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Five things to know about Louis C.K. before he comes to Tampa

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Published:   |   Updated: March 14, 2013 at 02:31 AM

Here's what you probably already know about Louis C.K.: 1) He's the writer, director and star of the critically-praised, Emmy-winning series "Louie," 2) he's a stand-up comedian, whose painful-yet-funny material springs from a hatred of his own, oafish desires and 3) he is red hot.

After spending decades as the quintessential "comic's comic," the hard-working, road comedian flew under the celebrity radar but his popularity has soared since "Louie" debuted in 2010.

His current national stand-up tour has sold out in every city, including two Tampa shows at the Straz Center's 2,610-seat Carol Morsani Hall on Thursday.

Perhaps you were lucky enough to snag tickets before they sold out, or maybe you're going to try your luck on Craigslist. Either way, here are five things you probably don't know about the funny man in the black T-shirt.

"Louie" isn't his first time directing – Before he stepped behind the camera of his own show, C.K. already had a Hollywood feature under his belt, writing and directing the 2001 blaxploitation parody "Pootie Tang," starring Chris Rock. The film was a flop at the time, but gained a cult following in later years.

He has an international background – C.K., who took the pseudonym "C.K." because it sounded like his Hungarian surname (Szekely), was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with his mother as a young boy. His first language is Spanish. He grew up Newton, Mass.

He starts fresh every year – Some comedians spend a career refining enough stand-up to fill a solid hour onstage, C.K. throws away that much every year. At a 2010 tribute to George Carlin, C.K. credited the late comic with inspiring him to develop a completely new routine every year. So don't expect to hear C.K. recycle classic jokes about his love for dolphin-filled tuna or his boredom with his young daughter.

"Louie" wasn't his first TV show – His often-forgotten, first sitcom "Lucky Louie" premiered on HBO in 2006, but was canceled after the first season. The show revolved around Louie, a part-time mechanic, and his wife and teenage daughter. It was the first HBO show ever filmed in front of a live studio audience.

He's changing the ticket game – C.K.'s decision to sell "Live at the Beacon" for $5 on his website received a lot of attention, but he's also cutting out the middle man with his live tour. He bypassed Ticketmaster by self-distributing tickets online, a move that kept every ticket at a reasonable $45. His pledge to void any ticket resold for more than face value was a strike back at scalpers everywhere.

Louis C.K.

When: Thursday, Nov. 29

Where: Straz Center, 1010 North Macinnes Place

Price: $45


cspata@tbo.com, @CSpataTBO

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