Louis C.K. is having his comedic moment in the sun. Every now and again, a comedian comes along that perfectly captures the zeitgeist and imagination of an adoring public. Think: Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, to name a few. And now, Louis C.K.
Writer/designer Frank Chimero thinks much of the C.K. lovefest is due to the fact that he encapsulates the odd shame white people have about their lives. “CK’s comedy does the job of finger-placing our dirty, shameful thoughts. It doesn’t validate them, but it does recognize and identify them, and in their airing, we have to consider and deal with the lines that separate how we are expected to behave and think, and the shameful dirt of this world,” Chimero writes.
It’s true! If you watch C.K.’s latest special, which he’s selling online and making a tidy profit from, much of jokes stem from the shame of navigating the world. It’s something that few have pinpointed about why his comedy resonates.
All of that’s to say, on Wednesday night’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, C.K. announced that he’ll be donating 25% of the profits — roughly $280,000 at present — to various charities. Of course, this is Louis C.K. we’re talking about, so much of the announcement was done in a self-deprecating manner.
C. K. explained that he would use $250,000 to cover the costs of the special, spend another $250,000 in bonuses to people who work for him and give $280,000 to five charity organizations: Fistula Foundation, which works with women injured in childbirth; Green Chimneys, which gives outdoor and animal therapies to children; charity: water, which provides clean drinking water; the Pablove Foundation, which sponsors pediatric cancer research; and Kiva, which provides small loans to people around the world. The remaining $220,000, C.K. said, would go to his cock.
Given all the attention that C.K.’s comedy/business experiment has generated, we partially agree with Dan Frommer, who feels like this should be more of a success than it actually is.
Frommer notes that roughly one out of ten of C.K.’s loyal fan base have likely bought the special, based on the audience size of the second season premiere of Louis. It’s a rough estimate to be sure, but ultimately, this is for a comedy special!
If people aren’t buying music and they are starting to not buy movies, then you can better be sure that people aren’t buying one-hour stand-up specials under the best of circumstances. Judged from that point of view, what Louis C.K. has managed to do — racking up $1 million in sales? — is astonishing.
He made his money back and a decent chunk of change, he donated a serious amount to charity and took care of the people who’ve been loyal to him over the years.
What could be better than that?