Louis C.K Says He’s Trying To Do His Fans A Solid By Selling Show Tickets Himself

Louis C.K., the potty-mouthed comic with a beloved FX show and a devoted gang of fans, might love to sling insults and poke fun at his audience during stand-up routines, but that doesn’t mean he wants them to have to pay out the ear for tickets to his shows. He announced via an email blast that tickets to his upcoming tour will be sold exclusively on his own web site.

Tickets will be $45 for every seat, in every city, and available only through the Louis C.K. site.

In the blast, he writes in part (via PopCultureBrain):

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.

This isn’t the first time he’s made a move to deliver his content directly to fans — last year he was hugely successful in selling downloads of his Live at the Beacon special for $5 a pop using PayPal and his site, and pleasing his followers in the process.

He adds that he’s not sure exactly how this whole thing will go down this time, but that he hopes it will all work out to everyone’s benefit.

Setting up this tour has been fascinating and difficult. this ticketing service is a brand new thing and I really f***ing hope it works and that there aren’t any problems. If anything comes up, please be patient.

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. In some cities I’ve had to play smaller venues and do more shows. 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. Either way, I still make a whole lot more than my grandfather who taught math and raised chickens in Michigan.

Enough said.

Louis CK to Sell Tour Tickets Exclusively Through His Website, at $45 Across the Board [PopCultureBrain]


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  1. MMD says:

    I love this story and hope he succeeds at this. Anything to chip away at the Ticketmaster Empire…

  2. Sorta Kinda Lucky Soul says:

    Someone from Ticketmaster will pay guido to have a little talk with him and show him the error of his ways in 3, 2, 1…..

  3. crispyduck13 says:

    I hope more entertainers start doing this, might actually get my ass out to a show.

    In this day and age it should be wicked easy for performers to do this. Someone should set up an Etsy style site just for event tickets. The fees are low, people can search, buy (securely) with a quiet middleman, the artist gets to keep 94% of the price paid. Everyone wins (except Ticketmaster).

    • MMD says:

      Agreed…but first, venues would have to get themselves out of exclusivity deals with Ticketmaster. Louis C.K. said he was having to play many new-to-him venues, likely because the usual places wouldn’t or couldn’t go with a new kind of ticket vending operation.

      • little stripes says:

        That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Last year, he played at the Dodge Theater here in Phoenix. It was a great show, but it was also a huge venue.

        This year, he’ll be playing at the Celebrity Theater, which is still going to fit plenty of people, but which is also quite a bit more intimate — it’s got a rotating stage, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. I saw Dave Chappelle there way back when, and its as a perfect venue for stand-up.

        Also, if this does really well and both Louie and the venue make lots of money, other venues may take notice and finally start to get out of the grip of Ticketmaster.

        That’s what this is about, really.

        And someone like Louis CK (and may of his peers) is the PERFECT sort of person and entertainer to pull this off.

        Stand-up comedians have HUGE cult followings.

        • MMD says:

          Oh, I’m with you – I think it’s great that he’s going off the beaten path. I consider myself to be a part of the cult and hope to catch one of his Milwaukee shows. I hope he pulls this off, and that other venues notice!

      • golddog says:

        Yeah last night I went to his site to check dates and was not surprised to notice that he’s not playing the usual ticketmaster affiliated suspects – which is fine by me if it helps circumvent the toxic and monopolistic relationship TM maintains with their venues.

    • Laura Northrup says:

      Brownpapertickets.com sounds somewhat like what you’re describing, but I don’t know what kind of cut they take.

    • econobiker says:

      Maybe entertainers could auction seats and actually capture the real market value of the seats as assessed by scalpers. This could allow musical entertainers to give away digital music files and recover costs at the concert level.

      And start linking fan purchases to seat access and availability. Say give out loyalty codes on items purchased (cd’s, shirts, books, etc) which grant better access to better seats or venues.

  4. bnceo says:

    He’s also doing this:

    Louis C.K. ‏@louisck
    We’re tracking down scalped tickets and deactivating them. Don’t let it deactivate in your hand after you paid too much for it.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Well, then I’ll grab some popcorn and wait for the “I bought tickets to Louis C.K.’s show and they were deactivated.” threads to start. lol!

      • Jawaka says:

        or the “The Louie CK web site was hacked and compromised my credit card information” threads.

        Either way, I, like many others it seems would rather take this risk than support Ticketmaster

        • GaijenSoft says:

          Ironically, this is the perfect situation where you should use PayPal… A site that has higher security and harder to compromise credit card numbers.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      I fully support his message.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I’m really curious how he’s going to do this.

      • ARP3 says:

        I think it’s partially a threat. If he really wanted to do it, he could push everyone to Will Call, so that they only can get their tickets with the CC they used to pay. The more labor intensive means is to monitor ticket sites, craigslist, etc. and either deactivate or send out nastygrams to those that are selling.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    “Making my shows affordable has always been my goal”

    Son, what do you want to be when you grow up?

    I want to be a potty-mouthed comic with an affordable show.

    That’s my boy!!!

    • Taylor Rolyat says:

      So I take it you’re not a Louis CK fan?

      • Blueskylaw says:

        I don’t think I ever heard of him before, I just wanted. . .
        no NEEDED to post something. This site is addictive.

        • little stripes says:

          Louis CK on being white:

          And my personal favorite, Louis CK on the insult “Suck a bag of dicks”:

          • Taylor Rolyat says:

            Louis CK’s breakout bit on Late Night w/ Conan, “Everything’s amazing and nobody is happy”

      • little stripes says:

        Honestly? Louis CK would probably say exactly that. Hah. For someone who doesn’t know him, Blueskylaw nailed his sense of humor. :)

    • TBGBoodler says:

      Louis C.K. is an incredibly thoughtful and hilariously funny guy. I bought his $5 show from his site because I love his humor, but also because I want his model to work.

      Just purchased my ticket for this show, too. I hope other artists can follow suit.

  6. Coffee says:

    Larry is a really smart guy and has almost complete artistic control over his show that airs on FX…if anyone has an hour to kill, google “Bill simmons podcast louis ck” for a great interview about him, his stand up, and his television show.

    • little stripes says:

      He also does all his own editing, both for his FX show and his last show that he sold for $5 (Live at the Beacon).

      He’s one talented mofo, that’s for sure.

      I saw him last October. It was great.

      Also, this is a good indication of which venues are willing to work with artists in this manner. If you compare this tour to last year’s tour, you’ll notice he’s playing in a LOT of new/different venues.

      • Coffee says:

        I strongly agree with your last paragraph…far too many artist are “constrained” by Ticketmaster’s monopoly because they allow their managers to book them in locations that have iron-clad contracts with TM. When an artist actually takes a stand rather than bitching about the man out of one side of their mouth, then capitulating to TM out the other, it’s worth noticing.

  7. Nobby says:

    This dude’s gonna wind up receiving a good old Chicago-style talking to that requires stitches.

  8. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    I’m going to buy my tickets asap. And I hope they sell Cinnabons as I’m leaving the theater :)

  9. !caybay says:

    I bought his stand up video for $5, it was a great idea and was a simple and smooth transaction. I do my very best to avoid Ticketmaster, even if there is an act that I want to see. The fees are too absurd and I refuse to be ripped off by them. I’d go see his show if it came to my city.

  10. Vox Republica says:

    To think, a famous and I’m assuming fairly well-off comedian with a television program on a News Corporation-owned network is the single most punk rock individual in the United States today.

    • Taylor Rolyat says:

      Oh bitch bitch bitch all you want about someone else’s well-deserved success, ’cause I’m plenty happy to pay less to see my Louis CK without being gouged by Ticketmaster.

      • Vox Republica says:

        I think you’re reading something into my comment that isn’t there: namely, hostility. I think the guy is amazing, and I think it’s beyond great that he’s been so successful in a largely disgusting and corporatist entertainment industry while simultaneously stabbing it in the wallet. Robin Hood ain’t real; Louis C.K. is.

  11. SpiffWilkie says:

    My Roger Waters ticket price was about 40% higher after the “convenience” charges and all that crap. That sucked…but the show was freaking awesome.

  12. craftman says:

    I bought tickets to the Denver show 30 minutes after he sent out his email last night (assuming that’s when his tickets went on sale?) and still got Row 10. Pretty good, but damn people are quick.

    • trswyo says:

      I have been wanting to hit one of his shows in Cleveland or Denver, just wasn’t going to pay out the a$$.. I saw the email and did the same. $90 for two tickets! Row 7 in Denver.

  13. 2 Replies says:

    Louis CK is awesome.
    He’s the closest to a true Carlin protege, if there ever was one.

    • little stripes says:

      Guess who was Louis CK’s biggest influence? George Carlin.

      Here is Louis speaking at George Carlin’s funeral:

      Make sure to get a tissue :)

  14. golddog says:

    I’m behind Louis 100% in his efforts to thwart TM and resellers/scalpers (often subsidiaries of TM). Maybe he has the exposure and gravity to succeed where String Cheese failed.

  15. yankinwaoz says:

    I am so happy that he has figured out how to cut out Ticketmaster or Clearchannel out of the picture. They are nothing but leches.

    However, I think that he is being foolish with this. If people are willing to pay $100 or more to see him, then he should be reaping the benefit. He should simply auction off his tickets. Heck, use eBay.

    If a scalper wants to bid, then go for it. After all, the scalper market is just a reaction to an unbalanced market. Demand exceeds supply. Instead of scalpers making the profit, the artist should.

    If an artist wants to offer an option on tickets, then go for it. Just like a farmer sells options on their crops, an artist should be able to sell options on seats for their shows. Each artist can assume as much risk as they feel comfortable with. In his case, there is no risk. So he should profit from all of it.

    Here is why I think it is a mistake. If I were a scalper, I would buy tickets under a gender neutral name.. like Pat or Sean. Then I would sell a fake id along with the overpriced ticket. Figure $45 for the ticket, $25 for a matching fake DL. Sell the whole kit for $270. Voila, $200 profit.

    • ARP3 says:

      You assume his primary desire is to make as much money as he can. He’s rich enough and he admits that. That’s why he kept about 1/3 of the $5 video money and donated the rest to charity.

  16. BurtReynolds says:

    Awesome. Let us hope this gets some momentum against the TM monopoly.

  17. Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

    I hope he succeeds. Though there will be problems I’m guessing if he wants to perform at any semi-major venue: the fact said venues usually have a contract with TicketBastard to distribute the ducats. Hopefully Louis C-K can find reasonably-sized venues without those conditions. Ask Pearl Jam back in the late 90s how their stance against TicketBastard went–whereby they had to resort to playing in parks, as the arenas/stadia in the cities they were touring in all had those agreements with said company.

  18. incident_man says:

    Wow, an entertainer that wants his fans to be able to see his show without being gouged by a third-party that adds no value to the equation. My respect for this individual has increased immensely, even though I’ve never seen nor heard his comedic routine.

  19. JJFIII says:

    This is easier for a comedian who plays much smaller venues and has options in most cities as to where to perform. The larger acts are screwed by venue size. I would love to see some colleges with large arenas and stadiums end any deals with Ticketmaster and take ticketing internal.. They can make far more money for the venue and the artist, cut out the douchebags (ticketmaster) and lower ticket prices.

  20. HenryES says:

    I tried to get tickets to one of his DC shows yesterday, and couldn’t get to the page to purchase. Today, the site says those shows are “Temporarily off sale”, so maybe the backlash has begun.

  21. GrandizerGo says:

    I am waiting the the ticketmaster ninjas to take him out.
    Or the StubHub Avengers to declare him a Super Skrull and destroy him.

    Louis CK is one of the funniest of the comediennes in my generation.

  22. MarkFL says:

    If more performers would do something like this, then the “smaller” venues (which should really read “independent venues”) will do better — and maybe they can expand, maybe not to stadium size, but at least the clubs can expand. This, in turn, would allow them to attract more big-name performers, and you get a snowball effect.

    One just has to hope that this doesn’t result in a Levi’s-type situation. In the 1970s, Levi Strauss grew by placing their products into smaller boutique-type stores. Then a few years ago they decided to stop doing business with these smaller businesses, preferring to distribute only to large chains.

  23. Libertas1 says:

    Love the CK. I would probably not go out to a club to see him, but I was glad to put down the five bucks to buy the Beacon special. The red-headed metzican leads the way.