In the last few days, especially in the world of comedy, there’s been tons of buzz about Louis C.K.’s newest stand-up special Live at the Beacon Theater. There’s arguably been equal amount of chatter about the way in which the veteran comedian distributed his newest project. Starting this past weekend, fans of C.K. were able to visit louisck.com, pay $5 through PayPal and stream or even download the entire special. That’s it. No strings. Five dollars.
Of course, his decision to release his special this way wasn’t entirely surprising. After all, this is coming from a dude who’s been writing, shooting, directing and editing his own specials for years. His FX show, Louie — coming back for a third season — is also completely produced (editing included) by its creator, C.K. But even with all this experience behind him, C.K. has been vocal about his concern over whether this model, applied to Live at the Beacon Theater, would work– from both financial and artistic standpoints. In short, it has worked tremendously. And he says as much (and a whole lot more) in statement posted on his official site today.
And lest you think C.K.’s “every man,” totally honest approach to comedy is just an act, the dude spilled basically all his financials as it pertains to the production of his project to the entire world. (It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any negative backlash seeing the taboo nature of talking money so openly). He reveals the production of the video cost around $170,000, which was paid largely by the attending audiences of the two shows that were filmed; he dropped $32,000 more to launch a new site that would be able to handle all of the imminent streaming and downloading. Ticket sales — amounting to about $250,000 — covered costs, allowing the comedian to break even after production.
So, after four days of sales on the special, C.K. reports that he’s sold more than 110,000 copies; that’s over $500,000. And for Louie, that means a $200,000 profit. Not too bad. And, remember. This is only after four days. “I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money, but at this point I think we can safely say that the experiment really worked,” C.K. says on his site. You can read Louis’ entire statement here.
So, did you buy Live at the Beacon Theater? Were you satisfied with the purchasing experience? And what do you think about C.K. being so open about his financial info?