Three still makes a trend in modern journalism trendspotting, right?
Regardless, Aziz Ansari has just become the third stand-up comedian who appears on TV and tours in theaters — his “Buried Alive” tour begins in April — to decide to release his latest stand-up special directly to fans via his own website. Louis CK earned a cool six-figures (plus) at the beginning of 2012 by selling his Beacon Theater performance directly to fans for $5, and Jim Gaffigan decided to follow suit (although his new special doesn’t “drop” until April).
Ansari, who definitely has achieved star status based on the past several times I’ve seen him perform live around New York City, announced he’d sell “Dangerously Delicious” for $5 on azizansari.com, starting today.
Here is a promo clip he released for it. Roll it!
Ansari, who co-stars on NBC’s Parks and Recreation when he’s not making movies — or launching a new stand-up tour — told the AP: “It seems like this is the thing to do at this moment when so much is changing and nobody’s really figured out how to do anything,” Ansari said, adding that he was inspired by the popularity of his comedy clips on YouTube. “In this era, the way people consume media, the way people release media has not caught up.”
But Karen North, director of the USC Annenberg Program in Online Communities, was willing to defend the existing studio system, saying that this direct-to-consumer sales trend is limited in its scope to performers who already have a built-in loyal audience large enough to make it worth the effort. “If you have a following, it’s great, because you have people to announce it to, people to anticipate it and people to search for you. When you release content, it will be found and purchased or found and appreciated,” North told the AP.
I suppose we’ll only find out how far this trend will go in 2012 once less-famous comedians try out the direct-purchase model. But that’s not going to happen this year, will it?