Louie, Season 3

Maria Bamford on Working With Louis C.K.
Talking television.
July 20 2012 11:45 AM

Louie, Season 3

VIEW ALL ENTRIES

What it’s like to work with Louis C.K.

still from "Loiue."

Courtesy FX Network.

Acting is not my strong suit. I don’t really understand it. I don’t know how something isn’t really happening when it seems like it is happening.

So when I got an offer to be on Louis’ show I was worried. Not only am I not the most confident actor, but just being in the presence of someone who works so hard to makes certain that everything is done well—well, I thought I might just end up shame-spiralling in my head the whole time, comparing myself to Louis, feeling the way a small orange rock might feel next to the Grand Canyon. Fortunately, I needed the money to keep myself covered in pug hair so I agreed to the job.

And it was just as I’d feared. Louis, as you guys know, writes, directs, edits, acts in, and sometimes shoots the entire show. For 16 hours a day. Oh! And he also does a full stand-up set to a night crowd in New York City somewhere in there. And he has two kids. (For painful comparison I sleep an average of 12 hours a day, plus a nap, and maybe get three things accomplished—one email! one show! one tweet!—and I’ve hired a young lady for 10 hours a week to just help me focus. And I have two old, fat dogs who don’t want to go on walks.)

Advertisement

Still, it was inspiring to see everyone so fully engaged in their jobs. There are no trailers! Everybody just hangs out together. It’s such a small crew that there really is no “sitting around” time. And no makeup or hair! I cannot emphasize enough what a relief that was. Hair and makeup and costuming and the opinions of those who ply those trades—“Oh, I guess you’re much bigger than a 6,” or “Do you mind if I pluck your chin?”—are among my least favorite parts of showbiz. Which I realize is a problem along the lines of “the champagne drips too fast into my mouth,” but still, nice to skip. (Did I mention that I don’t like to make a lot of effort?)

In whatever little down time I had, I could only stick to the task of memorizing my lines, but Louis was so supportive, and I think I got the job done—even though I’m still not sure whether it was really happening or not happening. Acting! Did Louis and I have sex like the script said? I don’t know. I guess so. Acting is real. Right? Louis and I had sex. I’m sure of it. Sort of.

After my arduous four hours on set, I did go to bed early (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). I may never be as productive as Louis, but it was lovely to see what’s possible—if you have the willingness to work your fucking ass off. Which is something I seem to be on the fence about.

Maria

TODAY IN SLATE

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.