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The Hollywood Reporter Unveils Comedy Class of 2013

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    Comedy Issue
    Louis C.K.
    Louis C.K.
    The Master

    With a sold-out tour that became an HBO special, a universally praised hosting gig on Saturday Night Live and Louie, his Emmy-winning FX series, C.K. (born Louis Szekely), 45, is revered by up-and-comers and execs alike. He also has shaken up the business by selling recordings and concert tickets direct to fans via his website, a lucrative platform he shared with comic Tig Notaro. C.K. posted Notaro's unforgettably raw August set and gave Notaro $4 from every $5 download -- Notaro, who donated some of her haul to cancer research, wrote for THR about her comedy godfather.

    STORY: Lena Dunham, Louis CK and Lorne Michaels Win Peabody Awards

    I met Louis about six years ago when I was sitting on a curb in front of my little cottage in Venice, Calif. He walked by with his two children and basically said, "Hey, I know you! You're friends with Sarah Silverman, right?" We made small talk about being neighbors while I sat there amazed that he recognized my face; I felt invisible to comedians on his level. Three years later, he cornered me after my show at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles and dissected my set for a good 30 minutes, complimenting the structure and concept of each joke. I was shocked to be getting attention from him, to be seen as a comedian and not just the friend of a friend sitting on a curb. Pretty soon, Louis started requesting me to be his opener when he performed in Los Angeles. And this past August, after he was my surprise guest on a show at Largo, he presented me to the world in a way I had not yet been.

    Among a myriad of other tragedies in a four-month period, I walked onstage that night having just been diagnosed with breast cancer and having lost my mother unexpectedly. Louis stood backstage and watched as I scrapped all of my typical material and told the audience about the horror that my life had become. He called the next day and said he wanted to make my set available on his website. A month and a half later, I finally agreed, and my life changed pretty much overnight.

    Comedians can get a little fearful of acknowledging other comedians. They don't want others treading on their turf because they can be in such a panic to get noticed. Louis is someone who clearly has no concern about that. From my curb to spotlighting my recording on his website -- the same way he did for his own comedy specials -- Louis has had a way of making me feel visible when all eyes are actually on him.

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