THE HUMAN PSYCHE
Louis C.K. on the Time He Met the ‘Real Trump’: A ‘Miserable,’ Money-Grubbing Narcissist
The stand-up comedian sat down with TV critic Emily Nussbaum at The New Yorker Festival to talk Trump, Hillary Clinton, and more.
According to Louis C.K., Trump supporters are essentially charitable givers.
On Friday night, the beloved comic behind Louie and Horace and Pete took on The New Yorker Festival in a 90-minute chat with television critic Emily Nussbaum. In the heart of Times Square, the writer and director unloaded on the Republican presidential candidate and the massive, greedy hole where his heart should be.
Talking in depth about Horace and Pete, C.K.’s 10-episode online tragedy, Nussbaum and C.K. naturally transitioned from discussing “perfect narcissists” onscreen to the raging egomaniac currently trampling towards the White House. According to the seasoned comedian, “People are usually bad when they’re hurting.” His lifelong desire to give disgusting people emotional depth has made C.K. into a keen observer of human behavior. When Nussbaum asked him about a specific reference in Horace and Pete to the “president-hole” that Trump is trying to fill, Louis revealed that his musings on the tax-evading real estate tycoon were many years in the making: “It’s something I thought about Trump a long time ago, because I met him in an elevator.”
“That’s where you want to meet the dude,” Louis quipped. “That’s the real Trump.”
But C.K. wasn’t kidding. Apparently, the comedian was working at a Trump casino, many years ago, when the run-in went down. While working at what was doubtlessly an impeccably-run, fine establishment—Trump’s Castle in Atlantic City—C.K. started to notice a disturbing trend. “I saw this thing happening where buses were showing up from all over the country with little old ladies,” he explained. “They take what little they have…They take that nothing, the little tiny scraps, and they turn it into chips and they pour buckets of money into his machines.”
When Trump and his toupee finally made an appearance in Atlantic City, Louis was shocked to see that he just walked around, expressing absolutely no gratitude to the folks who filled his coffers. “He didn’t say ‘thank you’ to anybody, he just walked around… and when I was in the elevator with him I just looked in his face, and he was just miserable looking. And everybody was so excited to see him, and they’re giving him everything.”
At this point, C.K. came up with the theory that fueled that Horace and Pete punchline. He recalled thinking, “He has everything, right? And they’re leaving on the same bus just with nothing; they’re ruining their lives. And I saw this like as a reverse-charity…These women, these old ladies, they don’t need anything. They live in a shitty place and they have two dollars, and they’re like, ‘Eh, I don’t need it, it’s ok, he needs it!’ If he looks in the mirror, and he has ten dollars, he’s going to kill himself.” He concluded, “He has a $10 billion deficit in his heart. So if he doesn’t have that much money, he’s nothing. So they were like, ‘Donald, you take this!’ Because they’re invested in his charity.’”
After the uproarious applause died down, Louis noted, solemnly, that Trump’s insatiable love of money has somehow metastasized into a president-sized hole: “He’s like, ‘Thank you for your money, now I need control over your lives.’”
When Nussbaum followed up by comparing Trump to an insult comic and asking if Louis had any comedian’s wisdom for Hillary to take him down, he was quick to differentiate Trump’s unstudied craft from the work of seasoned professionals. According to Louis, insult comics are “good people who know how to fuck somebody up.” He described legend Don Rickles as a “precision talent”—in contrast, “The thing with Donald Trump is, he’s not in control.”
While the beloved comic is positive that Trump will insult audience members and scandalize constituents at Sunday’s town hall debate, he quickly assured the audience that, “I’ll be watching. That’s why we’re doing this whole election: Because we’d rather watch awful shit than have good roads and have poor people not die all the time.”
As for Hillary, Louis was adamant, “I don’t think she needs any advice from anybody. She’s unbelievable.” He even said that the former Secretary of State, “Reminds me of my mom—she works hard, and then she goes, ‘All right, go ahead and talk, I’m doing this.’ So I like her.” And for the people who insist that Clinton is a liar and a crook, Louis has one, small, question: “What the fuck do you know?”