It’s not terribly hilarious to collaborate and streamline technique. Also not terribly like cutting-edge comedians.
But it’s happening.
Jim Gaffigan released Mr. Universe last Wednesday exclusively on his website (JimGaffigan.com). For $5 you get a few streams, five downloads and actual encouragement to share the material with friends, family or whoever you're subletting those extra rooms to. (You can pay via PayPal or Amazon.)
This no-frills method for releasing material was recently made buzzworthy by Louis C.K. and is also currently employed by Aziz Ansari (his excellent special Dangerously Delicious is available at AzizAnsari.com … Where do they come up with these website names? Ha ha – comedians and their drugs).
Musicians like Radiohead and NIN started this internet-only trend, putting albums like In Rainbows on the net under a “pay whatever” method. Radiohead made themselves an average of $7 per album and got to keep most of it. The fans won as well, getting an awesome album while supporting the band in whatever way they could.
This solidarity against the labels and hordes of middle-men who have charged us $20 for a 2 cent disc and some plastic is good to see. But it won’t work for everybody. It is merely a way for comedians and bands who already have followings to keep their product from getting watered-down and offer it to fans cheaply.
I think this is the correct way to use the internet.
Somebody take a note!
[ * Postscript: I could critique these specials, but that’s actually the beauty of this method – you already know the guys and most likely already know that they’re good at what they do. You’re going to enjoy all three of them. Gaffigan is at the top of his game and is 75 minutes of good, clean fun. He talks about food a lot again (McDonald’s is the new Hot Pockets). Aziz Ansari has great comedic energy. His standup takes you on a fun romp through his life. Louie C.K. – provocative, real, wild – should be played after the kids go to bed, but was probably my favorite.
And all this for $15 dollars! You know you bought a few one hit wonder records for more than that. ]