Louis CK: 'I've Wanted to Be' Suicidal

Comedian gets profiled in 'GQ'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2014 10:57 AM CDT
Louis C.K. accepts the award for outstanding writing in a comedy series to for "Louie" at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – In a new GQ profile, Louis CK reveals, "No, I've never been suicidal. But I've wanted to be." He goes on to describe two of his lowest points: In the early 1990s in Manhattan, working 10 gigs a night and making $50 at each one, he got in an accident while on his motorcycle with a car that ran a red light. The New York comedy scene wasn't doing well, CK was broke, and right at that moment he also realized he was balding. "I thought a lot about another one of Fred Greenlee's suicide jokes. He said if you're going to jump, you have to pick a building that's high enough but also one that you can handle. You're like, What? Then he explains that you don't want to be going, AHHHHHhhhhhhh... [feigns running out of breath and needing to inhale another lungful of air] AHHHHHhhhhhhh..."

The second came in 2001, when he was fired from Pootie Tang, the comedy he wrote and directed; the studio ended up recutting his footage to finish the movie. "It never stopped getting worse," CK says. "I remember thinking, This is too much for me to handle. I wanted to give up. I knew it was my right to. But then a few minutes would go by and I'd realize, I'm still here. In other words, there was no escape from it. And I'd be a little disappointed at not being truly suicidal. I hated being 'all right.'" He goes on to explain that those moments led him to form the "70% Rule" he uses to make decisions: "These situations where I can't make a choice because I'm too busy trying to envision the perfect one—that false perfectionism traps you in this painful ambivalence," he says. "So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70% approval, you just do it." Click for the full interview. (Read more Louis CK stories.)

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