Wednesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Louis C.K. talked about his new web series, Horace and Pete, for the very first time. Until now, the only public information about the series has come from Louis’ subscriber emails. “This is the first time I’ve told anyone, out loud with my voice, that the shows on the air,” he told Kimmel. For anyone who isn’t familiar, Horace and Pete is a webseries, that Louis C.K. created by himself, funded by himself, and is distributing, by himself through his webseries. Fans who subscribe to CK’s email list get notifications, and then they buy and watch the series directly from him on his website.
The project has been so hush hush. Even Jimmy Kimmel claims he found out about the series like the rest of us- through a mysterious subscriber email from his pal Louis C.K.
All of his co-stars and their agents were asked to keep it a secret– huge names like Steve Buscemi, and Edie Falco and Alan Alda and Jessica Lange, and Aidy Bryant. “I got all these people and said please don’t tell anybody you’re doing this show. And they asked, how are you going to promote it? And I said I’m not. I just want it to appear. I just want it to suddenly appear,” he said.
C.K. explained the reasoning behind the secrecy– he thought it would be excited if the show just appeared, with no information, expectations or ideas of what it would be like. “I hate when they tell me everything before I see a show. So you just get a thing, and you go ‘what?’ And you go on and you just start watching it.”
The show isn’t exactly a comedy. There’s no audience, no laugh track, and while it is funny at times, it’s definitely not happy funny. Kimmel called it a sitcom, but said nobody is laughing, and likened it to a depressed ‘Cheers’. Louis described it as “what the bar that Cheers was based on was probably really like between 2pm and 5pm. It’s about day drinkers and the bar they drink in.” And there’s a lot of “adult” language. There’s cursing and there’s racism, and there’s anger. Which bought the topic around to Alan Alda, who at 80 years old plays the part of Uncle Pete– brilliantly. C.K. said that Uncle Pete is one of his favorite characters he’s ever seen, anywhere (“This show- just for Alan Alda alone- it’s worth it. He became this dude”) but originally, he had concerns over whether Alda was right for the part.
C.K. told Kimmel that it was actually Alda’s idea to play Uncle Pete. “He’s Hawkeye, he’s a great man and he has an amazing storied history in television. I didn’t think he’d be the right guy for this,” Louis said. But Alda, he said, really wanted to try it. “And I thought, well if he’s willing to try it I want to see what happens, and anyway if its not good I just won’t show anybody.” Now, he says Uncle Pete is one of his favorite characters he’s ever seen, anywhere.
Directing big stars like Alda– particularly when you’re a fan of those stars– is difficult, C.K. said, but you have to have the balls to do it. “They’re all better than me. In every way,” he said. “But you can’t make them feel that way cause then they’re lost. They need direction. It’s a nightmare when the director’s a fan. This is work. You gotta have some balls to tell Alan Alda can you do that again. He’s a very sweet man, and he worked very hard.”
Watch the clips below and check out Horace and Pete on LouisCK.com. New episodes come out on Saturday mornings (as far as we know) and you can watch six episodes already available now.