Comedian Louis CK’s FX series, Louie, is quickly becoming my most cherished half hour of weekly television. Thus far, my favorite episode centers around CK’s awful Atlantic City gig that concludes in great morsels of wisdom from Joan Rivers. The dialogue is so compelling that New York Magazine’s Vulture interviewed Rivers about her appearance on the show, and below are some of the best excerpts.
Rivers: So, you’re in the lounge?
CK: I was
Rivers: You were fired?
CK: I quit
Rivers: What do you mean you quit? Nobody quits.
CK: I quit.
Rivers: Are you crazy? Are you a trust-fund baby that you quit?
CK: No, it’s just that they got upset cause I was saying stuff about the casino and I was making fun of Trump.
Rivers: You’re in a Trump hotel! You don’t make fun of the owner of the hotel. Are you crazy? He’s not gonna hire a comedian that’s gonna say fuck Donald Trump.
CK: I know, but I just, I…
Rivers: You know, this is not an easy business. I mean, you wanna try my life sometimes? I work in Arizona–how about that? And Indian casinos. You think that’s easy? You tell a joke, they don’t like it, instead of a tomato they throw a tomahawk. What do you expect? I mean you got a job, how lucky are you for goodness sakes?
CK: Yeah, but come on, you’re in the nice theater here. They got me in the shitty lounge.
Rivers: I was in the shitty lounge, sweetie-puss. Two years ago. For all I know I’ll be back in the shitty lounge two years from now. And you’ll be in the main room. Things change. That’s the business! Look at the perks you’re getting. You’ve got a job. You got a car, you got free food in the employee cafeteria. I mean, stop bitching and go buy yourself a pocketbook that’s lined in plastic and throw food in when they’re not looking.
CK: Yeah, great.
Rivers: You know what’s wrong with you guys? You don’t know when you’re lucky. Appreciate where you are for God’s sakes. It goes up, it goes down! I thought I had the lock on old. Lock on old. And then guess what? Back from the dead–Betty White. Dusted off her old dumb tits and trotted them out. It could happen to you! You think you’re doing so well and suddenly–what’s his name? Dane, uh Clock-guy, that asshole? He could come out and take your jobs from you! Know when you’re lucky!
CK: Yeah, I know. I mean I know all that. It’s just that sometimes I get sick of the bullshit.
Rivers: Sick of the bullshit? What is your problem? Ugh. I am a million years old. Do you know what I’ve been through? I’ve been in this business for a million and two years and I’m a WOMAN! I’m a WOMAN! It’s not easy…I have done it all. Done it all. And the only thing I’ve learned, the ONLY thing I’ve learned is you don’t quit. You don’t quit. You have a job for God’s sakes. You don’t quit a job.
CK: You’re right.
Rivers: Of course I’m right. Listen. You’ll be fine. You’ll be absolutely fine. Tomorrow morning you just go downstairs and you go tell Sam…is it still Sam, right?
CK: I don’t remember his name.
Rivers: What do you mean you don’t remember his name? You work for the guy, you gotta know the guy’s name. (scoffs) How can you work for someone and not know their name? You think you only meet these people once? You GOTTA learn their names for God’s sakes. You learn the names on the way up so when you need help on the way down you have the name.
CK: His name is Sam. I think his name is Sam.
Rivers: His name IS Sam. And he is a person. Tomorrow morning, you go down there and you say, “Sam. I’m sorry, I was wrong” — that’s important — “I want my job back.”
CK: OK, alright.
Rivers: Listen. I wish I could tell it gets better. but it doesn’t get better. You get better. You think it’s been easy? I’ve gone up, I’ve gone down. I’ve been bankrupt. I’ve been broke. But you do it. And you do it because…because we love it more than anything else. That’s why you’re doing it. You want a real job, honey, there’s a million things you can do. But what we do is not a job…sounds so stupid…what we do…is a calling , my dear. We make people happy. It’s a calling.