Without A Net

Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Comedian Louis CK cuts scalpers out of the deal

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Comedian Louis CK announced his plans for his fall/winter tour to his email list Monday. He's selling tickets exclusively through his website, which is an interesting enough approach. C.K. says it helps keep ticket prices down and makes them easier and less complicated to buy, the same as he did with the direct online sale of his last comedy special.

C.K. blames high ticket charges and ticket resellers for higher prices, with ticketing services charging over 40 percent margins, and scalpers buying up tickets and making huge profits. To combat that second problem, C.K. is taking a fairly drastic step: If you try to sell your ticket for above the original price, Louis C.K. is reserving the right to cancel the ticket.

He's not being too militant about it; while the ticket will be canceled, the original purchaser's money will be refunded. However, "this is something I intend to enforce," C.K. wrote to his fans. "My goal here is that people coming to see my shows are able to pay a fair price and that they be paying just for a ticket," rather than paying fees.

Louis C.K.'s one price serves all is $45, including sales tax. He also writes that it will help save him from angry emails from those who've had to pay an arm and a leg for tickets.

C.K. acknowledges that he's had some problems booking venues due to the various relationships that the places he normally plays have with ticket sellers. "Setting up this tour has been fascinating and difficult. This ticketing service is a brand new thing and I really f---ing hope it works and that there aren't any problems," C.K. writes.

He seems to acknowledge that he's largely talking about Ticketmaster: "Doing things this way means I'm making less that I would have made if I did a standard tour, using the usual very excellent but expensive ticketing service."

I had the chance to see C.K. trying out new material at the Hollywood Improv a few months ago as he prepared to present a brand new hour. For those who don't know, it's a rare thing for a comedian to produce as much as C.K. does; he's doing a whole new hour, and does a whole new hour every year.

He also recently tried out new material at Los Angeles's Largo theater in an event billed as "Louis C.K.: A Very Rough Show with Lots of New Material." One of the benefits to seeing a rough show: that show had tickets available for... $25.

C.K. showed a thankfulness in his email for his position that allows him to charge less for his full shows than fans have had to pay in the past. "I still make a whole lot more than my grandfather who taught math and raised chickens in Michigan."

The site was sluggish as of this writing, with errors trying to get pages to load, likely due to fans across the country all hitting it at once to get their chance to see C.K. on tour for what's likely a more reasonable price than they normally could. If you want to give it a shot, you can visit LouisCK.net.

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