The time Louis C.K. found a dead body in the East River

Fans of Louis C.K. know the comedian has a morose streak, but Tuesday on “The Late Show” he took this dark tendency to a new extreme, sharing with David Letterman a bummer of a story about finding a dead body in the East River. It was quite a departure from the innocuous canned anecdotes that are the norm on late night -- perhaps too much of a departure for some -- but it was entirely in keeping with C.K.'s melancholy brand of humor.

As the star, who’s nominated for a slew of Emmys for his FX series “Louie” and plays a cheater in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” explained, he was out for a ride around Manhattan on his boat recently when the Coast Guard issued an alert to be on the lookout for a body south of the Queensborough Bridge -- precisely where he happened to be at the time.

"As soon as they said it, I looked down and there was the dude in the water," recalled C.K., who wondered whether Letterman whether had ever seen a dead person before.

"Well, I've been to various funerals," Letterman replied.  "I mean … but not like this. This is a dead guy in the wild."

The experience of seeing "a freshly dead person" was, not surprisingly, "creepy and weird" for C.K., who, left to wait with the body until police arrived, couldn't help but get a little metaphysical.

"Well, I thought about it. I was like, this was a person, this is a story, this is a life," he said. "And he's just a floater now. That's what they call 'em. They call 'em 'floaters.' I felt, you know, all kinds of things."

C.K. nobly resisted the temptation to take a picture of said "floater," because "I tried to think what I would want if I was dead in the water and someone was there."

He later found out via some Googling that the person had committed suicide. "Sometimes a person dies, everybody gets all excited, they talk about it all year. But this is just some guy who couldn't do it anymore," he said.

Thankfully, C.K. wasn't all doom and gloom during the interview: He lightened the mood by sharing an adorable voice mail from his 5-year-old daughter and a less sweet but very funny one from his "Blue Jasmine" co-star Andrew Dice Clay.