For comedian Louis C.K., the hapless, divorced dad he plays on his FX comedy “Louie” is an escape.

“It would be a bummer to do my real life,” says C.K., “but I get to make mistakes I don’t make in real life, and play them out, you know?”

The simplest excursions — a date, a trip to a dentist, trying to lose weight, meeting a fan — take on a darkly funny, disillusioned-male angst. But C.K. is more blunt about his on-screen persona.

“He’s really a dolt. Any time I feel like an episode isn’t working, it’s usually because my character is acting too appropriately, or being too smart,” he says. “There has to be a part when you go, ‘Dude, don’t do that!’?”

The 43-year-old comedian admits that early on in shooting he realized he needed to tone down his natural stand-up rhythms for the non-comedy-club scenes, and trust in downplaying for the filmed stories.

“I’m sometimes very reactive on the show, and quiet,” says C.K., “but it’s OK, because in less than five minutes I’m going to be telling a really dirty joke.”

C.K. handles all writing and directing chores on “Louie” as well, but he considers the acting part the hardest.

“I tend to give myself very few lines,” he says. “So when I show up on set and they give me what I wrote six months before, and I never remember what I wrote, I look at it and go, ‘I’m so happy/ I have no lines. I can just look at the other person.’?”

Antiheroes and the actors who love them | Actors always playing the bridesmaid | Prior noms hope to repeat | Actors in Emmy contention
Lead Actor Contenders
Sean Bean | Steve Buscemi | Jeremy Irons | Matt LeBlanc |

Andrew Lincoln | Louis C.K. | William H. Macy | Tom Selleck