Jim Gaffigan has announced that he will make a new comedy special available through his website as a digital download costing $5. The special — Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe — will go on sale in April on JimGaffigan.com.
It seems that the Louis C.K. business model is catching on. Gaffigan directly acknowledges as much, stating that he was inspired by the success C.K. had in distributing Live at the Beacon Theater in December. “I am incredibly motivated by the courage of Louie to offer his fans direct access for a low price,” Gaffigan said. “Buyers of my special can be assured that their money will go directly to feeding and raising my four children instead of a giant corporation. I will self-produce a high quality special with all new material that will be incredibly easy to download and then you will own it. Forever.”
As further motivation for fans to purchase the special instead of pirating it, Gaffigan will donate 20 percent of the money he makes to the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Said Gaffigan, “Maybe I’m being naive, but I trust you guys. Besides, who would want the karma of stealing money from wounded veterans?” Gaffigan goes on to say:
Not going with a big corporation means I wont have any advertising. There will be no bells and whistles or billboards but maybe you can help. If you like the special, tell you friends to download it too. That’s the best kind of advertising anyway.
I must admit that I have not felt this excited and nervous since I first tried stand up over 100 years ago. It’s humbling to take a risk that you are not sure will work. You don’t know if a joke will bomb unless you try it.
This is exactly what many comedy fans were hoping for when C.K. first announced the unique idea for inexpensive, online distribution of his comedy. Those fans proved they were willing to pay for content that was easily available, DRM-free, and that directly supported the artist in question. Obviously, the success of that experiment has not gone unnoticed. We can only hope this trend continues.
UPDATE: Feb. 24
Jim Gaffigan announced today that the new special will be available for download on April 18.
UPDATE: March 1
Gaffigan announced the new special will now be available for download on April 11. Official reason: “We are moving the date up to April 11th because you are so special. No kidding. That is the reason.”