The cover story of today’s issue of New York Magazine features an in-depth interview with comedian and actor Louis C.K. The comic sat down with NY Mag’s David Marchese to discuss a myriad of topics: C.K’s feelings on Horace and Pete and how it was received, his opinions on the current presidential election, his thoughts on click bait and internet discourse, the rumors about him that Gawker circulated last year, and how cutting the internet out of his life has affected his masturbation tendencies.
The lengthy interview, which is cobbled together from two different conversations between C.K. and Marchese, also discussed politics, and his favorite comics right now (praising Samantha Bee as at the top of the game, and also naming stand-ups Michelle Wolf (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Comedy Central’s Used People) and political satirist and author Barry Crimmins (whom C.K. just shot an upcoming special for) as some of the stand-out faces of comedy right now. That’s high praise coming from who many regard as one of the best stand-up comics to ever take the stage.
The comic also mused on the prevalence of click-bait and the intellectual-laziness that it promotes, at which point Marchese addresses the elephant in the room and brings up the rumors that circulated about C.K. (that he had allegedly exposed and masturbated himself “in front of women at inappropriate times”) via the gossip blog Gawker. C.K. had the opportunity to deny the rumors head on, but instead, gave a vaguer answer.
“Well, you can’t touch stuff like that. There’s one more thing I want to say about this, and it’s important: If you need your public profile to be all positive, you’re sick in the head. I do the work I do, and what happens next I can’t look after. So my thing is that I try to speak to the work whenever I can. Just to the work and not to my life.” Opting not to confirm or deny these rumors, even when asked directly about them, is at once both surprising and totally like C.K.
On the subject of Horace and Pete, C.K. walked back his previous comments that it was the best thing he’d ever done and said that it was actually neck and neck with his FX show, Louie. “Louie probably is the best thing I’ve ever done, but this is the newest, and when things get in your rearview mirror creatively you don’t care about them anymore. So Horace and Pete feels vital. It has a big energy for me because it’s so different. But when I think about it now, those two shows are probably tied for first.”
Later the comic admitted that spending so much time filming Louie and Horace and Pete meant putting stand-up on the back burner, and that his prowess has suffered as a result. In his response, C.K. stated that he’s going to get back into stand-up full time, and may have confirmed that he’s actually, finally done with Louie (something he’s hinted at in the past but never fully admitted):
“The best I ever was as a stand-up was 2006 to 2011. That was when I just toured all year round and made a special every year. I was dedicated and obsessed with stand-up. I was so good then. Ever since then I’ve been damned good but not as good, because I’ve been making my TV show and doing stand-up in the off-season. So after Horace and Pete, I decided I’m not going to shoot Louie anymore, and I’m on tour now. I was developing the material in clubs constantly, going to L.A. and doing the Comedy Store twice a night. I’ve got a murderous 80 minutes of material right now. ”
The interview’s topics range far and wide, and C.K. provides some incredibly candid and insightful answers throughout. Any fan of comedy would do well to read it, so do yourself a favor and check out the full interview here.