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Louis C.K. Becomes This Editor's Nightmare

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Louis C.K. Becomes This Editor's Nightmare


Yesterday, I got an e-mail from Louis C.K. He had big news! His latest HBO stand-up special just went up for sale on his website. Plus, he had lost 7 pounds—7 pounds without even trying! Now, he told me (OK, me and everyone else on his mailing list), "I’m setting my sites on more goals." He meant sights, of course.

As a casual reader, I noticed his goof. As a copy editor, I especially noticed. And after that, my mental blue pencil (we use blue pencils in lieu of red pens here at Marie Claire) couldn’t help but mark every time he:

· Put a period outside of quotations marks

· Misspelled and mixed up words ("I BELIEVE that I’ll alway [always] be a little but [bit] late for most things")

· Started sentences with lowercase words ("it [It] has been a while since I last wrote to you")

· Left out letters and punctuation ("with the same qualities and skills ive [I’ve] always ha [had] or lacked")

· Inconsistently styled the title of his show, from the all lowercase "louis ck oh my god" to capped and in quotes "'Louis CK Oh My God'" to, my favorite, just "oh my god"

Then there was his name: "Louis CK" at the beginning of the e-mail and "Louis ck" (lowercase "ck" this time) at the end, which can mean only one thing: He’s making these mistakes on purpose.

Why? C.K. is a comedian. I imagine he doesn’t like writing marketing e-mails. Yet he writes them because to support himself and his family, he needs to make money, and to make money, he needs to let his fans know when he has something to sell. So he writes the e-mails—but he writes them on his terms. With his typo-ridden messages, he mocks the slick, perhaps smarmy, marketing collateral he’s loath to create. He writes in a way that sounds off-the cuff, hurried, like he’s shooting off a quick note to a friend who won’t care if he confuses sites with sights.

His e-mails aren’t any less calculated than the polished promos you receive from, say, your local spa. But they are funnier. And, hey, that non sequitur at the end may actually contain a gem: "Please be always curious about other people."

Blue pencils down. 

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