Louis C.K. is arguably the most successful standup comedian working today. Not just because of his sitcom or standup specials, but because of his do-it-yourself mentality. He famously produced, shot, edited, and distributed his standup special Live at the Beacon Theater. This self-distribution model was quickly adapted by others.

In an interview with the New York Times Louis C.K. asserts that such creative freedom didn’t happen over night (the bold questions are the Times reporter).

Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special, and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?

Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?

You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.

So why do I have the platform and the recognition?

At this point you’ve put in the time.

There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.

Read the entire interview here.


  • Shannon McDonough

    In addition, now in his mid-40s, Louis is able to think for himself, manage his wealth, handle the fame and focus on what he wants to do with his art. He isn’t crashing and burning as some very young, very famous, very rich people might. In addition to having earned this success with his effort over time, he is also in a much better position to sustain it and his satisfaction.

  • EmilyWenstrom

    Love it. It’s so hard to hold onto this mentality for the long haul when we’re used to instant results in the digital age, but putting in the time is so, so important.

  • Hans van Dam

    It’s wonderful how it still comes across as something that can be achieved easily if you have patience and determination. But it’s nothing but hard and discouraging work – hard to stick with it overtime. Gotta love Louis!

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