Louie, Season 3

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

Louie, Season 3

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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.)

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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