When Louis CK began writing on staff at “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” he was 30 years old and not the household name in US comedy he is today, but in a recent interview he speaks about how although he was young and inexperienced, writers and producers on the show heeded his advice.
Famously, the first episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” started with Conan attempting suicide in his dressing room after receiving some pretty bad pep talks. It was all down to Louis that these series of sketches were stopped.
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Speaking to John Weiner Louis said “"He told me he was going to put a gun in his mouth, and I was the new guy, and I said, 'Are you really going to do that?' and they were like, 'You think that's too dark?' and I said, 'You can't do that, that's vicious, that's really hard for people to take,'" CK recently told interview Jonah Weiner . "I talked them out of it, and it was like they were asking me for permission. 'Really, is it too much?' 'Yeah, guys, that's crazy.' A gun in the mouth, Jesus."
Although Louis only had experience in short films, a short TV sketch job, and a decade of standup, Conan and Robert Smigel listened to him.
Looking back on the gig now he remembers it fondly saying, “It was hard to do, it hurt. It was hard to do that, but I loved the work, I loved it, and Robert let me do anything I wanted to, anything…I got to shoot some really elaborate, crazy shit there, and it's something I learned how to do: live comedy, sketch comedy with an audience, and I hunkered down, watching it happen."
Since then, the comedian’s (who is of Irish and Mexican descent) profile has exploded. His popularity as a standup comedian and star of his own FX show, “Louie”, was brilliantly illustrated recently when he launched some new stand up material on his site.
Louis had expressed his annoyance at never receiving a royalty check for sales from standup specials so he decided to sell his material directly to his fans from his site. He made $1 million from his $5 material, in just ten days.
From the $1 million, he donated $280,000 to charities including the Fistula Foundation, Pablove Foundation, Charity: Water, Kiva, Green Chimneys, and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. Another $250,000 went to costs, and another $250,000 went to a “big fat bonus” for his staff members. The comedian paid himself $220,000, an amount he says is enough.
Here’s footage of Louis CK being interviewed on “Conan”:
Here’s Louis CK’s stand up: