Here's What Happens When Louis C.K. Hits NYC's Streets: Behind the Scenes of THR's Cover Shoot

Louis C.K. Hits the Streets - H 2015
Jenny Sargent

Louis C.K. Hits the Streets - H 2015

The actor-comedian gets recognized by elderly women and young skateboarders alike.

This story first appeared in the April 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

When you photograph Louis C.K. on the streets of Greenwich Village, you're bound to get noticed. So as Meredith Jenks snapped the pictures accompanying this week's New York issue cover story, there were occasional interruptions. At one point during a setup, an elderly woman walking her dog wandered over to the 47-year-old comedian and said she thought of him every time she stepped on an airplane (a surprisingly hip reference to his "Everything's Amazing, Nobody Is Happy" bit about air travel that went super-viral a few years ago).

Otherwise, the March 30 shoot was a "no-nonsense" affair, says Jenks (who recently shot C.K.'s friend Chris Rock for THR). "Louis showed up, no grooming, styling or props. And we shot him against one of the walls he used for a bit in this upcoming season of Louie" (his FX sitcom, now entering its fifth season, premieres April 9).



The quintessential New York comic was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Mexico and Boston. But according to THR's television editor, Lacey Rose, who worked with C.K. on his cover essay about how he found his comedic footing in the toughest city on Earth, "he's as closely identified with New York as icons like Woody Allen or Derek Jeter."

Rose (a New York native who moved to L.A. in 2009) adds that "Louis C.K. is exactly what you'd expect when you sit down with him. Blunt, crass and deeply funny. But what I found over the course of my morning with him" — they had breakfast at Hudson Diner before the photo shoot; C.K. flirted with the idea of an omelet but ended up ordering grapefruit — "is that there's a softer core to him, which shows itself as he talks about his family, particularly his two daughters, and the city he loves."

He also knows how to please his fans. When a skateboarder whizzed past the photo shoot shouting, "Louiiiisss!" C.K. took a moment to give the kid a long, appreciative bow.