Super-funnyman Louis C.K.’s experiment with selling his jokes directly to fans exclusively through his website is working out great. The comedian announced Wednesday evening that he sold $4.5 million worth of tickets for his upcoming comedy tour in just 45 hours after he announced the deal on Monday night. Every ticket sold costs a flat fee of $45 apiece.
“well. after 45 hours, my tour has sold 100K tickets, box office gross of 4.5 mil $ (not all mine),” C.K. tweeted on Wednesday. “I guess it was a good idea.”
In an email sent out to fans on his mailing list and a blog post published on Monday, C.K. announced that he chose to eschew major ticket retailers like Ticketmaster and StubHub due to the 40 percent markup often added to the price of tickets sold through the service. He did this in an attempt “to bring the price of tickets down and make them easier and less complicated to buy,” wrote C.K. in the announcement.
“Tickets across the board, everywhere, are 45 dollars. That’s what you’ll actually pay. In every case, that will be 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,” wrote C.K.
He continued: “The benifit for me is that I won’t get angry emails from anyone who paid a ton of money to see me due to circumstances out of my control. That makes me VERY happy. The 45 dollars also includes sales tax, which I’m paying for you. So I’m making more or less depending on the state.”
In reality, C.K. did not ditch ticket retailers entirely. He is actually using ticketing service ETix, though the tickets for C.K.’s tour are not available through the ETix website, nor is the company doing anything to promote the tour. But it seems likely that a chunk of that $4.5 million will go to the company.
C.K., whose critically acclaimed show “Louie” debuts its third season tonight on FX, first jump-started the direct Web distribution trend in comedy last December with the release of his show, “Live at the Beacon Theater,” which he sold for $5 via his website. Fellow comedians Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari (among others) followed in his footsteps with their own offerings.
Tickets for C.K.’s U.S. tour, which starts on October 3 in Cleveland, Ohio, and runs through February 1, are still available in many cities. That means the $4.5 million earned is only the beginning.