Louis C.K. on his show's hiatus and what he'll be eating in the meantime

Television Without Pity

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In case you haven't heard the news, FX President John Landgraf announced yesterday on a media call that "Louie" will be taking an extended hiatus and probably not return until spring 2014. Louis C.K. fans will be happy to hear that this isn't some kind of Dan Harmon/"Community" situation where someone is getting removed against his will -- C.K. personally asked for time off to help his creative process. To explain the decision, talk about the future of "Louie," and reflect on the excellent third season, C.K. and Landgraf answered some press questions and tried their best not to rub C.K.'s multiple Emmy wins in everyone's faces. Below are the highlights.

On taking time off
John Landgraf: Louis, maybe you should also talk to the folks about the fact that while the 39 episodes you have made and the three seasons you made stand on their own as separate seasons, they also have a coherent theme and art to them, and they could be viewed in some measure as the first act of a three-act show.
Louis C.K.: That's why I want this reset time. I think in trilogies sometimes, so I feel like Seasons 1, 2, and 3 were like the trilogy of three parts. ... Say pie in the sky, the show goes nine seasons, then the second part of the trilogy would be Season 3 through 6 or whatever ends up happening.

But yeah ... I would like to start a new story, sort of. I don't know what that is yet. It's going to take a little breathing time and a little bit of pie to figure that out.

On why FX is all for the break
Landgraf: Interestingly enough, the "Late Night" trilogy that "Louie" did is in part about Jack Dahl's whole point of view: If you are going to do this, you've got to be able to turn it on and off like a switch, right? And I think that professional artists gain a skill in doing that, but I think that is a downside to that notion. It's like, "OK, we're employing you. We're paying you, so just turn it on when we need you to. We need to market it at this time or we need to put it on air at the time." Let's be honest, sometimes the work suffers because of that, and I think that part of what cable in general had over broadcasts from the very beginning of its inception was just the notion that there could be a longer hiatus. There were longer hiatuses in "The Sopranos" as well. We took a long hiatus with "Rescue Me."
C.K.: I would like to just add that I still want to be working on the show. Like, I want be on the air now again. I'm really eager all the time with the show. I eat it up. I love doing it. But every season, when I have such a short shooting period and the way things are, I want to do better. I want the show to be better, and to me it was like just exciting to think, "What if I had that much time to deliver Season 4?" I don't want to put too much pressure on it, but [if we had extra time], then we could turn it into something really great, I hope. ... To me this is like a way to get off as a filmmaker by expanding the time and having more time to do it. And since we control everything here in New York and we have such a great crew and staff on my show, and they are very adaptable and they are very conscientious, I think that's going to just give them more ability to really, really do their stuff.

On what we can expect from C.K. between now and spring 2014
C.K.: I'm on tour right now all over the country doing stand-up ... it's probably likely that when I'm done with this hour of stand-up, I'm going to want to regurgitate it, so I'll probably make a special. ... I'm always doing stand-up, and a lot of the show's material comes from the stage, so that's where everything starts.

On his favorite moments of Season 3
C.K.: Moments like [the closing elevator doors segment in "New Year's Eve" finale] have a sadness to them, but they also make me laugh. I don't know. That moment to me is funny. I can't help it. But whenever I have a moment like that in my life, I'm like, this is a moment that I own that might be unique, and it's worth showing, and I bet there's a whole bunch of people out there who have lived this moment that will go, "Oh, man, yes, I know what you're talking about," so it's fun to illuminate stuff like that. And, yeah, I'm a sentimental guy. I have emotions. I cry too much. I'm a mess.

And to me, the "Late Show" trilogy was [full of great surprises]. It was like those dominos all set up, and then there's fireworks and a little balloon goes up. I was amazed that I was able to set it up without any of the dominos falling over, and that nobody opened the big doors until we were ready to go. I was really grateful to FX for that because we were so loaded with guest stars, and they didn't give any of them. They let me hide a lot of stuff, which, you know, is not easy for them to do. It's asking them to forgo a huge ability to promote stuff. But I think it was really to watch those go on the air and unfold for people, those especially.

On taking the show to China
C.K.: I had an amazing time in China, but I think if I go that far away from America again, I want to go somewhere else.
Landgraf: Just illustrative of how remarkable [C.K.'s] process is … when he was taping in Afghanistan, he called and asked me for some more money because he needed a more complicated production for it. He called me this year and said, "I want to go to China, and I need some more money." ... Well, the season finished. The episode in China was great. There's a crane shot over a canyon of a house in the middle of nowhere in China, and it turns out Louis didn't spend all the money we gave him. So to our utter surprise, we got a check back for nearly $200,000 at the end of the season.

On his Emmy wins
CK: I get [satisfaction] just from the fact that I get to do this show and go on the air. The Emmys are not the reward for my work. They are just like an extra. That's just a nice thing, and to me the Emmys are for the network and the people that work for me, but sure, I get to keep them at my house. I enjoy that. I do. I would love to be somebody who is like, "That means nothing to me," but it's not true. I like it, but it's not what I do it for, certainly. I'm all right before the Emmys even begin. I'm already well rewarded. I have my own show and I get to do it exactly how I want. People watch it, and they are letting me keep doing it, and I love the people I work with.

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