Louis C.K. is interviewed in the current issue of The Onion A.V. Club.
The Onion: You were on Star Search.
Louis C.K.: I loved doing Star Search. It was really an old-fashioned show-business experience, and those are rare now. I had never been out here in Hollywood for anything real, so it was fun. I got to know the supermodel on my show, and see that weirdness. I shouldn't really say I got to know her, but it was weird, because she seemed like a real confident, smart girl, but she was with a big, fat, gross-looking boyfriend who was really mean to her. Then, when the other model was walking down the runway, she started to cry. I said, "What's wrong?" and she said, "Do you think she's prettier than me?" I think just the idea of that made her cry. I had a great moment. I got on Star Search with a kid's dancing group. There were these little 6- or 7-year-old girls in sequined outfits, dancing. They lost the round, but as it was explained to them on the show, "You've already won three times, which means that you go on to the Tournament Of Champions, even though you lost today. So all you've done is let these other little girls have a chance, and you don't lose anything." So everybody's cheerful. Then backstage, 20 minutes later, the den mother who is running them is sobbing in disappointment, and the girls are all standing around her confused, not understanding why she's upset. One of them softly goes, "But Mommy, it's okay, because we're already in the championship." And she goes "Just shut up!" As far as my experience, I got zero laughs. I went up there, and from "Hello" to the crowd, I was in the wrong room. It was horrible. I was even shaking a little. I've never seen it. I'd like to see it someday. That's the only television appearance I ever did that I haven't watched.
O: What can you say about your sitcom pilot?
LCK: It's a show called Saint Louie, and it's based on material I do in my act about the kid you're hearing in the background, and about marriage, and about having a baby. And it's really just what I'm going through. I started talking about it on stage a lot, just to blow off steam. I never thought I'd do material about kids, but I started getting really stressed out and not sleeping a lot. It's a very difficult thing, way harder than anything I've described to you so far. And the stakes are so much higher and more exhilarating and wonderful and all that. I started talking about it onstage and being very dark in the way I talk about my kid, saying things like, "I can understand these babies-in-the-garbage-can stories now. I wouldn't do it, but I understand it." I figured I'd just get booed, but that it'd be worth it, because I needed the release. I found that parents were coming up to me and saying, "Oh, we love this stuff."
O: So it's going to be pretty dark?
LCK: It's just very honest. I'm not striving to do a crazy show about how everybody's a lesbian and an alcoholic. It's really just a regular family story about a young couple trying to raise a kid the best they can. The actual fact of that and the world of parenthood that I've discovered since having a kid is that parents live on a precipice of horrible failure of raising the wrong person. Let alone the fatigue. It's a really fucked-up experience for a lot of people, and the way they talk about it themselves is not the way it's talked about on TV. No TV families show how hard it is, and what dark places it takes you as a person, to great reward and for good reason. So I started pitching it to networks as a show, thinking that people were going to think, "You can't do that when you talk about kids." But I had these high-level executives nodding and going, "I know what you're talking about. My kids are fucking crazy." I found that every pitch meeting turned into story trading. And then Bruce Helford, who is a hit machine for sitcoms, said "I'd love to do a show for you," and we found that we were thinking along the same lines. And this other guy, Bruce Rasmussen, the three of us wrote it together, and found that we had common experiences and common senses of humor. The great thing is that these guys put shows on TV all the time, and it's not me against a new network or studio. I'm heavily protected by these guys, who have a great track record, and it's just sailing through. We wrote it, we gave it to CBS, they greenlit it, and now we're going to shoot it in April. We're casting it, looking for a wife for me. The first line I have on the show is, "Honey, this baby sucks." From my experience, I've had to protect a line like that. I've explained to studios, "Don't be afraid of it, it's okay." Nobody talks about stuff like that in families. John Prine has a line in a song where he says, "Grandpa's in the backyard staring at a rake, wondering if his marriage was a terrible mistake." I loved that line, because it's so grim. It's a suburban domestic moment, but it's fucking grim. But it's great. It's funny. It makes me laugh.