Louis CK isn’t exactly an enigmatic riddle of a man, but he’s also not really an open book. He may reveal something personal about his life on his Louie show, but it’s just disconnected enough from the real world that you don’t know much of it is just fictionalized. Or maybe he’ll express some deeply held belief in an email newsletter to his fans, and then refuse to comment on it. Or he’ll say something on Twitter, and then get so frustrated with the response that he disappears from the internet entirely. Recently, though, New York Magazine sat down with CK and got him to elaborate—at least a little bit—on pretty much everything he’s been up to.
Of course, before CK could bring up interesting stuff like his life or his career, he had to talk about Donald Trump. Earlier this year, in one of his aforementioned email newsletters, CK compared Trump to Hitler and then later admitted that he regretted saying it. In this interview, CK expands on that, explaining that he thinks it’s “obnoxious” when celebrities say political things, because “you’ve got a bullhorn that was given to you for one reason and you used that bullhorn for something else.” However, he also says that when someone “as terrible as Trump” is running for political office, you’re “a bit of a coward” if you keep your opinions to yourself about it. Also, just to make it clear, CK says Trump is “a bigot with a hole in his heart,” and that he “shouldn’t be anywhere near the fucking [White House].”
Speaking of politics, it sounds like a lot of CK’s opinions are being shaped by his daughters, one of whom he calls “an intersectional radical feminist.” CK doesn’t necessarily think of himself as a feminist, though, because he doesn’t “feel strongly enough about anything to give [himself] a label.” He says he identifies with his daughter and listens to her and learns from her, but he says “the second you say ‘I am this’ you’ve stopped learning and listening.”
This talk of feminism inspires New York Magazine to bring up CK’s work, which sometimes seems to skew feminist and sometimes presents CK himself as “a misogynist creep.” Apparently, the reason for that is because CK’s goal “isn’t to please everyone,” as he’s more interesting in giving people something to debate. Rather than rally everyone against “a bad thing,” he’d rather “shed light on these things that we all argue about.” That being said, CK seems to think there’s a line between good arguing and simply arguing for the sake of it. He brings up “the outrage economy,” saying that “everybody’s just such a sucker for this shit” because they like to feel like they’re doing something, but really it’s just “careless outrage” and people don’t care how they impact each other’s lives.
That kind of leads into what New York Magazine cautiously refers to as “the Gawker stuff,” which is a reference to a rumor from a few years ago about how CK supposedly has a habit of exposing himself to female comics. CK has never really talked about it, but he tells the magazine that “if you need your public profile to be all positive, you’re sick.” Essentially, he claims that he’s only interested in talking about his work and not his life, because he “can’t look after” the way people feel about him. (Interpret that however you see fit.)
Finally, the interviewer asks CK about any comedians that he’s a fan of these days, which CK takes as an invitation to talk at length about his appreciation for Samantha Bee. He says she’s “inevitable” and “the next thing,” comparing her to Chris Rock at his prime in the way that she—as a woman—speaks from a very specific and important point-of-view. He also adds that she’s “not smug,” and that unlike guys like Jon Stewart, she never pretends she’s too cool to be upset about the things she’s covering on her Full Frontal show. “She’s really fucking mad,” CK says, noting “she’s right about everything that I see her talk about.”
You can read the full interview—which also gets into Hillary Clinton, white privilege, and “bored masturbation” in case the rest of this stuff wasn’t enough—in the next issue of New York Magazine.