Selling his last stand-up comedy special straight to fans for $5 through PayPal was a million-dollar success, and now Louis C.K. is personally selling tickets to his live dates. He'll hit a ton of spots from October through February (including five NYC dates), all for $45 apiece, no matter where the seat. In a blast to his mailing list, C.K. writes: "Making my shows affordable has always been my goal but two things have always worked against that. High ticket charges and ticket re-sellers marking up the prices. Some ticketing services charge more than 40% over the ticket price and, ironically, the lower I've made my ticket prices, the more scalpers have bought them up, so the more fans have paid for a lot of my tickets. By selling the tickets exclusively on my site, I've cut the ticket charges way down and absorbed them into the ticket price."
Depending on what lens $45 is viewed through, it can look like a lot or not so much. Considered in tandem with the fact that C.K. is one of the most massive comics working today, it's not too shabby. According to C.K.'s e-mail, the price is "less than anyone has actually paid to see me (after ticket charges) in about two years and in most cases it's about half of what you paid last year."
The subversion of typical promotional companies has necessitated new venues for much of C.K.'s next new comedy hour (and it will be new: for the uninitiated, C.K. scraps all his material each year and presses reset) — a Masonic Temple in Detroit, the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, and a slew of mega-conglomerate-free theater titles. C.K.'s folks will also cancel tickets scalped for anything other than the original price, as well ("this is something I intend to enforce," he writes).
"Doing things this way means I'm making less than I would have made if I did a standard tour, using the usual very excellent but expensive ticketing service. ... But I like doing more shows and about a year ago I reached a place where I realized I am making enough money doing comedy so the next thing that interested me is bringing your price down," C.K. says. "Either way, I still make a whole lot more than my grandfather who taught math and raised chickens in Michigan."
And note how the dates are spaced so the most publicly filthy single dad of all time can properly care for his daughters half of each week. Helluva guy, all around.