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Comedian Louis CK talks growing up in Mexico and viewing US life as an immigrant

NYPL Presents George Carlin Tribute Hosted By Whoopi Goldberg

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Comedian Louis C.K. attends the George Carlin Tribute hosted by Whoopi Goldberg at the New York Public Library - Celeste Bartos Forum on March 24, 2010 in New York City.

Comedian Louis C.K., who has slowly become one of America’s top comedians, talks in the new Rolling Stone about his early childhood in Mexico.

C.K.’s father was from Mexico, and while C.K. was born in California, his family moved south of the border when he was 1 year old before returning to the U.S. when he was about 7, moving to Boston.

C.K. said that he escapes being treated like an immigrant because he’s got white skin and red hair, and that while he started speaking Spanish, he rejected that past once he came to the States. “I had the help of a whole nation of people just accepting that I’m white,” C.K. tells Rolling Stone.

“Race doesn’t mean what it used to in America anymore,” C.K. said in the Rolling Stone interview. “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.”

What is C.K.'s racial background? His paternal grandfather was Hungarian, then immigrated to Mexico and met C.K.'s grandmother, who was a Mexican with Spanish and indigenous Mexican heritage, according to Colorlines. His birth name is Louis Szekely (pronounced "C.K."). He also still holds Mexican citizenship, C.K. told Tavis Smiley in a 2009 interview.

The new issue of Rolling Stone comes out Friday, April 12, and his new comedy special is on HBO this Saturday.

It’s a flip from his previous special, which he sold directly to fans before it made its TV debut. C.K. is a multiplatform kind of guy, figuring out how to make an impact wherever he can, including an innovative ticket-selling strategy.

The fourth season of his FX dark comedy series “Louie” premieres in May 2014.

This story has been updated.

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