As you may have heard, last night’s episode of Conan — his last of a week of doing shows in New York — was wonderful, which burns me to no end because I was supposed to be there but couldn’t make it, so I let Matt from Warming Glow go in my place. Yes, it sucked that I couldn’t go, but it sucked even more when Matt tweeted from the taping that Louis C.K. was there as a guest, which just made me wanna put my face through a window for missing.
Anyway, Louis — in addition to the riffing on Twitter he did in the clip above — revealed something on the show I found quite interesting: rather than sell his new comedy special to HBO or Showtime or Comedy Central, he’s going to make it available on his website for $5 using Paypal. In other words, the talent is circumventing the man, which I kinda love, and it’s something I’m surprised more entertainers with decent followings aren’t already doing.
The New York Times got Louis to elaborate about it more today…
Asked in a phone interview on Friday morning why he was not bringing the special to a traditional cable television network, Louis C. K. said: “To me, I flip the question over: Why should I go through a cable network when I can just give it directly to the people who want to see it? It’s so much easier, and it’s an interesting experiment.”
Yes, YES — A million times, YES! I have been saying this FOREVER!
He went on…
In recent years, he said, the cable channels have become increasingly difficult and unnecessary platforms for him to present these kinds of shows.
“HBO used to be the thing,” Louis C. K. said. “It used to be called an HBO special, even if you had a special on Showtime – people would call it your HBO special. But HBO gave up that. They don’t do it anymore. I offered them ‘Hilarious,’ to broadcast, and they said, ‘Well, we don’t do any business with you. You don’t have a show on HBO, so we don’t have a reason to promote you that way.’”
Showtime, he said, “was really nice but they don’t really push stuff, they just kind of stick it on.” And Comedy Central is “a weird place – they show too many commercials and they cut all the cursing out.”
The joy of presenting a standup special that eliminates any traditional broadcast partner, Louis C. K. said, was that this new show “will be available immediately, and universally.” He added: “You don’t have to have an iTunes account in good standing. You don’t have to have your credit card at Netflix updated. You can be a loser and watch this thing. You can be in prison.”
Using this strategy, he said, monolithic and intrusive media corporations don’t have to be part of the equation, either.
“Everybody is outnumbered,” Louis C. K. said, “because everything in your wallet represents all these contentious relationships with these huge companies. If you want to watch one of my specials on Netflix, they start marketing to you, and you start getting Jeff Dunham ads. You try to read an article about Rwanda and a pop-up comes up for Larry the Cable Guy. ‘Hey, I heard you enjoyed Louie’s special – now we know who you are.’”
God, and here I was thinking that there was no way I could possibly love Louis C.K. any more.