The gap between Louis C.K. and his audience is growing even smaller. On "Conan" last night, he announced that for his next stand-up special, he will bypass TV networks altogether and release it only on his website for $5.
On his FX series "Louie," C.K. writes, directs, produces, edits and stars in the show, which is based on his life as a comedian in New York City. Now, he's extending the same level of control to distributing his next stand-up comedy special. He told O'Brien that he plans on producing the special with the money he raises from tickets at his show at the Beacon Theater, and then releasing it on louisck.net starting on December 10.
C.K. told Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times of his decision: "Why should I go through a cable network when I can just give [the special] directly to the people who want to see it? It's so much easier, and it's an interesting experiment."
The comedian is known for being one of the most prolific stand-up comics working today. He writes and performs a new hour of material on average once a year, a highly unique practice among his peers. His 2010 special "Hilarious" was the first stand-up comedy concert film to be accepted into Sundance Film Festival.
Although other shows are beginning to find distribution homes outside of TV, most notably the upcoming David Fincher series "House of Cards," which will be available exclusively on Netflix, C.K. may be the first high-profile stand up comedian choosing to self-distribute his special instead of broadcasting it through a TV deal or through major Internet vendors.
But it was process of elimination that led C.K. to his decision, after cable channels were unresponsive to airing and promoting his last special, and he felt like the advertising inherent in larger online streaming platforms such as Netflix compromised the viewing experience's integrity. "You can’t put an old black-and-white TV set on your kitchen table and turn it on and watch something. You can't throw on a record and listen to music. You have to belong to something," he tells the Times.
The performance that will be taped for C.K.'s special is part of the New York Comedy Festival, held Nov. 9 - 13.