Louis C.K. on Writing

Louis C.K. on Writing

After seeing Chewed Up a few years back, Louis C.K. became my favorite comedian (if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor). On the stand-up front, he’s at the top of his game. Untouchable. Unfortunately, his films, well, they don’t leave the same impression. 1 So, I was pleasantly surprised when I caught his latest show on FX, Louie. It’s sharp. It’s dark. It’s hilarious. Sometimes, it’s all three at once. What’s even more incredible is that Louis writes and directs the show himself, occasionally editing it on his Macbook Pro. 2 A modern-day Renaissance man with a penchant for Cinnabons.

Act Four has an interview with Louis, touching on his writing process:

I try to write as much as I can before we go into production. I don’t have a staff, so I don’t have the same process as other shows. I don’t “break” stories, like other sitcoms, where you put the show up on a timeline and you discuss it and make sure it’s functioning as a an engine before you write it. Then you piece it out and somebody writes this part or writes all of it; then you table it and the whole table gives notes and words to improve it. And usually all of those notes change the structure so you sort of re-break the story with the dialogue already in place and then you put in the jokes, sort of at the end.

But I write it all myself so I don’t do that. I have stories rolling around in my head and usually I’ll have a surge of realizing what it is and where it’s supposed to go — and then I’ll just sit down and just shit it out, I just write it. 3

There you go. Let this be a lesson to all aspiring writers out there: shit it out every day.

Check out the FX Network website, where you can view entire episodes of Louie.

  1. Re: Pootie Tang & I Think I Love My Wife.
  2. “Louie (TV Series).” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 07 Aug. 2011. Link.
  3. “Louis C.K. Interview — Writing and Directing “Louie” on FX | Act Four Screenplays.” Act Four Screenplays. 3 Aug. 2011. Web. 03 Aug. 2011. Link.
William Robert Rich
William Robert Rich

William Robert Rich is a story analyst, screenwriter, and co-author of Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He's currently based in Austin, Texas.

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