Louis C.K. reveals $200,000 profit from self-released comedy special

By | December 13, 2011 at 11:38 pm | 27 comments | feature slider, News | Tags: ,

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?

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • Trig

    Saw it, loved it, and realized that I am HORRIBLE AT MAKING LOVE TO A WOMAN. He’s changed my life. Worth $5. Not $6, but totally worth $5.

  • Trig

    Saw it, loved it, and realized that I am HORRIBLE AT MAKING LOVE TO A WOMAN. He’s changed my life. Worth $5. Not $6, but totally worth $5.

  • Five spot

    It’s Radiohead’s In Rainbows, only funny. Five bucks is a ridiculously no-brainer price point.  Obviously, just as Radiohead’s example might not have been a viable option for less well-known bands, I suspect the average standup can’t be selling his or her album for $5.  But I’d probably by more of them if they were that damn cheap. 

  • Five spot

    It’s Radiohead’s In Rainbows, only funny. Five bucks is a ridiculously no-brainer price point.  Obviously, just as Radiohead’s example might not have been a viable option for less well-known bands, I suspect the average standup can’t be selling his or her album for $5.  But I’d probably by more of them if they were that damn cheap. 

  • Five spot

    It’s Radiohead’s In Rainbows, only funny. Five bucks is a ridiculously no-brainer price point.  Obviously, just as Radiohead’s example might not have been a viable option for less well-known bands, I suspect the average standup can’t be selling his or her album for $5.  But I’d probably by more of them if they were that damn cheap. 

  • BEN

    This model can only work for few people.  
    I’m glad I spent $5 on it.  Worth every penny.

  • BEN

    This model can only work for few people.  
    I’m glad I spent $5 on it.  Worth every penny.

    • Just Good Sense

      This is a common misconception, but it’s just not true. This model CAN work for literally anyone.

      Who puts in 25 years of work leading up to it.

    • Just Good Sense

      This is a common misconception, but it’s just not true. This model CAN work for literally anyone.

      Who puts in 25 years of work leading up to it.

  • BEN

    This model can only work for few people.  
    I’m glad I spent $5 on it.  Worth every penny.

  • Reypswc

    Why did Louis only make 200 of that first $500k?

    • 6669

      cover budget cost probably

    • 6669

      cover budget cost probably

    • 6669

      cover budget cost probably

    • 6669

      cover budget cost probably

  • Azbitop

    In the middle of watching it, and reading about him in Rolling Stone, and listening to him on Opie And Anthony.  I am a fan, and his business plan worked. 

  • Azbitop

    In the middle of watching it, and reading about him in Rolling Stone, and listening to him on Opie And Anthony.  I am a fan, and his business plan worked. 

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  • http://twitter.com/malf922 Tony Malfitano

    It was a great special, and Louie seems like a great person. He is by far my favorite celebrity, not just comedian.

  • http://twitter.com/malf922 Tony Malfitano

    It was a great special, and Louie seems like a great person. He is by far my favorite celebrity, not just comedian.

    • Brent

      If he’s your favorite celebrity, then maybe you can spell his name correctly. His name is Louis. His show is “Louie.” Don’t tell me that was a typo. You honestly thought his name was Louie.

    • Brent

      If he’s your favorite celebrity, then maybe you can spell his name correctly. His name is Louis. His show is “Louie.” Don’t tell me that was a typo. You honestly thought his name was Louie.

    • Brent

      If he’s your favorite celebrity, then maybe you can spell his name correctly. His name is Louis. His show is “Louie.” Don’t tell me that was a typo. You honestly thought his name was Louie.

  • Dalmada

    Bought it, saw it, laughed a lot more than 5 dollars worth… go Louie!

  • Dalmada

    Bought it, saw it, laughed a lot more than 5 dollars worth… go Louie!

  • Theadmiralristy

    Great to see there was only one finger in his pie (HIS), and that it wasn’t gobbled up by corporate middlemen. Hope he keeps raking that dough in.

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