The Hilarious Way Joe Pesci Shot Down Louis C.K.’s Offer to Act in His Show
If you’re a fan of Joe Pesci, you couldn’t help but notice how the Oscar-winning actor rarely appeared in a film over the past 20 years. After winning his Academy Award for Goodfellas and working in the Home Alone and Lethal Weapon franchises, Pesci simply dropped out of the acting game.
Pesci, an avid golfer and a singer with several albums to his name, has kept himself busy since he left the limelight. And he’s turned down so many acting offers that people stopped counting. (It reportedly took over least 50 tries for Robert De Niro to convince Pesci to join him in The Irishman.)
But De Niro is an old friend of Pesci’s, so there was no hard feelings about those rejections. Louis C.K., the disgraced comedian and TV show creator, didn’t have the same type of relationship when he asked Pesci to play a key role in one of his shows.
In fact, Pesci had never heard of C.K. when he got offered the part in Horace and Pete. By the time he finally got back to C.K. with an answer, Pesci treated him in a way that recalled scenes from Goodfellas and Casino.
Pesci didn’t go easy when he shot down C.K.’s pitch.
On a visit to Conan in 2016, C.K. recounted the time he tracked down Pesci and had a conversation with him. A few weeks after he left Pesci a message, C.K. got a call back while he was driving. He immediately pulled over to focus on his pitch.
Right away, Pesci wanted to let it be known he was not in awe of C.K., who was then near the height of his fame. “I don’t know who you are, never heard of you,” Pesci told him. Pesci said one of his friends showed him some of C.K.’s work.
But he didn’t want him to get the wrong idea by the courtesy call. “First of all, I’m not doing your show,” C.K. remembered Pesci saying early on in the call. He told him he wasn’t interested and wouldn’t even look at Horace and Pete script. That way, he wouldn’t hurt C.K.’s feelings if he hated it.
But one Pesci line from the conversation really stood out.
Pesci also told C.K. to quit doing stand-up entirely.
When Pesci returned C.K.’s call, it seems he did so out of respect for the comedian’s writing and acting. As for his stand-up, Pesci told him he wasn’t impressed in the slightest.
“I’ll tell you right now, quit that,” C.K. recalled Pesci saying. “You’re no good at that. I can tell it’s something you’re trying out. But it’s not for you.” When C.K. told Pesci he didn’t fear getting his feelings hurt (if he rejected his script), he cited his decades of experience dealing with crowds as a stand-up comedian.
That led to another Pesci zinger. “You’re not so much a comedian as you think you are, pal,” he said. Eventually, C.K. visited Pesci at his home and got a lot of good (if harsh) feedback from the great actor.
But that’s neither here nor there. Fans of Joe Pesci probably love the fact he can wisecrack in real-life just like he did so well in the movies.