HBO just announced in a press release today that they’re releasing Louis C.K.’s new hour-long stand-up special sometime next year. The as-of-now untitled special will be filmed during one of the shows for C.K.’s current 16-city tour, which wraps in February. This will be Louis C.K.’s second hour-long for HBO after 2007’s Shameless. C.K. tweeted that he’ll be releasing the hour online for $5 via his website a few months after it airs on HBO, which is how he released his last hour Live at the Beacon Theater and album WORD: Live at Carnegie Hall.
It’s a surprise to see C.K. opting to go with HBO instead of just straight-up releasing his special online again. Beacon Theater was deemed an overwhelming success and has been revolutionary in the way comedians release their material, cutting out middlemen like HBO, Showtime, and Comedy Central by having the comedian sell his stuff directly to the consumer. Louis C.K.’s bold choice started a trend of comedians releasing their own stand-up hours for $5 online, with everyone from Jim Gaffigan to Aziz Ansari to Rob Delaney following in his footsteps. Doing the hour for HBO and then putting it out online months later seems like it might be the best of both worlds for C.K., as it’ll save him the trouble of paying to film his special himself and hiring a crew, but it still seems like he’s backing off the pioneering stance he took with Beacon Theater last year. Maybe C.K. is just a rebel and will always do the opposite of what all the other stand-ups are doing, even if it makes him flip-flop back and forth a bit.