Louis CK in Debt ‘Millions of Dollars’ Over ‘Horace and Pete’

Stand-up star takes to ‘Howard Stern’ to flog episodes of his self-made web series

Louis CK
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He’s too proud to pass the hat or stand on a street corner, but Louis CK needs your financial help, thanks to “Horace and Pete.”

The dramedy web series written, directed and created by the comedian stars CK (a.k.a. Louis Szekely) and Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire”) as the co-owners of a downmarket Brooklyn bar that serves no chi-chi mixed drinks, just Budweiser on tap. The show, which touches on health, politics and family matters, also stars Alan Alda, Edie Falco (“Nurse Jackie”), Steven Wright and Jessica Lange (“American Horror Story”).

To call the show well-reviewed would almost be an understatement; the series scored an impressive 78 percent on Metacritic, 8.9/10 on IMDb and a jaw-dropping 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Louis CK launched the 10-episode series in late January, posting show episodes exclusively on his web site (louisck.net) on a sliding-scale pay-per-view basis: $5 for the first episode, $2 for Episode 2 and $3 for every episode after that. Trouble is, there haven’t been enough viewers willing to pay for it.

So he took to the Howard Stern radio show on Monday to drum up support.

CK told Stern that he intended to shell out $2 million of his own money to cover the cost of the first four episodes — $500,000 each, leaving him, he said, with “no cushion in life.” By releasing the show direct to his web site, and bypassing any middlemen, CK said he hoped to make the money back on sales of each episode in order to fund the rest of the season.

That hasn’t happened, and as a result, he told Stern, he’s “millions of dollars in debt right now.”

“I had to take out a line of credit.” he told Stern. “I’m not a wealthy guy. I don’t have a ton of money saved up.”

Hence the radio appeal on Stern’s show, and the more direct appeal at CK’s own web site. “It’s a good show. It’s seriously depressing, it makes people cry,” CK said with his typical understated over-the-top style. “It’s unlike any other show you’ve ever seen … Give it a few episodes to get used to it, and if you take it to the end, you’ll love it.”

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