Though 20 months have passed since the last episode premiered, Louis C.K. has not been sitting idly back, reveling in his success as a stand-up comic and a television auteur. In the almost two years between season 3 and 4 of his show (which premiered earlier this week), Louie has been touring the country performing stand-up, starring in an HBO special, and has been featured in movies directed by David O. Russell and Woody Allen. What makes Louie so special is that it is truly one man’s vision—a vision that takes place almost entirely in NYC.
Louie films his journey through family, love, success and depression in a Cinéma vérité style (observational, closer to documentary). Louie’s NYC is not made up of sets to make NYC seem more than it is. In celebration of Louie’s return to the small screen, we detail NYC locations featured in the first season of his ground-breaking and innovative television show.
1. Ben’s Pizzeria
During the show’s opening credits, we see Louis C.K. walking out of the West 4th Station in the West Village heading to a gig. On the way to that gig, he makes a pit stop at Ben’s Pizzeria on 123 MacDougal Street. While no one will say that the pizzeria contains the best pizza in the city, it has been a haven for the bar scene as it is a quick and cheap place to eat, after you spent who knows how much on cocktails and craft beers.
2. Comedy Cellar
Louie CK begins each episode with a small bit of stand up that sets up the episode, and he frequently performs at the Comedy Cellar. Located on 117 MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, The Comedy Cellar has witnessed some of the most prominent comedians in the country in front of empty and packed rooms since 1982. In an interview with Grantland’s own Bill Simmons, Louie C.K. personally thanked the former owner of the club (Manny Dowman) for keeping it open as a place for comedians to perform even through harder times.
3. Olive Tree Cafe & Bar
In the third episode, Louie C.K. and fellow comedian Nick DiPaolo get into an argument about the President. DiPaolo—a proud conservative—tells Louie that he would not eat the President’s excrement if asked to. Louie says he would without hesitation, because it would be a part of history. The two men get into a scuffle with Louie injuring DiPaolo, but putting aside their differences and taking him to a hospital. The whole fight and later peacemaking takes place at the Olive Tree Bar & Cafe, which is located right on top of the Comedy Cellar, where they share the staff along with the address.
The other comedy club we where normally find Louie performing is Caroline’s on Broadway. It’s in the middle of Times Square and the list of famous comedians who have performed in both the current and former locations is staggering. Comedy enthusiasts have seen the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Marc Maron, Dave Chappelle, and of course, Louis CK perform stand-up well before the changed the world of comedy on film and television. The club also serves as one of the major locations for the NYC comedy festival.
5. Organic Deli & Grocery
In one of the most memorably funny sequences in the first season, Louie is looked on for help while a Grocery store in Greenpoint is being robbed by gunpoint. The victims beg for his help because Louie is dressed as a police officer, for a bit role in a police procedural with Matthew Broderick. After he wipes his hands of the doughnut he was consuming, he pulls out his fake gun, which is missing a barrel, to the astonishment of the would-be robbers. Thankfully, the robber’s gun is also fake—a toy from his younger brother—and the store owner forces them out. To see for yourself where this hilarious sequence of events took place, head over to 1014 Manhattan Ave.
6. Mojo Coffee
After dropping off his two daughters in the eight episode Dogpound, our protagonist decides to indulge in the many vices he tries to keep away from being a responsible adult and father. He eats a lot of ice cream and gets extremely high off a bong run by a motor (please do not try to make one of those). The next morning, Louie wants to go grab a cup of coffee Mojo Coffe in the West Village. In a delightful riff on the hipster population in NYC, the patrons and cashier (who looks like every other coffee shop cashier in the city) all speak in a language only understandable to them.
7. Staten Island Ferry
In the episode titled Bully, Louie has his date and night ruined by a teenager in a diner who threatens to beat him up. Louie then does what so many people should do—follow the bully home and confront the child’s parents. When Louie does meet the boy’s father, he sees where the bully gets it from, as his father is short-tempered. The journey to the child’s home goes through the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry has been featured in many film and television productions including Sex and The City and Law & Order.
8. James J Walker Park
Throughout the season Louie has tried to date/sleep with another single parent named Pamela. Louie, however, is rejected by Pamela who does not have feelings for him romantically. It is less painful than it sounds, and the scene does feature a comedic conversation that can not be repeated on this family-friendly website. The scene takes place at James J Walker Park. The Manhattan park is named after the famous Jazz singer and Manhattan district Assemblyman of the same name.
9. Eastville Comedy Club
The season finale finds Louie trying to get laid. He spends one evening walking by couples of all ages and sexual orientations expressing their love publicly, which fuels his feelings of loneliness. After some attempts at talking to women in bars and a nightclub, Louie retreats to the stage, one of the few places he feels most comfortable in. The East Village comedy club is known not only for its unique style, but for being a place where people can see Sarah Silverman, Jim Gaffifan, Aziz Ansari and more grace the stage.
The season’s final moments occur in the early hours of the morning. After a night that began with loneliness and failure, it is Louie’s two daughters who not only end the night a success as they remind Louie of his love of being a father, but that he is never truly alone. It is a sweet ending to a season where we see our hero get embarrassed and emasculated at almost every turn.
The breakfast Louie and his daughters partake in before the rising of the sun takes place at the 24 hour Ukrainian restaurant Veselka. The East Village eatery has served countless New Yorkers, at all times of the day, month, and year for 60 years. The restaurant (which translates to “Rainbow” in English) has received numerous awards and has been the inspiration for songs by Doctor Rokit and Greta Gerler.