What's so important about the Louis CK self-distribution model?

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Answered by: Brandon, An Expert in the Today's Comedians Category
The last decade has brought significant change to the arts & entertainment scenes and the way we experience them. Several pioneers have emerged during this time, which have helped revolutionize the types of products available and the way we access them. Many of these individuals have come from the fields you would expect - technology and social media. But others have come from unexpected places such as stand-up comedy, with the most influential of so being Louis CK.



Louis CK is the People's Comedian, a modern day philosopher. Someone we can connect with because he's an everyday man, with a clear and intelligent way of expressing his experiences in a fashion that gives us our own personal insight. The life he lives helps us understand our own lives better; by getting to the root of every day problems and revealing the truths that most of us don't want to talk about.

Nearly every aspect Louie applies to his work was self-taught: from writing to directing, camera operating and even editing. He's mentioned on many occasions that he loves to learn and feels he's learning all the time. It's this open-mindedness that keeps propelling him forward and how every stand-up special is somehow better than his previous, and each season of his current show 'Louie' features very different ideas & storytelling structures that keep it fresh. Louie turned down numerous offers on projects until he was met with one that he could actually retain control over. He decided that if he was going to take the time to create he was going to do it his way and not compromise for anything.



Keeping in tradition with being a pioneer, Louis CK was the first of many things; notably, his third stand-up special ‘Hilarious’ was the first ever stand-up film to be accepted at the Sundance Film Festival. His freshmen show 'Lucky Louie’ was the first HBO show to be filmed in front of a live studio audience. And his biggest accomplishment to date has been the self-distribution of his new stand-up special, Live at Beacon Theater, for just $5 through his website. It was an experiment that netted him $1 million in just 12 days, clearly a very successful experiment.

His main reason for making this content available through his website was to cut out the middleman, making it cheaper for the consumer to obtain his work. This same technique was applied for ticket purchases to any & all of his shows. The extra fees & charges through services like Ticketmaster pushed the price of tickets way up, making it unaffordable for many of his fans. So he took matters into his own hands and sold tickets to the fans directly, avoiding all extra charges and allowing many more of his fans to be able to see him perform live.

His 25+-year experience as a stand-up comedian has made him refine his material over and over again with an audience and work at it until it was perfect. This is a very difficult way to approach a creative field and yet it's something he applies to everything he does, including his Film & Television projects. Even after all that hard work, every year Louie throws away all his material and starts over from scratch, an awe-inspiring work ethic held by one of his heroes, George Carlin.

And not since George Carlin has a stand-up comedian been so widely accepted by such a diverse range of people. You'd be otherwise hard-pressed to find an event where you have 70 year old devout Christians sitting next to 20 year old frat boys, all cracking up to the same material. There's something Universal about what this man does and the way he brings people together. His persistence and forward thinking can be applied to nearly any creative field and should inspire all.

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