Louis C.K. got one of his first major breaks as a writer for "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," and in this interview recently unearthed by the Paley Center for Media, he reveals a penchant for innovativeness that would not be fully formed until nearly two decades later.
O'Brien had to create a show from the ground up when inherited "Late Night" from David Letterman, and he and Robert Smigel, the show's first head writer, were smart enough to hire C.K., who was already known as a killer stand-up comedian. Early on, C.K.'s role was as the head monologue writer for the show, which may seem odd considering the traditional confines of a talk show monologue and C.K.'s reputation for creativity.
He tells the moderator, Ron Simon, that he originally tried to break down the monologue format by having Conan do a short stand-up routine about his personal life and reflections at the top of each show. This didn't really pan out, simply due to the volume of material needed each day that could be pulled from the headlines. But C.K. certainly gets points for trying, and his instinct to innovate would follow him throughout his career.
As in Jon Stewart's Paley Center interview from the same era, Simon believes this may have been one of the first times C.K. was interviewed extensively about his craft. Check out the video above, where C.K. is interviewed alongside Smigel and Andy Richter.