Louis CK on Independently Releasing "Fourth of July" and Algorithms


1 year ago



Louis CK

2 appearances

Louis C.K. is a stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and filmmaker. Catch "Louis C.K.: Back to the Garden," an exclusive livestream event, on January 28 at www.louisck.com.

Joe List

4 appearances

Joe List is a stand-up comic and co-host, along with Mark Normand, of the "Tuesdays with Stories!" podcast. His latest special, "Enough for Everybody," is now available on YouTube.www.comedianjoelist.com


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That's a true story, by the way, that I tell. I have an ex-girlfriend that when we first started dating, we'd been together for like a few weeks, and it was like popping off, we love each other, oh my God, and she left her email open, and I searched my name, thinking I would find all these great things she's saying about me behind my back. So stupid. It was really bad. And there was like a chat, like a G-chat, Gmail chat, between her and her best friend, and she literally was like, I just met this guy, I think I'm in love with him, he's the funniest guy I've ever met, I'm not attracted to him, but I'm going to give it a shot. And I just read it, and then like, you know, she comes home a few hours later, and it's like, hey, you know, like, hey. And it's brutal. It still lingers, by the way. Was that the end of it? Because, no, because I couldn't, first of all, I was like in love with her, and it wasn't a confidence boost. I was like, I can't go be single now knowing I'm ugly. But it's like, the person who loved me the most in the world behind my back described me as unattractive. Oh, horrible. Yeah, it's horrible. It's why I'm behind this mic as much as I can be right now. It's horrible. We had, that's why we had an easy time writing the movie too, because he has these stories. So he would just tell me stuff like that. And I know from experience what's going to work in a script, I've written them before, I've corrected them before, so he would just tell me that, and I'm like, it's going in. That's got to be in here. We had to change the names, of course. Change the names. Of course. And so you're releasing it only on your website? Yeah. You're not going to put it out anywhere else afterwards? I mean, we'll see, you know, but right now, the best mouth to drink in the interest is the website. It just goes right, comes right to us. We did a big theatrical run also. Yeah, we was in the theaters for a month, and it was killing. Really? Yeah, it was like AMC theaters and Regal and a few theaters. What they do, if they don't give you a full run, they just go, you can have every city for one night. Like, it's seven o'clock on a Wednesday. We were in 70 screens across the country. Wow. And they all sold out and doubled. In a lot of cities, we were like in three theaters, like Thor or something. Holy shit. Yeah, and at the Lemley in LA, it got held over like three, four weeks, I think. Yeah. It just kept getting held over. Wow, that was cool. In New York, we had a premiere at the Beacon Theater, and we packed it, and everybody watched the movie in the Beacon Theater, and it was huge. It was fun. It was amazing. I don't want to derail the conversation. My ash just fell off on the rug, and I feel terrible. Okay, great. That was helpful. There is an ashtray. Well, it fell. I didn't ash on the rug. He could ash on the table. It doesn't matter. Well, it fell. It was a mistake. Doesn't matter. People loved watching the movie together, I think, and crowds and laughing. It was really fun to be in a cinema where people are laughing, so you can't hear the dialogue. That's like the best feeling in the world. Oh, man. Yeah, it was great. It was pretty magical. And there was laughs where we didn't expect laughs. For me, it's about my life. Basically, my mother is much nicer. I don't know where the camera is. My mother is wonderful. She's not a sociopath. But everything about you is dramatic. And then there's moments that happened in the movie. It would be like this huge house room laugh, and I was like, I didn't even think that was funny. I don't want to give too much away, but I tried to talk to my parents, and my dad just responds by being like, Jesus, and takes a sip of beer. I thought it was like a sad moment, and the place explodes with laughter. And different in each city. Like, we did big screenings, premieres with us there and cast members, in a beacon, and then in Boston at the Shoevert, and then at the Vic in Chicago. So in New York, he tells his family off, the moment where he just really lets them have it and says, fuck you to his mom. Don't give away too much. Too bad. Well, listen, it doesn't matter. The New York crowd went berserk. They cheered like, yeah, because we're all in New York. We all came from some fucking town, and it was a fantasy for them. Everybody's like, that's right, that's right. Then we take the movie to Boston, where everybody's from, and that moment, the crowd was like, oh no. When he said fuck you, Mom, he was like, oh no, you don't say that. And so totally split. But then later, when his uncle has, they have this fight where it brings, in both cases, brought the audience back together, because he kind of levels the thing out. So to me, that's a successful movie, one that gets completely different reactions from different people, but they all like it in there. Is this the first time you've ever released something just directly? I know you did your animated show. You released that directly on your website, too. Yeah. Oh yeah, which one? Horace and Pete? Oh yeah, Horace and Pete. That was the stage show. Yeah, this is the first thing I've made besides stand-up specials. I have two new ones that are out now. But that's the first movie I've ever put out on my site directly. And you've just been doing mostly your stand-up specials that way, right? Stand-up specials. Also, my series, Louis, on FX, that's on my website, too, exclusively. I licensed it from FX and from Disney, who actually owns it. And so you can buy it on my website. I got them to give it to me exclusive, so I wouldn't have to compete. So you can buy the whole series, all five seasons, for $30 for the whole five seasons. Do you think you'll ever get to a point where your website is like a subscription thing, like a fucking Hulu-type deal, where you could just subscribe to your website and get all the things? I think it's tough because it's not that much content. I mean, there's packages. I have seven stand-up hour specials on there now. And you can buy them all for $25, so that unlocks all of them. You can stream them. You can download them and own them and whatever. That's just the way it's always been between me and my fans on the website. I put stuff out once in a while, set a price that's just enough for me to get some profit and get the money back, you know? So it lets me operate independently, and it's outside of the kind of algorithmic. The thing is that those platforms depend on algorithmic plug-in, and it's a very different model. They also have billions of dollars to create contact in the licensed content. I don't know where it's going. It's starting to be a lot of stuff. There's a lot of stuff on the website. Yeah, that's what I'm getting to. I thought about that, too, because a lot of people are starting to do that now. Like, Schultz released his new special completely on his website. And a lot of people are doing those kind of things now because you do encounter these problems with streaming services and censorship and just weird... Yeah. Just having their input on content. It's not fun. No, of course not. Because when you're on a streaming service or on any platform, they have their own problems. Yeah. And because they're all owned by larger and larger corporations, they can't do anything that wiggles too much. So they have just too many concerns. And that's the way I look at it. It's not like oppression. It's just like they're too mixed in with other shit to be my boss because I want to be able to fuck around and have fun. Yeah. So, you know... And so for me, I mean, I've been doing this since, like, 2010 when I put my first special on my website. And I like it. I like the feeling of it. Everybody that's bought a ticket to one of my shows or has bought one of my shows is on my email list. So they get told. It's different now because social media and the algorithm is kind of a giant suck. It's like... It does suck. It does... Well, it's like everything is directed to you. You're told what's coming next by the algorithm. It's tailored to each person. And it's hard. People have less of an impulse to look around and to find their own shit. You know, nobody picks up a flyer anymore. What is this strange thing? You know, going to midnight movies. The kind of way that people use to find things outside of the corporate sort of old algorithm of advertising. Now they can just kind of... It just keeps coming to your phone. So you know what's coming. So I think, though, that people are starting to want to make more of an effort to find their own shit, to find something that's not, you know, that's not in that thing. So that's why I like to keep my website the same and the same model and the same way I've always done it because we keep getting more people, you know. And that's the feeling we got when the movie was in the theater. It's not like the other shit that's out right now. It's not a Marvel movie and it's not about a black girl with one leg who persevered. And it's not, you know... It's about a white guy with two legs that persevered. Yeah, exactly. Who didn't persevere that well, but who did his best. Well, see the film, for God's sake. Yeah, that's right.