So rarely do you find out as much about a comedian’s process as we are this week with the release of Louis CK’s new stand-up special.

Certainly, Louis CK is doing a lot of press to help promote it to the widest possible audience. But he’s also opening up and revealing some fascinating behind-the-scenes details.

First he took to Reddit to answer questions from the message-boarders. Among the many questions was this little gem that he replied to.

bluthru 1935 points  ago*

From watching your show and seeing some interviews, I’ve noticed that you’re self-taught and hands-on in many facets of production (cameras, self-editing, etc.)

In general, it seems you like to learn. What are you currently learning, or what else would you like to master in the future?

[–]iamlouisckLouis CK[S] 2086 points  ago

Jesus, what a good question. Oh my god. Someone needs to give you a dollar for that.
Okay. I do love to learn. It’s all I feel like I’m ever doing. It’s really the best you can do in life, is learn. You can’t really do anything right. You can just learn. Right now, I am learning to be a dad. I am learning how to take better care of myself and my kids. I”m learning how to communicate with people in my life.
Professionally, I’m learning right this minute, a HUGE amount with this web experiment. this live at the beacon thing (available at httlp://www.louisck.com for 5 bucks) is like that thing in the movie “Twisiter” where they send a bunch of little data collecting balls up into a tornado and just download the lovely results. The whole things has been like that. From the moment it went online and i saw the result of every decision i made. the last question the web guys asked me before we posted was if I wanted the mail list button defaulted to “opt in” or “opt out” and i said start it at opt out. It’s such a tiny thing but I keep hearing about it from people. So so interesting to watch this grow.

Then on Monday night, he allowed ABC’s Nightline to follow him to the Comedy Cellar as he began the process of building his new hour. Roll the clip.

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In a bonus clip, Louis talks to Bill Weir about this year’s Tracy Morgan incident and defends his right to free speech.

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Then on Tuesday, Louis returned to NPR’s Fresh Air, and over the course of 45 minutes, Teri Gross delights comedy fans by asking him about the comedians he worked with in season two of his FX series, Louie. Namely: Dane Cook, Joan Rivers and Doug Stanhope.

Then he sent an email to fans who had purchased his special and told them how it was going. In detail.

“People of Earth (minus the ones who don’t give a shit about this): it’s been amazing to conduct this experiment with you. The experiment was: if I put out a brand new standup special at a drastically low price ($5) and make it as easy as possible to buy, download and enjoy, free of any restrictions, will everyone just go and steal it? Will they pay for it? And how much money can be made by an individual in this manner?

It’s been 4 days. A lot of people are asking me how it’s going. I’ve been hesitant to share the actual figures, because there’s power in exclusive ownership of information. What I didn’t expect when I started this was that people would not only take part in this experiment, they would be invested in it and it would be important to them. It’s been amazing to see people in large numbers advocating this idea. So I think it’s only fair that you get to know the results. Also, it’s just really cool and fun and I’m dying to tell everybody. I told my Mom, I told three friends, and that wasn’t nearly enough. So here it is.

First of all, this was a premium video production, shot with six cameras over two performances at the Beacon Theater, which is a high-priced elite Manhattan venue. I directed this video myself and the production of the video cost around $170,000. (This was largely paid for by the tickets bought by the audiences at both shows). The material in the video was developed over months on the road and has never been seen on my show (LOUIE) or on any other special. The risks were thus: every new generation of material I create is my income, it’s like a farmer’s annual crop. The time and effort on my part was far more than if I’d done it with a big company. If I’d done it with a big company, I would have a guarantee of a sizable fee, as opposed to this way, where I’m actually investing my own money.

The development of the website, which needed to be a very robust, reliable and carefully constructed website, was around $32,000. We worked for a number of weeks poring over the site to make sure every detail would give buyers a simple, optimal and humane experience for buying the video. I edited the video around the clock for the weeks between the show and the launch.

The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we’ve sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.

I really hope people keep buying it a lot, so I can have shitloads of money, but at this point I think we can safely say that the experiment really worked. If anybody stole it, it wasn’t many of you. Pretty much everybody bought it. And so now we all get to know that about people and stuff. I’m really glad I put this out here this way and I’ll certainly do it again. If the trend continues with sales on this video, my goal is that i can reach the point where when I sell anything, be it videos, CDs or tickets to my tours, I’ll do it here and I’ll continue to follow the model of keeping my price as far down as possible, not overmarketing to you, keeping as few people between you and me as possible in the transaction. (Of course i reserve the right to go back on all of this and sign a massive deal with a company that pays me fat coin and charges you straight up the ass.). (This is you: yes Louie. And we’ll all enjoy torrenting that content. You fat sweaty dolt).

I probably sound kind of crazy right now. It’s been a really fun and intense few days. This video was paid for by people who bought tickets, and then bought by people who wanted to see that same show. I got to do exactly the show I wanted, and exactly the show you wanted.

I also got an education. And everything i learned are things i was happy to learn. I learned that people are interested in what happens and shit (i didn’t go to college)

I learned that money can be a lot of things. It can be something that is hoarded, fought over, protected, stolen and withheld. Or it can be like an energy, fueled by the desire, will, creative interest, need to laugh, of large groups of people. And it can be shuffled and pushed around and pooled together to fuel a common interest, jokes about garbage, penises and parenthood.

I want to thank Blair Breard who produced this video and produces my series LOUIE, and I want to thank Caspar and Giles at Version Industries, who created the website.

I hope with all of my heart that I stay funny. Otherwise this all goes to hell. Please have a safe and happy holiday, and thank you again for all this crazy shit.

Sincerely, Louis C.K.”

On Wednesday night, he told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that he had sold 150,000 copies so far. Even when he’s not onstage, his honesty is awesome. His TV deal has become the envy of comedians looking to pitch their own sitcoms. And now this self-financed, self-produced DVD that he owns outright. It’s like he jumped straight past the podcasting trend and found the next level. Will others be able to duplicate his model? If so, what will the traditional producers — record labels, TV networks and management companies — make of this? How will they respond? These are interesting times in the comedy boom dot com.