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louis c.k.

Louis C.K.’s Downloadable Comedy Special Earning Big Bucks

Louis C.K.'s unorthodox, showbiz-subverting method of presenting his new comedy special — you PayPal him $5 and can immediately download the hour-long HD video twice, and stream it twice, too — is already earning decent dough. In an exceptionally transparent update on his website, C.K. writes, "12 hours [after the special's noon launch on Dec. 10], we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we've sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video."

That's a lot of numbers, but it's both fascinating and heartening that C.K.'s oh-so-BitTorrentable gambit may serve as a bellwether for undermining Internet piracy and keeping creative types creating. "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. writes. "If anybody stole it, it wasn't many of you. Pretty much everybody bought it."

In an extensive Reddit Q&A with fans on Monday, Louie said/jested that if the special earns $8 million, he may use it to self-finance a feature film. Regardless of how many more bucks C.K. rakes in, he says he'll "certainly" utilize the same delivery method for his next comedy special and may sell future albums and performance tickets independently, "keeping my price as far down as possible, not overmarketing to you, keeping as few people between you and me as possible in the transaction."

This tale of generosity and success, coupled with the infallible, 2011-rocking TV hit Louie, tripled with a delightful interview on NPR's Fresh Air cements it: Louis C.K. wins everything ever.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/2011 Getty Images