In December, 2011, comic Louis C.K. made headlines by self-releasing his latest standup special, Live at the Beacon Theater. The special was available as a download from C.K.’s site for only $5, and the experiment was hugely successful. In less than two weeks, C.K. had earned more than $1 million from the sale of this special, and ultimately gave a large percentage of those profits to charity.
C.K. is arguably the greatest comic working today, so many people questioned what this experiment would do to the industry. Would other comics take a similar approach? Even if other comics were unable to match those sales figures, certainly this approach would allow other comics to retain full creative control and ownership of their work. Well, since C.K., at least two other comics have decided to take this approach to selling their specials -- namely, Jim Gaffigan (whose upcoming special Mr. Universe will be available as a $5 download in April), and Aziz Ansari.
This past Monday, Aziz Ansari released his latest special, Dangerously Delicious, as a $5 download directly from his site. For that $5, you can download the special in full HD, or in standard SD. You can download the special up to five times, and the special contains no DRM, so you are free to burn the special to DVD and play it through a standard DVD player.
As a bonus, Ansari throws in a folder filled with tour images, and even a menu (Ansari is known to be a bit of a foodie). For the more creative types, rather than providing a DVD cover image, Ansari opted to provide a DVD cover template, and is asking his fans to submit DVD covers through his Twitter account.
So, aside from the logistics of how to get the special, no standup review is complete without answering one simple question -- is it funny? Absolutely. Ansari has a very unique performance and speaking style. His delivery is very “down to earth” and “approachable.” So much so, in fact, that at times you almost forget that Ansari is not just one of your friends telling you personal, albeit funny, stories. Ansari touches upon dating, friends, his celebrity status, and, for those familiar with Ansari’s prior work, his nephew Harris even makes a hilarious appearance in a bit about Harris’s college admission essay. A particularly funny bit centers around Ansari being at the same restaurant as rapper 50 Cent, and overhearing 50 Cent ask the waiter why his grapefruit juice wasn’t purple, and realizing that 50 Cent did not know the difference between a grapefruit and the grape fruit.
Ansari’s new special is hilarious, and I personally really like this new distribution method. I think it has the power to lead to the release of more frequent comedy specials. Lesser known comics would also be able to release specials, as they would not need to find studio backing and could self-release. So, if you are a fan of Ansari, or of standup in general, consider showing your support and encouraging this type of release by heading over to Ansari’s site and picking this one up.
Other Aziz Ansari Reviews
Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening - also on CD: Decent enough comedy DVD if you are the target market.