Lunch with Kim Kulchycki at BevMo!; Jay Hauser of Facebook; and Eric Zimmett.
Louis CK is changing the way entertainers distribute material to fans. He’s completely skipping the middle man and getting his content directly to consumers.
Louis CK sells his download-only specials for $5 on website. Users can pay with PayPal, Amazon or Dwolla. Oh, plus it’s DRM-free, meaning you can copy it, use it on multiple devices, no restrictions.
And like all of Louis CK’s communication with fans, he keeps it real, especially when it comes to making his content DRM-free.
Please don’t torrent or otherwise steal this so I can keep doing things this way.
To those who might wish to “torrent” these shows:
Look, I don’t really get the whole “torrent” thing. I don’t know enough about it to judge either way. But I’d just like you to consider this: I made these files extremely easy to use against well-informed advice. I was told that it would be easier to torrent the way I made it, but I chose to do it this way anyway, because I want it to be easy for people to watch and enjoy this video in any way they want without ‘corporate’ restrictions.
Please bear in mind that I am not a company or a corporation. I’m just some guy. I paid for the production and posting of this video with my own money. I would like to be able to post more material to the fans in this way, which makes it cheaper for the buyer and more pleasant for me. So, please help me keep this being a good idea. I can’t stop you from torrenting; all I can do is politely ask you to pay your five little dollars, enjoy the show, and let other people find it in the same way.
He’s quick to email his followers whenever new material is available. It’s opt-in, after purchasing material from his website.
(I purchased Live at the Beacon, though I was more than happy to have Louis email me with updates.)
Here’s his latest email, delivered to my inbox today:
Hello. This is Louis CK again. I’m writing to let you know about a new funny thing that is available on my site, louisck.com. It’s called “Todd Barry the Crowd Work Tour”. I’m not in it. Todd is. This is the first thing produced by my site and sold there for another comedian. It’s 5 dollars as always. and it’s REALLY GODDAMN GOOD. Here’s some things about it:
Todd Barry is a great comedian. He has always been one of my favorites. There is no one out there like him. There never has been. He’s hysterically funny. I’ve known Todd for about 20 years.
About a year ago, Todd had this idea, to do a tour where all he would do on stage is “crowd work” which means casually engaging members of the audience in conversation and culling that for possible laughs and enlightenment. This is something many comedians have done throughout history, to pepper their mostly planned shows with a few moments of improvisational freshness and some sense of being in the moment and in the place instead of just reciting a show. Some comedians are good at it, some aren’t (I’m not). Some are great at it. Todd is great at it. Sometimes Todd comes with me on tour and when we do shows together, I always have the houselights completely down but he has them about halfway up so that he can see who is out there and engage them.
Crowd work has a special feeling to it because you know the comedian has gone off their script, off their own brain insides, and reached out without knowing how it might turn out. It’s a high wire act. Of course there are comedians who have rote and hackneyed ways to make this work, like a cheap magician. “where you from? Oh okay I’ll talk slower then.” But a great crowd work comedian just opens his or her mind up and takes in information and let’s their curious and funny nature process the conversation in an inspiring, illuminating and hilarious way. It’s something I’ve always loved watching Todd do through the years.
So, Todd’s idea was to do a show that is all crowd work. No “jokes”. No set material. Just go up there and start talking to whoever is willing and see what happens. It has a natural tension to it because Any second, the show could just go dry. But it never does with Todd.
Todd did a Crowd Work tour and it was a success. So he had the idea to do another one and film it, to create a standup special. I thought it was a great idea so I offered to produce it for him and to provide it on my site. We got Lance Bangs to direct it. Lance is a really great guy. If any of you have seen the Jackass movies, you’ve probably seen poor Lance throwing up while holding a camera.
So what we did was put Todd on the road. He started in San Diego and worked his way up the coast to Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, and Anchorage Alaska. Lance filmed all the shows and some of the travel in between and Todd worked with Gina Sansom, the editor (who did a great job), and put it together.
The result of all this is a really funny and compelling show. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t think there is anything like it. It’s not just a standup special with a guy on a big stage doing his well honed hour. In this show, you’re watching a master at work with no material and it’s just great. Really great. Every city he worked in changes the color of each performance because the crowd is the show and each crowd comes from a different metropolitan culture. You learn things from this show like what are people doing for a living these days. What are the hours of a professional tweeter? How much does a pipe layer in Alaska drink? Todd takes all of these people’s lives and plays with them with his unique rhythm and great mind.
Anyway, you really really really should go to louisck.com and buy this show. It’s five dollars. It’s funny as shit. And shit is really really funny.
Thank you for your time. Oh, also, I’m hosting Saturday Night Live again on March 29th. Please watch.
If you follow Louis CK or like his work, head to his website louisck.com. It’s a refreshing experience with purchasing media and even digital downloads.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone @biz on CNBC discussing the “value” of valuations.