There’s probably not a standup comedian bigger than Louis CK right now. His FX television show, Louie, earned him two Emmy Award nominations in 2011, and his recent comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theater, made history when CK distributed the show via the web (not HBO) and netted $1,000,000 in sales in a matter of days.

Louis CK is riding a good wave. But times weren’t always so easy. Back in 2010, CK spoke at a tribute to George Carlin (hosted at the venerable New York Public Library) and revisited his early days in the profession. For years — actually 15 long years — CK performed the same old act and spun his wheels. Then he looked to Carlin and turned his career around. As you might expect, the story is laced with some profanity. (Come on, it’s Louis CK talking about George Carlin!) But, when you strip the language away, you get a good life lesson. Perseverance counts. But so does perspective, getting the right perspective.

Louis CK’s talk appears above. You can find the full Carlin tribute here. And don’t miss a very related video where Carlin describes the turning point in his own life — the moment when he learned “not to give a shit” and his comic genius came into full bloom.

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