Much has been said about how Louis C.K. singlehandedly writes, directs, edits, and stars in each episode of his acclaimed FX series Louie, but it’s made even more impressive when you consider that he started making films as a teenager.
In the 80s and 90s, Louis C.K. made a series of short films that he credits with preparing him for the heavy workload he’s taken on for Louie. Using his friends from the New York comedy scene, like Amy Poehler, JB Smoove, Robert Smigel, and Todd Barry, as actors, C.K. created a series of short films, some of them reminiscent of the work of his role model Woody Allen and surreal French new wave filmmakers. Decades before the dawn of YouTube, C.K. was shooting his own little movies on 16mm film with full film crews — basically putting himself through his own self-directed film school — with only festivals and honing his craft as the goals. His short films may not be as riotously funny as Louie or his stand-up, but they have their own off-beat charm and they’re a revealing look at Louis C.K.’s talents as a filmmaker at their earliest stage.
Below, you’ll find most of the short films Louis. C.K. has ever made, from his early 90s black-and-white shorts to more recent sketches he made and uploaded to YouTube.
Early short films
As a teenaged stand-up comedian, Louis C.K. sought to emulate Woody Allen’s career by making movies too. At age 17, he made a short called “Trash Day,” about criminals who steal garbage, with help from his mother and his friends. C.K. directed, in 1990, a short called “Caesar’s Salad” that won at the Chicago Film Festival and the New Orleans Film and Video Festival. C.K.’s mother helped him to pay for “Caesar’s Salad,” the production of which required him to close down a street and use a cop car. In the Louis C.K. episode of Marc Maron’s podcast, Maron mentions that he was cut out of “Caesar’s Salad” but some of his guitar playing remains on the soundtrack. “Caesar’s Salad” and “Trash Day” are currently unavailable for viewing online, unlike the vast majority of C.K.’s early short films, which can be found below.
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