This week, comedian Louis C.K. made the cover of Rolling Stone. Last year we said that Louis was the country’s best Mexican American comedian, and it was kind of cool to see how he addresses his background in the RS interview.
Born in Washington D.C., the teaser for the RS piece goes straight to the issue: “Where does Louis C.K.’s off-kilter comic vision come from? Turns out the answer may be “Mexico.” C.K. was born in Washington, D.C., but moved to his father’s native Mexico at age one – he and his family didn’t move back to the U.S. until he was seven or so.” Boom.
And then he says this:
“Coming here and observing America as an outsider made me an observing person. I grew up in Boston and didn’t get the accent, and one of the reasons is that I started in Spanish. I was a little kid, so all I had to do was completely reject my Spanish and my Mexican past, which is a whole lot easier because I’m white with red hair. I had the help of a whole nation of people just accepting that I’m white.”
“Race doesn’t mean what it used to in America anymore. It just doesn’t. Obama’s black, but he’s not black the way people used to define that. Is black your experience or the color of your skin? My experience is as a Mexican immigrant, more so than someone like George Lopez. He’s from California. But he’ll be treated as an immigrant. I am an outsider. My abuelita, my grandmother, didn’t speak English. My whole family on my dad’s side is in Mexico. I won’t ever be called that or treated that way, but it was my experience.”
That is quite an observation. Thanks for speaking the truth, Louis.