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Louis CK sells new comedy special directly, promotes on Reddit

Comedian Louis CK onstage at the Beacon Theater.

Comedian Louis CK onstage at the Beacon Theater.


Louis C.K. has a new comedy special out, "Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater," and instead of going the traditional route and putting it out somewhere like HBO or Comedy Central, he's distributing it directly from his website, LouisCK.net as a digital download. He's charging $5 for the fully produced special, and for that you get the chance to stream and download the hour special.

He's also going nontraditional with how he's promoting it, including doing one of Reddit's AMA question and answer sessions, answering the queries of the Reddit fan base. He covers topics including piracy, interacting with fans, how deeply involved he is in producing his FX TV show "Louie" (down to editing the entire second season himself) and more. Some highlights:

On why he doesn't sleep with fans: "I don't really hang around after shows. I bolt. I think the idea of f---ing someone who just watched you perform is... it's just not me."

On making movies: "I would love to make more movies. That is a F---ING HARD JOB though, dude. Just to get it made. You can't even do anything else while you're trying to get it made and then you probably won't. It's heartbreaking. Then it takes a good two years to make and finish the movie then it maybe won't come out and then maybe it gets changed and worse than the movie not getting made, you made it, then it got changed into something you hated and then came out."

Advice for young comedians: " You need to get on stage as much as possible and vary your stage experience as much as possible and not quit and take care of yourself and always question why you say the things you say and enjoy yourself."

On the inspiration for an episode of his show where he went to Afghanistan: "My daughter said 'You should do an episode where you go to Afghanistan and bring a duckling to keep you company.' So I did it."

On what he's going to do with the money from this special if it sells well: "I will use that money to buy a home and get some security which I NEVER have had in my life and have certainly not gotten from my low budget show."

On his use of controversial/offensive terms: "I pretty much never say f--got on stage anymore. It's just worked it's way into and out of my act. It's not interesting anymore and I'm not going to say it just to say it. N-----... still pretty interesting."

The Taiwanese digital animators at NMA.tv who've produced a wide variety of viral videos, usually based around the news, took to immortalizing this question and answer session.

The video includes a few misconceptions. He does well, but I'm not sure that most in the comedy world would describe Louis C.K. as "America's most popular stand up comedian," though he may be the most widely respected by those who take comedy seriously.

As for the looming question of piracy which hangs over pretty much any piece of entertainment today: While there are some limitations, the downloadable video file of his new comedy special is available without restrictions. As the site describes it, "No DRM, no regional restrictions, no crap. You can download this file, play it as much as you like, burn it to a DVD, whatever."

He also includes a statement about torrenting the video, noting that he made it available in an easily distributable format for ease of use "against well-informed advice," despite being told that it would be easier to torrent in that format. He makes a personal plea, saying "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 video, and let other people find it in the same way."

If you want to pick up the special, you can do so here. For a peek at what it's like, you can see an outtake here (warning: contains adult language and references):

You can also listen to Louis C.K. on NPR's own "Fresh Air."

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