On the heels of his “crabby, epic love letter to NYC,” Louis CK went on The Howard Stern Show today to talk about everything from Bill Cosby and Brian Williams to his issues with “adorable” comics like Jimmy Fallon to why he quit Twitter. At some point, around the 11:30 mark of the recording above, Howard asked him about his early years in New York, and Louie confessed that the “only fantasy left” in his life is being one of those young, struggling comics whose jokes are all about life in Bushwick (which, yes, is the plot of While We’re Young). Later in the show, Howard told him it would be funny if he built a mansion in Bushwick and upped everyone’s rent (just what the neighborhood needs, right?). Here’s the transcript with the highlights in bold.
Louie: There were days where I just had no… I mean, for a long time I actually felt hunger, like it was one of the… I had times where I was like, “I can’t really get any food.” Yeah, “I can’t get any food.”
Robin: Where did you live?
Louie: I lived on the Upper West Side. I mean that’s part of living in New York is like, you trade every other possible thing for just living here.
Howard: For your apartment — and it’s a shit apartment, right?
Louie: Yeah, I mean, for me I was living in a tiny place for $1,000 a month [which] was a staggering amount of money. The apartment before it that I had was in Boston and it was $180, so my rent went up whatever that is, you know, 90 percent.
Stern: That’s the rub against New York, like, young artists can’t live hear anymore.
Louie: Yeah, but they do, they figure out.
Stern: Right, you get a roommate you do this and you do that.
Louie: Yeah, you figure it out. It’s a tough place, that’s the way it goes. Nobody owes you an apartment in Manhattan because you want to be an artist. Fuck you. You know? Figure it out.
Howard: Go out and be a waiter or…
Louie: Or go live in Bushwick. That’s why all the young comics, if you watch standup comedy now, all the jokes are about Bushwick. Because that’s where they’re all slumming – that’s where they’re all, you know, they’re living there.
Howard: This is a weird question but do you ever get jealous of the young comics in Bushwick who like are all there, they’re struggling, but is there some beauty to all that?
Louie: Fuck yes.
Howard: There is, right?
Howard: Yeah, you kind of go, man, they don’t have any pressure on them…
Louie: I really wish I was them, I really do, I wish — that’s the only fantasty I have because everything else I’m doing it, I’m fucking playing Madison Square Garden, and I’m making a tv show. The only fantasy left is I wish I could go back in time to not knowing how it’s going to go and struggling really hard with those dudes in Bushwick, yes.
Howard: Because you think you’d say, “You know what, it’s horrible, like now I have every amenity, I have a beautiful home, I have this, that, the other thing,” but yet there’s something sort of elegant and beautiful about being the struggling guy in Bushwick with all the other comics and everyone’s laying out material and nobody knows what the future is.
Louie: That’s right, and you see them all hanging out at the club and they’re shooting the shit and then I walk in and they’re like, “Aw fuck, he’s going to bump everbody and we’re all…”
Howard: You’re the asshole.
Louie: I’m the dick.
Robin: Who’s not going to get to talk tonight.
Louie: Yeah exactly, “Here comes this rich douche.” And they have no sense that it took me 30 years of suffering.
* * *
Howard: All these guys in Bushwick, they’re all going and seeing each other every night and then you come up with something original and then you see some other guy doing it and you get crazy from it. That’s the hard part, too.
Louie: Yeah, especially if you’re all talking about the same stuff. And they all do — for those guys it’s Bushwick jokes and it’s like, “Hey I’m doing the thing about the crackhead.”
Howard: “No, that’s my crackhead on that corner.”
Louie: “No, it’s a different crackhead [joke], it’s like the crackheads are arguing over their corners and the comedians are arguing over their thing.”
Howard: You know what would be really funny, if you built a mansion in Bushwick just right near all the comedians.
Robin: You got them moved out because you took their property.
Louie: Yeah, like upped the value of their houses.
Robin: They can’t live there anymore.
Howard: Yeah right, like, not only did you steal their spot but you stole their Bushwick, buy up all their property.
Louie: It would be cool to like suddenly become obsessed with making life hard for young, struggling comics.