Training for Guffaws: Louis C.K’s Secret

I’ve haven’t written on here in a while, and I’m sorry for that. It turns out that life in New York City is actually quite draining, and instead of instantly becoming famous and drinking choco-tinis with that horse Matthew Broderick is married to, you just come home and fall asleep.

I was lucky enough to go see Louis C.K perform an hour and a half of comedy at this tiny venue called “The Bell House” on Monday. It cost ten dollars and the ticket literally said “Louis C.K: Working On His New Hour of Material”. He came out and said that we were “falling on a grenade for later, higher paying audiences”, but I almost think that seeing him in this way was better than seeing the final product. It was fascinating and inspiring to see a comedian working out his comedy and finding what worked and what didn’t. Having already seen some of these bits earlier this year at the Comedy Cellar, I was amazed at how he had really re-arranged some of them to squeeze out all of the funny he could.

Louis has been a hero of mine in the past couple of years. His show, “Louie”, is probably one of the best things on television, and he is constantly figuring out new ways to avoid the corporate system that ties down most forms of art these days. It is because of him that I plan on actually writing in this blog more often from now on.


After the show, I stumbled upon this really interesting back and forth that Louis had with Doug Stanhope. In it, they talk about their lives, and more specifically, the way the treat their bodies. Louis said something that I thought was rather inspiring in this conversation, and without any further ado, I give you Louis’ wisdom.



“For me, it’s not really about weight loss. Training just makes me
sharper and mostly increases my endurance.

let me put it to you all this way: Trying to be a standup comedian for
a living, or beyond that, trying to pursue a life in comedy that has
longevity and bredth, is crazily hard.

Lots of folks say it takes 15, maybe 20 years to make a great comic.
Lots of people start out with a lot of talent but by the time they hit
that many years they’ve given up, become bitter and crusty or have died
from ill health and depression.

Outside of all that, it seems to me that if you’re trying to do
something extrordinary, which succeeding as a comedian is, if only by
virtue of the fact that almost no one pulls it off, then you should get
yourself into the best possible shape. I don’t mean looks, I don’t
mean weight. I maintain a pretty good belly. I just mean getting
yourself ready, steeling yourself, improving your abilities and
stregths as a person..

Given the odds of making it as a comedian, I am amazed at how little
effort so many comedians make, while complaining bitterly about their
lack of breaks. I mean, you should be thinking like an olympic athlete
but you think like dorito-eating high school brats, doing nothign and
expecting everything. Of course I’m not talking about YOU, whoever is
reading this. I’m talking about YOU, over there. Yeah.

Every time I run, I reach about fifty points in my run where I want to
quit. I reach about 100 points where I am SURE I’m going to quit. But
I keep going and when I finish, I’ve just proven to myself that I can
survive self doubt and exhaustioin. This is an invaluable tool for me
as a comedian, writer and producer. Everything I do is helped by
exercize. Even if I can’t spell it right.

One other thing, I NEVER listen to music when I run. This is my
reason: When I get to those points, going up a horrible hill, running
staright into a cold wind, I have to reach somewhere inside myself to
get through it. If I have an ipod suplying me with “Eye of the Tiger”
or some wonderful Cher song, then that gets me through. That’s no good
to me because next time I’m on a stage getting tired, or next time I’m
shooting number 9 of 20 shows or next time I just want to fucking eat a
bag of poison because I get sick of my life, I’d rather have whatever
tool I built inside myself on that hill, then have to listen to cher
every time.

Does that make any sense?

Now, I’m sure a lot of you young folks are thinking, “Fuck you, CK ,
Doug Stanhope does drugs and he is cool.” Well, you’e right. you
should do drugs. But this works for me.”




1 Comment

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One response to “Training for Guffaws: Louis C.K’s Secret

  1. Andrew pauli

    I learn to love running to only just to over come my hatred for myself and to stop living an easy life for 20 minutes or an hour. I love surprising myself when I say I’ll stop at that mail box or fire hydrant but I get there and my mind keeps me going.

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