Published in the June/July 2011 issue, on sale soon
In Louis's Infiniti G35, on the way to get a bite to eat at the Comedy Cellar in New York.
LOUIS C.K.: I love this car. Cars and cameras are the two things I let myself be materialistic about. I don't care about other stuff. I used to fix cars, so I like cars a lot.
SCOTT RAAB: You worked as a mechanic. Were you any good?
LCK: I enjoyed it, but I wasn't good. I got fired.
SR: Why'd they fire you?
LCK: I wasn't showing up on time, mostly. And I was working really slowly. I think I fucked a couple of things up. To be a real mechanic, you have to have proper training and buy these beautiful Snap-on tools you pay for like it's your car.
SR: When you got fired, what —
LCK: It was really sad and humiliating and I felt terrible. I really admired those guys. They were very nice to me and they were very good people, honest, blue-collar hardworking guys, and I'm showing up at 11, because I was doing stand-up at night.
SR: You were never a college-bound guy?
LCK: Nope. Just jobs. I thought about going to NYU film school — that was this ideal to me. But I didn't make any kind of grades in high school. My mother was a single mom, putting my three sisters through college, and I was such a bad student that I knew I had no right to take her money. But I loved being in classes and learning. I took in a huge amount of what I learned, but I had a feeling of always being behind and being in trouble.
SR: Trouble trouble?
LCK: Yeah. I did a lot of drugs when I was in junior high school — that kind of trouble. But I got that behind me. I started working at local-access cable and doing stand-up by the time I was 17, 18. I used to do college shows and I'd see these kids living this life I didn't live, and it hurt sometimes. I used to regret it — sometimes I still do. [Parking the G35 and walking to the club.]
SR: I just watched Pootie Tang again. It was on On Demand.
LCK: It won't fucking go away, that thing.
SR: Come on. It's still a lot of fun.
LCK: There's parts of the movie I really do like. I hate the way the movie ended up, but the best thing that can happen to a director is to go through the worst possible version first — losing the thing, being humiliated, having it come out to terrible reviews.
SR: Roger Ebert said it should never have been released.
LCK: He said it's not a movie — it's like somebody took pieces of a movie and put it together. That's exactly what they did. I sat there going, Oh, my God, this is the most trumpeted my name's ever been. This is how I'm getting known, how I'm being introduced. And I'll never make a movie again. And I haven't.
[At the club.]
SR: You want something to drink?
LCK: Club soda.
SR: I'll get a Coke. [To Louis] Are you going to direct a movie again? Do you want to?
LCK: I'd love to. The goal is to get a movie made the way I do the show. One of the great things about Louie [his latest TV show] being my own production with my own company is FX gives us the money and goes away. The advantage is I don't need any of this financially. I make more in five nights of stand-up than I do in a whole season of the show.
SR: You still enjoy the stand-up?
LCK: Oh, I love stand-up. It gave me the ability to do this show the way that I'm doing it. I said no to this gig a few times until it was the way I wanted to do it. The only pitch I have to movie people is the same as this one: Just give me $8 million. I'm not telling you what it's about and I'm not telling you who's in it.
LCK: Eight million bucks. It'll take about six months to finish it. But you don't get to know anything about it.
SR: What happened with Lucky Louie? I loved that show. Why'd HBO kill it?
LCK: I'm not sure. There's never one reason. I talked to Andrew Dice Clay a little while after it was canceled and he just shrugged and said, "Sometimes they got to get rid of something. That's the way it goes." And all the pain just disappeared.