Louis C.K. is often compared to Woody Allen (whose new movie he’s even starring in), but to me, C.K. is this generation’s George Carlin, a savagely funny comedian who isn’t afraid to touch on real issues. Carlin was something of a people’s philosopher, who just happened to swear a lot, and C.K. has touched on issues ranging from politics, environmentalism, consumption, race, class, education and masturbation, one of his personal favorite subjects. He’s also just about the only male comedian I know who deals with sexual assault well. Louis C.K. just gets it.
Here’s 55 of his greatest quotes, presented in no particular order.
1. You’ll be fine. You’re 25. Feeling [unsure] and lost is part of your path. Don’t avoid it. See what those feelings are showing you and use it. Take a breath. You’ll be okay. Even if you don’t feel okay all the time.
2. You’ve got to be optimistic to be single. Stupid. You have to be stupid. That’s what optimistic means, you know? It means stupid. An optimist is somebody who goes, “Hey, maybe something nice will happen.” Why the fuck would anything nice happen?
3. I don’t stop eating when I’m full. The meal isn’t over when I’m full. It’s over when I hate myself.
4. I finally have the body I want. It’s easy, actually, you just have to want a really shitty body.
5. People say, “My phone sucks.” No, it doesn’t! The shittiest cellphone in the world is a miracle. Your life sucks. Around the phone.
6. Talking is always positive. That’s why I talk too much.
7. I grew up in Boston, and in Boston, people just beat the shit out of each other for no reason. They just beat the shit out of each other. But I kinda think you need that to keep quality control ’cause in places where it doesn’t have it, they’re too free.
8. Some things I think are very conservative, or very liberal. I think when someone falls into one category for everything, I’m very suspicious. It doesn’t make sense to me that you’d have the same solution to every issue.
9. I don’t think women are better than men, I think men are a lot worse than women.
10. When I was younger, I lied all the time, because once you understand the power of lying, it’s really like magic because you transform reality for people.
11. Farts are—I just refuse to be snobbish about certain shit with comedy. You know, farts come out of your ass and they make a fucking trumpet sound. That shit smelling gas comes out of your ass and it makes a toot sound. What the fuck is not funny about that? It’s perfect, it’s a perfect joke. It has all the elements.
12. Kids are like buckets of disease that live in your house.
13. I used to like people more, but now I have children and that changes your life in a lot of ways. Like you spend time with people you never would have chosen to spend time with, not in a million years. I spend whole days with people, I’m like, “I never would have hung out with you. I didn’t choose you. Our children chose each other based on no criteria by the way. They’re the same size. They don’t care who they make me hang out with.”
14. I just don’t trust any of it. Every time I read something about how there’s been another ridiculous climb of the Dow Jones, there’s a part of me that goes, “This can’t be good.” None of this is real money. You know what I mean? It’s not like there’s actually more of anything. It’s just ideas. When people are getting richer and richer but they’re not actually producing anything, it can’t end well.
15. I’ve started to kind of hate people, and it’s not because I have anything against them. It’s just, I enjoy it. It’s recreation.
16. People get angry at environmentalists because they think they’re slowing down the economy and creating restrictions and a lot of these people are Christian. A lot of these people are very devout Christians and that’s such a confusing thing to me — that if you believed that God gave you the Earth, that God created the Earth for you, why would you not have to look after it?…Why would you not think that when he came back he wouldn’t go, “What the fuck did you do? I GAVE THIS TO YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! ARE YOU CRAZY? THE POLAR BEARS ARE BROWN! WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE POLAR BEARS? Did you shit all over every polar bear?”
17. I love to shit. It’s my favorite thing. I don’t know why they call it Number Two. I think it’s easily the best one. In my book, it’s Number One.
18. It’s like when you’re talking to a girl at a bar because you’re attracted to her, the first thing you say is always gonna be dog shit. The most honest thing you could say to her is ‘I wanna fuck your face.’ That’s the most honest thing you could say.
19. As humans, we waste the shit out of our words. It’s sad. We use words like “awesome” and “wonderful” like they’re candy. It was awesome? Really? It inspired awe? It was wonderful? Are you serious? It was full of wonder? You use the word “amazing” to describe a goddamn sandwich at Wendy’s. What’s going to happen on your wedding day, or when your first child is born? How will you describe it? You already wasted “amazing” on a fucking sandwich.
20. I read something in the paper that really confused me the other day. It said that 80 percent of the people in New York are minorities…Shouldn’t you not call them minorities when they get to be 80 percent of the population? That’s a very white attitude, don’t you think? I mean, you could take a white guy to Africa and he’d be like, “Look at all the minorities around here! I’m the only majority.”
21. There are two types of people in the world: People who say they pee in the shower and dirty fucking liars.
22. I killed my Facebook page years ago because time clicking around is just dead time. Your brain isn’t resting and it isn’t doing. I think people have to get their heads around this thing. All this unmitigated input is hurting folks.
23. Drugs are so fucking good that they will ruin your life.
24. It seems like the better it gets, the more miserable people become. There’s never a technological advancement where people think, “Wow, we can finally do this!” And I think a lot of it has to do with advertising. Americans have it constantly drilled into our heads, every fucking day, that we deserve everything to be perfect all the time.
25. A man will cut your arm off and throw it in a river, but he’ll leave you as a human being intact. He won’t fuck with who you are. Women are non-violent, but they will shit inside of your heart.
26. I really think that white people are from another planet because when we came to America, it was so nice. It was just Indians. And they weren’t even Indians. We called them that by accident. And we still call them that. We knew in a month that it wasn’t Indians but we just don’t give a shit. We never correct it. We came here. They’re like, “Hi.” And we’re like, “Hey, you’re Indians, right?” And they’re like, “No.” “No, this is India, right?” “No, it’s not. It’s a totally other place.” “You’re not Indians?” “No.” “Ahh, you’re Indians.” “You’re Indians for hundreds of years after.”
27. Women try to compete. They’re like, “Well I’m a pervert. You don’t know. I have really sick sexual thoughts.” I’m like, “No, you have no idea. You have no idea.” “Cause you see, you get to have those thoughts. I have to have those thoughts. You’re a tourist in sexual perversion. I’m a prisoner there. You’re Jane Fonda on a tank. I’m John McCain in the hut.”
28. I have a lot of beliefs and I live by none of ’em. That’s just the way I am. They’re just my beliefs. I just like believing them. I like that part.”
29. If you’re older, you’re smarter. I just believe that. If you’re in an argument with someone older than you, you should listen to ’em. Even if they’re wrong, their wrongness is rooted in more information than you have.
30. Young guys, they’re afraid of women. They’re afraid of their feelings. “My girlfriend’s mad at me!” Well, later she won’t be, fucking calm down. They’re afraid of their bodies, they’re afraid of women’s bodies. “My girlfriend’s having her period, what do I do?” Fuck her in the period hole, you idiot, what’s the dilemma? I don’t give a shit, if you’re having your period, come on over. I’m 41, I’ll fuck the shit out of you, I’ll drink the blood, let’s party.”
31. “Fuck it.” That’s really the attitude that’s keeps a family together. It’s not “We love each other!” It’s “Fuck it.”
32. I did a show in New Jersey in the auditorium of a technical high school … Technical high school, that’s where dreams are narrowed down. We tell our children, “You can do anything you want.” Their whole lives. “You can do anything!” But this place, we take kids — they’re 15, they’re young — and we tell them, “You can do eight things. We got it down to eight for you.”
33. God is like a shitty girlfriend.
34. I wish I could know everything ever, like that would be my wish – that’s what I hope heaven is, that they tell you who shot JFK and all that stuff.
35. Life’s too short to be an asshole, as an employer or as an employee.
36. When you first get married, you have a relationship that’s so important to you, and you’re working on it together. But then you have a kid. And you look at your kid and you go, “Holy shit, this is my child. She has my DNA. She has my name. I would die for her.” And you look at your spouse and go, “Who the fuck are you? You’re a stranger.”
37. “I’m bored” is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless, it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say “I’m bored.”
38. I’m not an atheist. I think god is there and that he is watching and he made us. I just don’t give a shit. I don’t “believe in god.” I have zero idea how everything got here. I would personally say that, if I had to make a list of possibles, God would be pretty far down. But if I were to make a list of people that know what the fuck they are talking about, I would be really far down.
39. It doesn’t have any effect on your life. What do you care?! People try to talk about it like it’s a social issue. Like when you see someone stand up on a talk show and say, “How am I supposed to explain to my children that two men are getting married?… I dunno. It’s your shitty kid. You fuckin’ tell ’em. Why is that anyone else’s problem? Two guys are in love and they can’t get married because you don’t want to talk to your ugly child for five fuckin’ minutes?
40. If you do something and people think you’re stupid, just go for crazy. You get more respect that way because nobody likes stupid people.
41. It’s in the Ten Commandments to not take the Lord’s name in vain. Rape is not up there, by the way. Rape is not a Ten Commandment. But don’t say the dude’s name with a shitty attitude.
42. I ate too much and masturbated too recently, you know? It’s bad to like jerk off and run out the door, ’cause you run into somebody. “Oh, she knows…” You got to take some time alone to process the shame.
43. There are people that really live by doing the right thing, but I don’t know what that is, I’m really curious about that. I’m really curious about what people think they’re doing when they’re doing something evil, casually. I think it’s really interesting, that we benefit from suffering so much, and we excuse ourselves from it.
44. If you’re a woman and a guy’s ever said anything romantic to you, he just left off the second part that would have made you sick if you could have heard it.
45. I don’t think you should ever say anything that you’re going to have to apologize for later. If the heat gets hot, just let them get mad. How did somebody make you apologize? Did they literally hit you on your body? Let them be upset. It’s not the worst thing in the world. It doesn’t mean you’re going to be a pauper. It’s a desperate thing to need everybody to be really happy with everything you say. To me the way to manage is not to have 50 versions of yourself. I do this thing, and the next time you’re going to hear me is the next time I do another one. As soon as you crack your knuckles and open up a comments page, you just canceled your subscription to being a good person.
46. I am really tired of looking at my hips. I’m seriously really tired of standing naked in the mirror and staring at my hips for hours and hours while muttering, “You hips. You hips need to get it together.”
47. Everything that’s difficult you should be able to laugh about.
48. Twitter and Facebook and MySpace; all that stuff makes you warped. We’ve all basically given ourselves data entry jobs. I’ve actually heard people say things like, “Aw shit, I have to update my Twitter.” Really? You have to? That’s a big priority for you?
49. Even after 9/11, during the darkest moment of our recent history, the President told us, “Go shopping.” That’s how we were told to uphold American values; go out and fucking buy more shit. So what were we supposed to do?
50. Friends should always tell you the truth. But please don’t.
51. Out of the people that ever were, almost all of them are dead. There are way more dead people, and you’re all gonna die and then you’re gonna be dead for way longer than you’re alive. Like that’s mostly what you’re ever gonna be. You’re just dead people that didn’t die yet.
52. Bill Gates has 90 billion dollars … If I had 90 billion dollars, I wouldn’t have it for long because I would just dream of all the crazy stuff I could do with it. This guy, 90 billion dollars. He could buy every baseball team and make them all wear dresses and still have 88 billion dollars.
53. Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce … That would be sad. If two people were married and they were really and they just had a great thing and then they got divorced, that would be really sad. But that has happened zero times.
54. When you write from your gut and let the stuff stay flawed and don’t let anybody tell you to make it better, it can end up looking like nothing else.
55. There’s nowhere I won’t go. As long as it’s horribly, horribly true and/or wrong.
Your turn, internet. What are your favorite Louis C.K. quotes? Which of his many bits of wisdom help you get through the day? Leave them in the comments section.
“I hope your learn how to love yourself the way you love others — unconditionally and without hesitation; deeply, and from the softest parts of who you are. Because isn’t it a shame, that we are so quick to forgive the humanness in someone else’s soul, but we often forget to forgive ourselves. Isn’t it a shame, that we fight for others, we believe in them with such intensity, and such hope, but we often forget to fight for ourselves.” — Bianca Sparacino ✨
“Seeds Planted in Concrete is a very empowering read. It reminds you that you should love yourself first before anyone else.” — Alyssa