While you were unwinding with a decanted bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon/Mountain Dew Code Red last night, Louis C.K. was busy subverting the stupid system again, throwing out a huge block of tickets for a just-announced tour that—as with his recent stand-up specials—cuts out all middlemen. In an announcement to his mailing list, the Fugazi of mega-popular comedians said the million-dollar success of Live At The Beacon had inspired him to apply that same strategy to a string of October to February dates, which are now being sold exclusively through his website for a flat $45 apiece. He 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. To buy a ticket, you join NOTHING. Just use your credit card and buy the damn thing. Opt in to the email list if you want, and you'll only get emails from me.
And while $45 may still seem like a high price to anyone who's never seen Louis C.K. live or can only count to 50, he points out that it's "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." It also goes directly to C.K., instead of opportunistic assholes. Speaking of which, he plans to use his total control of the distribution to crack down on scalpers: "Also, you'll see that if you try to sell the ticket anywhere for anything above the original price, we have the right to cancel your ticket (and refund your money)," he writes, adding, "This is something I intend to enforce."
As you can imagine, a rabid, less drunk and sleepy fanbase already snapped up a lot of the seats overnight, but at last check, there were still some available in many of the 25 cities on his schedule. You'll also notice that his refusal to work with venues under the thumb of corporate monoliths has resulted in him playing some fairly unusual venues—many of them symphony halls, so "culture" is also included in the ticket price, along with the thrill of sticking it to monopolies.