Kroll’s Walk in the Park

Great piece {buzzfeed} about one of my favorite comedians, NICK KROLL.

Kroll says his goal for the show “was to make stuff that’s funny to us, that would help me work down the line with people I respect: Seth Rogen, or Craig Robinson, or Bill Burr — I want Bill Burr to think I’m funny.” According to editor and director Daniel Gray, they aimed for a mix of “the lowest of the lowbrow — just complete garbage,” and “the complete highbrow.” Watching the show is like channel-surfing, but also a commentary on that experience. It’s dizzying and hilarious and incites a sort of semi-nauseous glee.

The Pawnsylvania sketches are my favorite—and not just because they speak to my Philly/Philadelphia roots.

On Louis C.K. & Direct-to-web Distribution

I have yet to purchase Louis C.K.’s new direct-to-web performance, Live at the Beacon Theater {official site}, but that won’t stop me from pontificating. (I’m not completely without my C.K. bona fides however; I listened to and enjoyed his “appearances” on WTF and Fresh Air.)

Anyway, as you probably know by now, the comedian decided to release his show direct to fans, bypassing the traditional studio model where they pay for the shooting of the video, have control over the distribution, and eventually send the performer a cut. C.K. simply paid for everything (a $250,000 investment according to the Times), and made it available on his website direct-to-fans for $five.

It’s reminiscent of Radiohead’s web release of In Rainbows {wikipedia} via a pay-what-you-can scheme.

C.K.’s experiment has already been dubbed a success, earning him $750,000 pure profit (again, according to the Times). The temptation here is to make too big a fuss about this, pointing to this new model as the future of the web and entertainment. No one would be giving Louis C.K. five¢ if it weren’t for his appearances on shows produced by established media empires, a point David Carr {NY Times} should be given credit for acknowledging:

In fact, I wouldn’t know anything about Louis C. K. if it weren’t for cable. I DVR’d his freakishly hilarious series “Louie” on FX, which is owned by News Corporation, and I saw his last two comedy specials on cable. The people who helped build the brand of Louis C.K. might wonder about his decision to go native (digitally), but hey, it’s the Internet: it’s every man, woman, producer, consumer, company and cable outfit for itself!

In other words, it’s great work if you can get it. But we’re a far cry from the day when artist an can support themselves on the web by selling their shows directly to fans. But if there has to be a middleman, I suppose one like Etsy or Threadless is a step up from NBC or Viacom.