“There’s no rest for the online entrepreneurs of comedy these days. Standups like Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari are among the first to break out of the traditional distribution methods for comedy specials.
Louis C.K. knocked it out of the park with his DRM-free $5 special, earning $1 million in less than two weeks. Although Ansari is not yet releasing sales numbers for his own $5 download — a one-hour comedy special titled Dangerously Delicious which hit the web on Wednesday — the Parks and Recreation star says he’s very happy with the response so far.
“People are really excited that I’m releasing the special this way as opposed to going to DVD,” says Ansari.
On Twitter, Ansari says he’s seen nearly no negative feedback in terms of copying Louis C.K. Rather, many of them have expressed the wish for more comedians to follow this direct business model. What differentiates Ansari from C.K.’s route is that he did no press before the release.
“I just decided whenever we announce it, it’s going to be available right away,” explains Ansari, who will soon be promoting the special on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Conan”.
“Although many standup comedians utilize Twitter as a testing ground, Ansari says he doesn’t take it too seriously. However, it is proving to be a valuable tool for Dangerously Delicious. More fans are contacting Ansari directly on Twitter, and even though he’s responded to the same questions dozens of times by now, he says it’s not hard for him to help his fans this way when he can.
“Since people are buying it directly through me, I feel more personally invested in it. It’s a different kind of product than if it’d air on TV,” says Ansari. “They’re buying it from me — I can help out if someone asks a question.”
Although social media has made nontraditional marketing easier for comedians, and people clearly agree with the non-DRM business model, Ansari says he’s still not sure if this is the future of standup comedy special production.
“Who knows what the landscape will be in two years?” says Ansari. “I mean, two years ago if people asked, ‘Oh, what are you going to do with your next special?’ I doubt I would have said I’m going to put it on a website and sell it for five dollars.”
For the fullstory and a clip of Aziz’s new special – head to Mashable.com