Hey everybody, how are you all doing? So I definitely wanted to have a few more posts up on here by now. Unfortunately my computer access has been limited to term paper writing. (Which by the way, I wrote mine on the democratization of art - a really douchey way of saying soon art will rule the world, but hopefully more on that some other time).
Unfortunately I will continue to have very limited access to computers for the forseeable future because my laptop is broken, I’m going to be a camp counselor on site overnight for at least 5 weeks this summer, and I’m also going on vacation and working on a bunch of stuff this summer. So anyways, I’m doing great (clearly. No time for tumblr is usually a good thing. Unless that time is filled with getting peed on by fat men).
On to the main topic. I want to discuss why I think that, despite is obvious divine perfection, Louis CK (and others like him) are on the way out, and why more theatrical and experimental comics are on the way up. I want to talk about how Louis shaped the comedy world (so original!) and how the change is now taking a life of it’s own beyond his career. So I hope you enjoy, and no I’m not hating on Louis CK, I think he’s hilarious and strangely hot. This is a bit of a prelude to the post on Artistic democratization I’m going to do later.
Alright, so Louis CK is KIND OF a cool guy, right? Right. I’m glad we can all agree. He’s revolutionized comedy forever, and he even wore a blue polo in his last HBO special. Woah. So for the uninitiated, what’s making me freak out about Louis CK so much?
- He has numerous HBO, Showtime and other comedy specials that are considered comedy gold
- In 2011 he made his newest special “LIVE: From the Beacon Theater” available for download from his website for $5.00. Completely Indie, a la “In Rainbows” by Radiohead. He made $1,000,000 in 12 days and proceeded to donate a quarter of it to charity.
- In his 2012 and 2013 tour he gave a huge middle finger to TicketMaster by selling his tickets for a uniform price at tens of venues across the US and Europe, for direct purchase off of his website.
- He pumps out a new hour of comedy every single year.
- He’s also the writer, editor, director, producer and star actor in his FX Sitcom (and critically acclaimed hit) “LOUIE” which has run for 3 seasons so far.
So that’s fuckin’ why people like this guy. He does a lot of cool stuff and never stops. Ever. Now two things specifically off of that list have changed the comedy world forever:
The hour per year, and the $5.00 download. Once he started that trend, the business landscape of comedy changed. Once a comic of Louis’ level starts releasing his content for $5.00, other pro-comics who are capable of it really have no excuse. And many comics were motivated by Louis to start releasing a comedy special every year, of course the business side of that is because they’re selling their work for less so they need to make up for it with quantity.
http://www.comedyspecials.org/ (Here’s a list of some of the more prominent comedians $5.00 specials)
So what this means is that nationwide, comics are releasing more for less, and with Louis being the first really big hit in a while, consumers are really paying attention and eating it up. What I think this means is that the market for comedy is becoming over-saturated. Now, onto my favorite part of this article, Louis CK’s demise.
So Louis has said himself on one of his specials (I believe it was Beacon Theater) that he has maybe “5 years left” of his fame. Now, I’m not so sure about that, he’ll always be selling out theaters as long as he makes new content people want to come see, BUT he will soon retire the captain’s hat. The great thing about previous generations of comedy is that there were always tons of greats at one time to match different styles and tastes. Seinfeld, Pryor, Carlin, Hicks, Kinnison, Murphy, Dice Clay, Hedburg, etc. There were always different styles of comedy that were popular at one time. It’s kind of like Biggie v. Tupac, minus the shooting and the Eminem talking about it like he was there 10 years later. I guess I’m Eminem in this situation. Fuck.
Louis is the captain of the comedy ship right now. He’s the highest functioning and the funniest comedian out there, and that’s totally awesome. However, Bo Burnham and Pete Holmes on episode 49 of the “You Made it Weird” podcast (Find it on iTunes or http://www.nerdist.com/ it’s great!) discussed that it seems like Louis’ been in charge for so long that people are expecting comics to be like Louis. And even worse, comedians are expecting themselves to be like Louis. Louis is the Beatles of comedy. He’s high functioning, everybody loves him, and I’m sure girls thought he was attractive when he was 20 too. When other bands tried to imitate the Beatles they didn’t make it, but when they found their own different style (Rolling Stones, Queen, etc.) they became just as great in a different way.
With the bar for entering comedy being lowered because of the internet and because of the rapidly growing popularity of comedy (due, again, to Louis and the comics like him), more and more of the same will become a bad thing. Soon, at least I think so, people are going to get sick and tired of the 1 hour per year special from super relate-able and goofy men who all sound like eachother. People are gonna get tired of that, but by the time it happens, the bar for entering touring will be incredibly low. Bo Burnham and Aziz Ansari are national touring headliners in theaters and colleges, both have at least 2 specials out and they’re not even 30 yet. That will soon happen for a lot of other comics, but only if they find their own style.
(Now before we continue, I want to point out I have 0 numbers to back me up, I’m talking out of my asshole, possibly out of one of my sphincters. I’m too lazy to even find numbers if there are any, just take my opinion for what it’s worth. Just know I’m completely right. Obviously.)
When people do get tired of the Louis of the comic world, the bar for entering comedy is still going to be low, and there’s gonna be a huge empty space at the top to fill. Everybody is going to know the safe relate-able humor style that’s worked for all of the 2000s (and probably all of the 2010s if we’re being realistic here) will no longer work. People are going to begin experimenting with characters, props, improvisation, and more conceptual stuff. Think Demetri Martin, think Bo Burnham, think Reggie Watts.
More and more people are gaining access to the national stage, be it from the internet or other means, and soon things are gonna start getting really fucking weird. Comedy is NOT Louis CK. Louis CK IS the highest functioning comic, but that will soon change, and I think by the end of the 2020s the comedy landscape is going to be totally different. Infact the whole land land-scape might be different too if some crazy shit goes down with the Russians/Chinese/Americans/Martians/Greek Titans/Pokemon become real.
Shit’s gonna change and become very experimental soon, so that comedy can evolve and find new forms. I’m looking forward to it, and personally plan on participating in this new experimental and conceptual comedy scene that’s going to be popping up. So when I’m broke and nobody buys my tickets in 20 years I can look back at this blog and at least say that I tried, and my plans sounded great on
paper tumblr. (Ew)
Thanks for reading. In the comments/Q&A Box/Sub Box/your mother’s box (Shiiiiiiit) let me know what you think of my cockamamie ideas. Comedians, what kind of style do you like to perform with? Audiences would you like to see some more variety? OR! EVERYBODY TALK ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY LOVE LOUIS (no hate). I’ll see y’all soon-ish, hopefully. Bu-bye now.
NOTE TO SELF: Add in pictures. This blog is as boring looking as a ditto vs ditto battle. (Lame joke. Inexcusably. not taking it back).