Louis C.K. Candidly Explains How Pootie Tang Almost Killed His Career

By Sean O'Connell 2011-11-28 16:00:40discussion comments
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If youíve watched Louis C.K.ís half-hour dramedy on FX, you might be wondering why this brilliant stand-up comedian hasnít tried to direct more often. Louis has total creative control over the show, writing, editing and directing every stimulating episode. He regularly produces some of the most thought-provoking comedy youíll find on cable television, and itís a wonder he doesnít get more opportunities to direct and flex his creative muscles.

Blame Pootie Tang, a comedy derived from a Chris Rock Show sketch that Louis -- a close friend of Rockís -- wrote and attempted to direct back in 2001. At the time Louis was a nobody, for lack of a better word. And so when he tried to work in some of his signature, challenging comedy he met serious resistance from Paramount. The studio hired editors to chop up Louisí final cut, then locked reels without allowing his feedback to be considered. Louis describes the horrific process in great detail during an interview with fellow comedian Jim Norton on Sirius XMís comedy channel, Raw Dog. Itís a candid piece thatís a must listen for fans of Louis C.K. and anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes process of filmmaking:

The clip is a little old, but still fascinating. "I canít say they took my movie away," Louis laments. "They hired me to work on a movie that I happened to have written, and that I care a lot about. But I got thrown off because I wasnít doing what they wanted. Thatís the way it works. Ö I had made something that was pretty unique, and nobody knew how to handle it."

Though Louis C.K. remains the credited writer on the largely-panned Pootie Tang, he basically says he hates the cut the studio released and he understands why critics and audiences hate it. He even says it killed his desire to direct.

"By the time it was finished, I was disgusted with the whole thing. And I was also a pariah. I was not hirable as a director. It ruined my filmmaking career. A good example of that is I havenít been hired as a director since then."

Instead, heís making his mark on FX, which, in turn, is benefiting his live comedy. You canít bury talent even though Hollywood often tries. Hard. And this Louis interview shines a light on the inventive ways the industry often tries to silence those who have a voice.
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