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Louis C.K.'s 44th Birthday: 14 Clips From Louie's Career (VIDEOS)

First Posted: 09/12/11 04:56 PM ET   Updated: 11/12/11 05:12 AM ET

It’s been 27 years since two disastrous minutes almost ruined Louis C.K.'s comedy career forever. In 1984, Louis tried his hand at stand-up comedy for the first time at an open mic in Boston, where he jumped on stage for a five-minute set. With three minutes to go, however, the 17-year-old found he had run out of material—an experience so discouraging he thought he’d never tell jokes again.

Luckily for us, C.K. returned to the stage and rose up the ranks of the Boston comedy circuit before moving to New York in 1989. He then kicked off two decades of prolific comedy writing and performing that would span over stage, film and television, earning the comedian his reputation as one of the most talented and prolific names in comedy.

Today is Louis C.K.’s 44th birthday, and in celebration we’ve compiled some videos showcasing his work over the years, from early stand-up sets in 1980s to his acclaimed series "Louie" on FX, currently in its second season.

Take a tour of Louie's evolution as a comedian and as an artist throughout his two-and-a-half-decade long career.

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  • Catch A Rising Star in Cambridge, MA - 1987

    At around 20 years old, Louis C.K. was already doing stand-up regularly around Boston.

  • "Caroline's Comedy Hour," A&E Television Network - 1990

    Louie appeared on several cable shows in his early twenties.

  • "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" with Robert Smigel - 1993

    Louis C.K. was one of the first staff writers on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," where he frequently appeared in sketches as well.

  • "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" - 1993

    He also performed stand-up on "Late Night."

  • "Late Show with David Letterman" - 1995

    He first appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman" in 1995, where he also served as a staff writer. According to Louie, an inexplicable falling out led to his absence from the show until he appeared again <a href="" target="_hplink">last July.</a>

  • "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist" - 1996

    Like many comics of his generation, Louie got one of his comedy routines animated on "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist."

  • "Tomorrow Night," written/directed by Louis CK - 1998

    In the mid-'90s, C.K. started to dabble in making short films. While some of those shorts, such as "Tomorrow Night," may seem extremely experimental, they are a part of his evolution of an auteur, ultimately resulting in "Louie." (Look out for a young Steve Carell and J.B. Smoove in this short.)

  • "Pootie Tang," written/directed by Louis CK - 2001

    Louie next stepped behind the camera as director of "Pootie Tang," which has become a cult classic, despite C.K. expressing dissatisfaction with it. It was one of many times that he worked with frequent collaborator Chris Rock.

  • "Lucky Louie," HBO - 2006

    His first foray into his own TV show was the classical three-camera styled HBO sitcom "Lucky Louie," which was canceled after one season.

  • "Shameless," HBO - 2006

    Louie's first hour-long HBO special, "Shameless," was perhaps the first special that caused many to take a second look at C.K. as one of the most talented voices in a generation.

  • "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" - 2008

    He still continues to appear on talk shows frequently. This bit about how everything is convenient yet nobody is happy, which he performed at his old stomping ground "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," became a quick classic.

  • "Parks and Recreation" - 2009

    Louis had a memorable turn as a security guard who becomes a brief love interest of Leslie Knope on "Parks and Recreation."

  • "Opie and Anthony" - 2011

    During an appearance on "The Opie and Anthony Show," where Louis regularly appears, he repeatedly asked Donald Rumsfeld whether he was a lizard person. Conspiracy theorists rejoiced when Rumsfeld never answered. (Check out the full version <a href="" target="_hplink">here</a>.)

  • "Louie" - 2010

    And of course, "Louie," C.K.'s magnum opus that he writes, stars in, directs, produces, edits and everything in between. Blessed by some of the most outstanding reviews this side of "Breaking Bad" and even an Emmy nomination as Best Actor, "Louie" is truly a once-in-a-lifetime creative expression that manages to be funny, honest, heartwarming and poignant every single episode.

Watch a full episode of 'Louie' here:


Filed by Ross Luippold  |