On surviving failure:
If you can go to places and fail and come out intact, you've got a huge wealth of information. Bombing is much more instructive then [killing].
When you kill, you go, "Hey, look at me!" You don't learn anything. You don't even remember why you killed. "It's cuz I'm great! That's why."
But when you bomb, it's like a murder happened to you. And you've got data. You've got evidence. It's like forensics. You walk around poking things with a pencil and go, "Well, if you hadn't said this after that, it wouldn't have gone so bad." And you learn. You have a huge wealth of information.
On how he transitioned from jokey jokes to being more honest onstage:
I decided I'm not going to come up with jokes anymore. I'm not going to think of funny things to say. I'm going to say the things that are gnawing at my head. Any thought that I've been having a lot, I'm just gonna say it.
And all of a sudden a huge amount of lifelong fear was gone. I just didn't care. Even if I got a "whoa" from the crowd, it just didn't matter. It didn't mean anything to me.
And I get away with it for some reason. Some of it is just because I'm very convicted about it. When I say my baby's an asshole and people go "ohhhh," I go, "Fuck you, you don't know my baby. You don't know this guy."
I just felt impervious to criticism. Because I wasn't making jokes, I was just talking. I was just saying how I felt for once. So that was huge for me.
The whole interview is great. If you're a fan of the "On Comedy" series, don't miss it.
More about XM Unmasked:
"Unmasked" is XM's latest exclusive original series -- an informal and interactive conversation with the super-stars and emerging Kings of Comedy. From George Carlin to Lewis Black to Jim Norton, they tell their story of life, inspiration and the art of the laugh.
This thread at AST has links to more Unmasked episodes.
Related: A couple other comics and I chatted with Louis on the subway a while back. He was cool.