CK: “I never write anything down"

Couple of quotes from Just for Laughs: In Conversation with Louis C.K.. On writing onstage:

“I never write anything down… I think comedy’s a spoken form, and if you’re writing it down you’re putting a bunch of filters on it…. If you write standup, you’re generating it on paper, and then you’re reading it, and then using your memory, and then…”

On killing old jokes:

“The way to improve is to reject everything you’re doing. You have to create a void by destroying everything. You have to kill it. Otherwise you’ll just say the same jokes every night for years and years. And I did that.”

Fun to compare his first appearance on Letterman, in 1995, to where he's at now.


Matteson said...

As much as I like CK, I find his assertion that writing down your comedy makes it somehow lesser odd. You hear this sort of thing from rappers too. To me whether you write stuff down or not has a lot more to do with the way your brain works and your memory than how good you are at your art. Generating on stage vs generating on the page just seem like different ways to approach something, with neither being inherently inferior.

Matt Ruby said...

Might also impact what TYPE of art you make as opposed to quality. Symphonies need to be written down but if a jazz trio wrote out every note it'd be weird.

Matteson said...

Good point.

I'm going to continue writing down my crowd work though.

soce said...

I like the idea of destroying your old material to make room for new ideas. I feel that once I have been successful with certain jokes, it's better to learn what about those jokes was so funny and use those to make even better ones, instead of just repeating those same jokes ad nauseam.

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