Intertitle from seasons 1–3 & 5
Created byLouis C.K.
Written byLouis C.K.
Directed byLouis C.K.
StarringLouis C.K.
Opening theme"Brother Louie" performed by Ian Lloyd (seasons 1–3 & 5)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes61 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
Production locationNew York City
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time19–41 minutes[2]
Production companies
Original networkFX
Original releaseJune 29, 2010 (2010-06-29) –
May 28, 2015 (2015-05-28)

Louie is an American comedy drama television series that premiered on FX on June 29, 2010. It is written, directed, created, edited, and produced by comedian Louis C.K.,[3] who also stars in the show as a fictionalized version of himself, a comedian and newly divorced father raising his two daughters in New York City. The show has a loose format atypical for television comedy series, consisting of largely unconnected storylines and segments (described by FX president John Landgraf as "extended vignettes")[4] that revolve around Louie's life, punctuated by live stand-up performances. The show's comedy consisted of such styles as surrealism, satire, absurdism, and gallows humor.

The show has been met with critical acclaim and was included in various critics' TV show top-ten lists when it premiered in 2010.[5] C.K. has received several Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his acting, writing, and directing and has won for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series at the 64th and 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. It was included in the 101 Best Written TV Series list created by the Writers Guild of America.[6]

During an "extended hiatus" for the show starting in 2015,[7] FX ended their business partnership with Louis C.K.'s production company, Pig Newton, in November 2017, after he confirmed that a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him were true.[8] In 2018, Landgraf discussed the possibility of Louie returning.[9]


Louie is loosely based on comedian Louis C.K.'s life, showing segments of him doing his stand-up routine onstage, and depicting his life offstage as a divorced father of two girls. Each episode features either two stories (which may or may not connect thematically) or a longer full-episode story (often consisting of numerous connected shorter pieces). The stories of all episodes revolve around Louie.

The pieces are interspersed with short clips of Louie's stand-up, usually performed in New York comedy clubs, mainly the Comedy Cellar and Carolines in Manhattan. The stand-up in the show consists of original material recorded for the series, and is usually shot from the stage rather than from the more traditional audience perspective. Sometimes these comedy segments are integrated into the stories themselves, whereas other times they simply serve to bookend them with a loosely connected topic. In the first season, blunt, socially awkward conversations between Louie and his therapist are also shown occasionally. Beginning in the third season, some episodes do not feature any stand-up performances or the opening credit sequence.

Episodes in the series have standalone plots, although some recurring roles (e.g. Louie's playdate friend Pamela, portrayed by Pamela Adlon, who was C.K.'s co-star in Lucky Louie) occasionally provide story arc continuity between episodes. Continuity is not enforced; for example, Louie's mother has been portrayed in two very different ways.[a] As C.K. explained, "Every episode has its own goal, and if it messes up the goal of another episode, ... I just don't care."[10] Some stories also take place outside of the show's main time frame. For two examples, the episode "God" depicts Louie's childhood, and the episode "Oh Louie" shows the comedian 9 years earlier in his career. Beginning in the third season, Louie has moved toward story continuity within the season, and it includes multi-episode story arcs.[11]

The pilot episode includes segments depicting a school field trip and an embarrassing first date, with subsequent episodes covering a diverse range of material, including divorce, sex, sexual orientation, depression, and Catholic guilt.


Main article: List of Louie episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113June 29, 2010 (2010-06-29)September 7, 2010 (2010-09-07)
213June 23, 2011 (2011-06-23)September 8, 2011 (2011-09-08)
313June 28, 2012 (2012-06-28)September 27, 2012 (2012-09-27)
414May 5, 2014 (2014-05-05)June 16, 2014 (2014-06-16)
58April 9, 2015 (2015-04-09)May 28, 2015 (2015-05-28)

Cast and characters

Series creator Louis C.K. plays the lead role and also writes and directs each episode.

C.K. serves as the show's lead and plays the only character who appears in every episode. Louie lacks a regular fixed cast, and instead features many guest appearances by stand-up comedians and actors. As a stand-up comedian in New York City, Louie's social circle on the show consists mainly of other comedians, and many notable comedians (such as Nick DiPaolo, Todd Barry, Jim Norton, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, and Jerry Seinfeld) have had recurring roles as fictionalized versions of themselves.

Most episodes tend to focus on Louie's interactions with new characters. However, the show features a number of recurring characters, including Louie's two daughters, Lilly (Hadley Delany) and Jane (Ursula Parker); his brother Bobby (Robert Kelly); his teenage-looking agent Doug (Edward Gelbinovich); Pamela (Pamela Adlon), his best friend and love interest; Dr. Ben (Ricky Gervais), Louie's juvenile and arrogant doctor; Louie's therapist (David Patrick Kelly); and his ex-wife, Janet (Susan Kelechi Watson).

Since Louie lacks continuity between episodes, supporting actors occasionally reappear in multiple roles, as is the case with William Stephenson, who appears as a bus driver in the pilot and as himself in "Oh Louie/Tickets"; Amy Landecker, who appears as Louie's date in "Bully" and as a young Louie's mother in "God" and "In the Woods"; and F. Murray Abraham, who plays a swinger in "New Jersey/Airport", Louie's uncle Excelsior in "Dad", and Louie's father in "In the Woods". Furthermore, Louie's mother and sisters have each been portrayed by multiple actresses, although his children have been consistently portrayed by Delany and Parker since the middle of the first season. His ex-wife is portrayed by Brooke Bloom in a flashback scene of "Elevator Part 4".

Recurring guests

Guest stars

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

In addition to these guest stars, several notable comedians have appeared in smaller roles, including Chris Gethard, Todd Glass, Ted Alexandro, Amir Blumenfeld, Eddie Brill, Joe DeRosa, Vernon Chatman, Artie Lange, Godfrey, Chelsea Peretti, JB Smoove, Dave Attell, Michael Cera, John Lithgow, Big Jay Oakerson, and Steven Wright. Opie & Anthony and Amy Schumer have had voice-only guest appearances.


The stage of the Comedy Cellar, which is often shown on the series.

Rather than accepting a bigger-budget production deal with a larger network, C.K. accepted the modest offer of $200,000 (covering his own fee as well as production costs) to do a pilot with FX, since FX allowed him full creative control. The show is shot on a Red camera setup, and C.K. edits many of the episodes on his personal MacBook Pro.[13][14] In addition to starring, C.K. serves as the show's sole writer and director, an unusual combination in American TV production. Referring to John Landgraf, who convinced C.K. to accept a deal with FX, C.K. said:

He had a very loose idea of what he wanted. I said, "Let me shoot a pilot and you don't have anything to do with it. I won't even pitch you the idea or show you the script or show you the footage or show you the casting. Just wire me the money and let me do the show." And he was willing to do that. One of the reasons it was done that way was he only gave me $200,000 for the thing all in. Since I was able to prove this was a way to do it and they liked what they got, I was able to keep doing it that way.[15]

Louis C.K. directed, cast, and edited the first episode of the show with a budget of $250,000, provided by FX.[16] In the second season, the budget was increased to $300,000 per episode.

Production began in November 2009. C.K. said of his show, "It's very vignette-y. It's very vérité. All those French words. I use 'em all."[17] C.K.'s Lucky Louie co-star Pamela Adlon serves as consulting producer of the series.[18]

For the third season, C.K. announced that he would be handing off some editing duties to longtime Woody Allen collaborator Susan E. Morse.[19]

In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, C.K. mentioned various influences for the show, which include Allen, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Garry Shandling and John Waters.[20]

Critical reception

Vernon Chatman, Louis C.K, M. Blair Breard, and Dave Becky, the crew of Louie, present their Peabody Award.

Louie has received acclaim from critics. The stand-up segments received strong praise, as did the show's perceived "indie film" style, with some likening the show to the work of Woody Allen.[21] Criticisms largely centered on the pacing and low-key delivery of the show's jokes, which often include long setups compared to the rapid-fire punchlines of a traditional sitcom.[22][23]

Of the "top TV" lists tracked by Metacritic, Louie appeared on nine of 28 in 2010[5] and 22 of 39 in 2011, the latter of which includes three lists where the show was ranked 1st.[24] On Metacritic, the first season scored 69 out of 100, based on 20 reviews.[25] The second season scored 90 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim", based on 7 reviews.[26] The third season received critical acclaim, scoring 94 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 16 reviews.[27] The fourth season also received critical acclaim, scoring 93 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 30 reviews.[28] The fifth season received acclaim as well, scoring 91 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 20 reviews.[29]

Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz ranked Louie as the 18th best American television show of all time in their book titled TV (The Book), stating that unlike other sitcoms which kept their tone and format the same throughout their respective runs, the series "morphed from week to week, episode to episode, sometimes minute to minute. In doing so, it translated the thought-processes of stand-up comedy into cinematic terms, and in a way that was new to commercial television."[30]


Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Louie

Home media

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment released Season 1 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in Region 1 on June 21, 2011.[31] Season 2 was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in Region 1 on June 19, 2012.[32] Seasons 3, 4, and 5 were exclusively released on DVD via Amazon.com's manufacture on demand program.[33][34]

Season Episodes Release date Bonus features
The Complete First Season 13 June 21, 2011
  • Five deleted/extended scenes with introductions by Louis C.K.
  • Fox Movie Channel Presents: Louie – Writer's Draft
  • Commentary on 11 episodes by Louis C.K.
The Complete Second Season 13 June 19, 2012
  • Fox Movie Channel Presents: World Premiere Louie Season 2
  • Commentary on 5 episodes by Louis C.K.

See also


  1. ^ In the first season's seventh episode, "Double Date/Mom", Louie's mother is played by Mary Louise Wilson and is portrayed as a very spiteful woman. By contrast, in that season's eleventh episode, "God", a flashback to Louie's childhood shows the young Louie's mother as a very different woman with a kind-hearted personality, and she is played by Amy Landecker. Landecker also portrayed present-day Louie's date earlier in the season, in episode 9, "Bully".


  1. ^ Susman, Gary (May 12, 2013). "Discomfort Zone: 10 Great Cringe Comedies". Time. Archived from the original on January 15, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  2. ^ "Louie". Amazon.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  3. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (January 24, 2011). "Interview: 'Louie' creator/star Louis CK on season 1, drunken Sarah Palin tweets and more". HitFix.com. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
  4. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (August 19, 2009). "More laffs in FX lineup". Variety. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Dietz, Jason (December 3, 2010). "2010 Television Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved February 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "101 Best Written TV Series". Writers Guild of America. Retrieved July 4, 2022.
  7. ^ Hibberd, James (August 7, 2015). "FX's Louie going on 'extended hiatus'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 8, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  8. ^ Hughes, William (November 10, 2017). "FX has officially cut all ties with Louis CK". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 11, 2017. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  9. ^ Sharf, Zack (August 8, 2018). "FX Boss Misses Louis C.K. and Would Bring 'Louie' Back, but Season 6 Depends on Society Accepting 'Second Chances'". IndieWire. Retrieved July 4, 2022.
  10. ^ Presenter: Jimmy Kimmel (June 27, 2011). "Monday, June 27, 2011". Jimmy Kimmel Live!. ABC. Archived from the original on July 1, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2011. Louis C.K. segment on YouTube: Part 1 on YouTube, Part 2 on YouTube, Part 3 on YouTube
  11. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (June 27, 2012). "Review: FX's 'Louie' still unpredictable, and brilliant, in season 3". HitFix. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  12. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 5, 2013). "Louis C. K. and the Ballad of Jack Dall". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  13. ^ Harris, Adam (October 8, 2010). "How Louis C.K. Shoots and Edits His Own Show". Gizmodo. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2011.
  14. ^ "Episode 112 - Louis CK part 2". WTF with Marc Maron Podcast. October 7, 2010. Archived from the original on June 26, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  15. ^ "FX Landed Louis C.K. With Creative Freedom and by Wiring $200,000". The New York Times. March 26, 2012. Archived from the original on February 4, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  16. ^ Schneider, Michael (August 6, 2009). "FX likes Louis C.K." Variety. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  17. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (August 20, 2009). "New Comedy Series for Louis C.K." The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  18. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (June 28, 2010). "Life After Divorce (Don't Ask About the Monkeys)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2010.
  19. ^ Dionne, Zach (May 21, 2012). "Louis C.K.'s New Louie Editor Susan E. Morse Compares Him to Her Old Boss, Woody Allen". Vulture. Archived from the original on November 13, 2017. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  20. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (April 4, 2013). "The Joke's on Louis C.K." The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  21. ^ Stanley, Alessandra (June 28, 2010). "Life After Divorce (Don't Ask About the Monkeys)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  22. ^ Hinckley, David (June 29, 2010). "FX's 'Louie' better than HBO's 'Lucky Louie', but Louis C.K. still hasn't found his niche". Daily News. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  23. ^ Lowry, Brian (June 26, 2010). "Louie". Variety.com. Archived from the original on April 28, 2011. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  24. ^ Dietz, Jason. "2011 Television Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  25. ^ "Critic Reviews for Louie Season 1". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 7, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  26. ^ "Critic Review for Louie Season 2". Metacritic. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  27. ^ "Critic Review for Louie Season 3". Metacritic. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  28. ^ "Critic Review for Louie Season 4". Metacritic. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
  29. ^ "Critic Review for Louie Season 5". Metacritic. Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  30. ^ Sepinwall, Alan; Seitz, Matt Zoller (September 6, 2016). TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-1455588190.
  31. ^ Lambert, David (March 28, 2011). "Louie - Fox's Canadian Press Release Gives Street Date, Extras for Season 1 DVD/Blu Combo Set". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  32. ^ Lacey, Gord (April 4, 2012). "Louie - Season 2 Announced". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  33. ^ Lambert, David (April 10, 2014). "Louie - DVD Release for 'The Complete 3rd Season' is Scheduled". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  34. ^ Lambert, David (April 6, 2015). "Louie - 'The Complete 4th Season' DVDs Are NOW AVAILABLE!". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015.