NEW YORK (AP) — Louis C.K. and Lena Dunham are on a collision course.
The Emmy nominations announced Thursday highlight their parallel approaches to television. For their acclaimed comedies "Girls" and "Louie," they're each nominated for directing, writing and acting, separated only by gender in the acting category.
Lena's shift from independent film to TV was partly inspired by "Louie." Her fandom is so great that she dressed as the comedian for Halloween. (She tweeted a photo at the time, complete with a balding cap and faux facial hair.)
"I'm really hoping to meet him and take a lot of photos with him and explain to him that we shouldn't necessarily get married, but maybe we should, like, have another kid together," said Lena on her way to shoot the second season of "Girls."
Performers who act, direct and write have traditionally gravitated toward the movies. But both Louis and Lena have brought an auteur sensibility to television, where the fertile cable environment ("Louie" airs on FX, "Girls" on HBO) has grown increasingly alluring.
Both are New Yorkers whose shows are set in the city but offer very different visions of it. "Girls" is a portrait of a young, post-collegiate generation in New York, while "Louie" proceeds out of Louis' stand-up act and his singular perspective on life as a father. Yet both shows are clearly the work of one author and are predicated on an usual degree of honesty.
Louis confesses he's only seen part of an episode of "Girls" because he has little time to watch TV, but calls Lena "a very individual voice." Still, the gulf between the two is perhaps a little wider from his viewpoint.
"This may sound patronizing, but how old is Lena?" wonders Louis, who at 44 is easily senior to the 26-year-old Lena. "Well I've got two daughters, so for me, honestly, I'm happy for her that this is her first year on TV and she got a nomination in every job she has on her show and she's a young woman. That makes me really happy.
"I've got two girls, so you root for girls, literally," he adds.
"Girls" was nominated for a total of five Emmys, including best comedy series. Louis, himself, earned a remarkable seven nominations: three for "Louie" and four for his stand-up special "Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theatre." The comedian also wrote, directed and starred in the special, which he famously distributed on his own through his website.
"I'm just a curious person," said Louis, who has since also evaded Ticketmaster by selling all tickets to his fall stand-up tour himself. "I'm just trying stuff, you know? These all could have been little things that just didn't work so nobody would care."
The two certainly reacted to their nominations differently. While Louis met the news with characteristic humility and a lack of audible excitement, Lena said she had "the shriekiest morning of my life."
"I jumped around in my bed and I ran down the hall that's in my apartment building that's not even part of my house without my pants on," she said.
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- Lena Dunham