Tommy Keeps it fresh
Aziz Ansari follows Louis CK's lead, offers Dangerously Delicious deal: Just $5for his new special
Continuing the trend Louis CK started in December of last year, Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari has released his new hour long special, Dangerously Delicious, directly through his website without any DRM-restrictions, for just five dollars.
The special, which is composed of completely new material (i.e., different from what he's currently touring with) can be downloaded five times and streamed three, allowing the viewer freedom to enjoy it any way they choose — a key aspect to to the direct distribution model.
Ansari, with the help of his 1.7 million twitter followers and Parks and Recreation fans worldwide, should have no problem recouping the special's production cost and web hosting fees, which he paid for himself. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for every comic. While no one has attempted and failed, it seems almost necessary that a loyal following, especially in stand-up comedy, already exist. Otherwise, the large costs of taping and distributing a comedy special might not be covered.
Still, thanks to the enormous success of CK's Live at Beacon Theater special, Ansari isn't the only comedian embracing the daring distribution model. Jim Gaffigan, best friend of Conchords manager Murray Hewitt, one half of crime fighting duo Pale Force, and hot pocket aficiando, has announced he will be releasing his new special, Jim Gaffigan: Mr Universe, using the same model this coming April.
In a move likely to entice even more buyers, Gaffigan will donate one dollar from each of the five dollar sales directly to the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which helps injured war veterans. In a comment online, the comic expressed hopes that the low price and donation would be enough to deter piracy, joking, “Who would want the karma of stealing from wounded veterans?”
It really is a brilliant strategy, though. After Louis CK's special hit one million dollars, the comedian announced that he donated a quarter of his profit to several charities and another quarter as bonuses to his staff. All of CK's giving cultivated a feeling of self righteousness within his fans. Knowing that they helped reward the comedian's staff and a few worthwhile charities dramatically increased the value of each five dollars.
The low price, charitable contribution, and ease of use all factor in to the success of direct distribution, but that alone won't make the model successful. It takes big names like Louis CK, Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari — along with others throughout different mediums — to promote the idea and to encourage others to take the leap before it will become an industry standard. And of course, people have to actually buy the product.
I haven't watched Ansari's special yet, and although I enjoyed his previous work, I'm not too concerned with whether or not this one will make me laugh. I'm sure it will, but either way, it's only five bucks.
And what kind of asshole is going to complain about dropping a five spot on an hour long special that cost a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars to create and release? Actually, a lot of asshole will do just that. Sorry, Aziz.
Dangerously Delicious can be purchased here, and you can watch a free preview clip here.