Fans of Louis CK’s critically beloved FX sitcom Louie might have been disappointed that the show’s recently ended fifth season was only eight episodes long. Hopefully, said fans will be mollified to learn that CK had a clear, intentional reason for the cut in length: he got high.
It wasn’t weed-induced lethargy that caused the season to run short, though, but its manic twin, unreliable inspiration. FX’s plans for the show originally had a 6-month delay built in before the fifth season, so as to avoid having to film during the New York winter. But apparently, the night before the delay was set to be announced, CK smoked “a lot of marijuana,” and—struck by inspiration from his dank muse—outlined the entire fifth season in a chemically assisted burst of creativity. He was so excited by what he had produced that he called up FX president John Landgraf—who had clearly forgotten the old rule about never giving your home phone number to stoners or widely celebrated auteurs—and asked to be allowed to film immediately. Landgraf agreed, but, for budgetary reasons, was forced to demand CK produce only a half-season, instead of the full one that was planned.
The explanation comes courtesy of HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall, who wrote up a recent For Your Consideration panel where CK told the story. Unsurprisingly, when CK returned to his notes in the sober light of day, he found them completely incomprehensible and unusable, with not a single idea actually making it into the show. Still, the incident doesn’t seem to have harmed the quality of the season that much, and now CK has a reliable, go-to response the next time someone questions his decisions regarding the show.