Student of comedy

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Name: Louis C.K.

Age: 41

Years in Comedy: 25

Hometown: Boston

What does "C.K." stand for?

My [last] name is Hungarian and it's pronounced "See-kay," but it's spelled a lot longer, and more difficult. I had a camp counselor write my name "C.K." on all the rosters, so I remembered that.

You're what they call a comedian's comedian - a lot of comics come to see you perform. Is there any added pressure in that?

Definitely. It makes me want to do stuff they haven't seen yet, and it makes me want to surprise them. Obviously, when I'm in a room alone with an audience, I'm not going to leave anything on stage. I work as hard as I can. But there are moments, things that bring things you didn't expect. A bunch of comedians watching you is one of them.

What do you find funny?

I love stand-up comedy. I even love watching a s---ty comedian. I shouldn't say s---ty - a more common comedian. Every comic has something they are doing that somebody hasn't done, and has an interesting way to use the energy to work the room.

Larry the Cable Guy takes a lot of s--- off comedians who think they're smarter than him, but he came to New York last year and played Radio City Music Hall, and I went and saw the show. I was fascinated by, "What does Larry the Cable Guy do in New York City in a room that big?" I study comedy.

Your kids provide a lot of material for your set. Is that a stress reliever?

All of my frustration with my kids comes out of loving them intensely. If I didn't I would just leave. I really think you're not doing your job as parent unless you're bent over and you're sweaty and your hands are shaking and you're cursing under your breath wishing you were dead. I think that shows true love as a parent.

Do you ever bring back any "greatest hits" for your set?

I have bits that I did years ago that I stopped doing, that haven't been part of my act in a long time, that people pointed out to me recently [because] they really missed those bits. I did them when I was in my 20s, and now I re-approached them as a grown-up, and they're just way, way better and funnier. That was interesting.

Louis C.K.