth Greenwich Village apartment. He already co-owned four apartments (in the same brownstone) in the same neighborhood with his ex-wife artist Alix Bailey. He also owns a vacation home on Shelter Island in Long Island Sound called Primrose Cottage, which once hosted legendary Yankee ball player Babe Ruth for a summer.
He’s a comedy business innovator
These days, it’s pretty common for comedians to avoid the middlemen and put their work up for sale themselves. But it may be less commonly known that this practice started with C.K. He radically changed the way the comedy business works when he distributed his special, Live at the Beacon Theatre, (which he produced and directed himself) and sold it exclusively on his website as a digital download for only $5. He also bypassed traditional distribution and eschewed any outside funding in exchange for complete creative control. His decision to go this unconventional route proved to be an immediate success: The download-only special grossed over a million dollars in a few weeks. Following in Louie’s trailblazing footsteps, many comedians, including Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr and Jim Gaffigan, have since followed this same business model. He also began selling and distributing tickets via his website for his comedy tours in October 2012. Despite some initial skepticism about his sales strategy, his shows began selling out immediately and he retains control over pricing and cuts down on scalping.
His production company is called Pig Newton
The company name is a reference to an argument Louis had with his youngest daughter (when she was three years old) over the proper term for Fig Newtons. The logo looks sort of like a dollar bill that features a black-and-white picture of a pig wearing a powdered wig and an apple on his head and the words "Pig Newton, Inc." Above the text it has the words: "We make television that almost doesn't stink." Via Pig Newton, Inc., C.K. has produced his award-winning FX series, Louie, as well as Horace and Pete; he also serves as an executive producer on Tig Notaro’s Amazon comedy One Mississippi and the FX comedies Baskets and Better Things.