The money quote in GQ’s May cover story on Louis C.K. is this one: “I’ve never been suicidal. But I’ve wanted to be.”
What he means is that on a couple of times he hit rough patches in his life, it might have been easier to handle if he had really believed suicide was an option. He elaborates:
“It never stopped getting worse. I remember thinking, This is too much for me to handle,” he tells the magazine. “I wanted to give up. I knew it was my right to. But then a few minutes would go by and I’d realize, I’m still here. In other words, there was no escape from it. And I’d be a little disappointed at not being truly suicidal. I hated being ‘all right.'”
The idea that life continues whether we like it or not permeates C.K.’s stand-up comedy and is maybe the central idea of “Louie,” which is on the verge of returning to FX for its fourth season. He also applies it to his everyday life via something he calls the “70 Percent Rule.” Here’s how he explains it:
“These situations where I can’t make a choice because I’m too busy trying to envision the perfect one — that false perfectionism traps you in this painful ambivalence: If I do this, then that other thing I could have done becomes attractive. But if I go and choose the other one, the same thing happens again. It’s part of our consumer culture. People do this trying to get a DVD player or a service provider, but it also bleeds into big decisions. So my rule is that if you have someone or something that gets 70 percent approval, you just do it. ‘Cause here’s what happens. The fact that other options go away immediately brings your choice to 80. Because the pain of deciding is over.
“And when you get to 80 percent, you work. You apply your knowledge, and that gets you to 85 percent! And the thing itself, especially if it’s a human being, will always reveal itself — 100 percent of the time! — to be more than you thought. And that will get you to 90 percent. After that, you’re stuck at 90, but who the f*** do you think you are, a god? You got to 90 percent? It’s incredible!”
“Louie” will try to get to 90 percent when it returns to FX Monday, May 5.