In a 4.7 N.Y. Times interview with Dave Itzkof, Louis C.K. is asked to compare his surging career (his “Oh, My God” HBO special, the digital-download success of “Live at the Beacon Theatre,” a role in David O. Russell‘s ABSCAM film) with the opportunities and accomplishments of lesser-known performers. And he says something about the difficulty of making it that hits home.
Itzkoff: “Does it matter that what you’ve achieved with your online special and your tour…[that this] can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Louis C.K.: “Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?”
Itzkoff: “You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.”
Louis C.K.: “So why do I have the platform and the recognition?”
Itzkoff: “At this point you’ve put in the time.”
Louis C.K.: “There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say ‘it’s not fair, you have all that stuff.’ I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by ‘new at it’ I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction.”
I’ve been doing an online column for almost 15 years now (the Mr. Showbiz column started in ’98), and the online adventure has been a step-by-step, brick-by-brick process. It only really started to get good and semi-fulfilling about seven or eight years ago. But the print days of the ’80s and ’90s were sometimes horrible. I remember being so miserable around ’94 or ’95 that I used to dream about ways of moving to Australia or Asia and never coming back and maybe even changing my name. I wanted to move to Europe and never return in ’03. (I wound up moving to Paris for the entire summer that year.)
I wouldn’t say that making it has taken “my whole life,” as Louis declares, but it was anything but easy. In the ’80s and ’90s it sometimes felt like I was hauling Fitzcarraldo’s boat over the muddy mountain.