As America counts down the days until the premiere of Louie's third season this Thursday on FX, creator and star Louis C.K. has come up with an innovative way to get people's attention.
The comic -- regarded by just about everyone as the best in the biz right now -- has announced a huge fall tour that will bring him to the Straz Center in Tampa on Nov. 29. He'll be playing Morsani Hall, which is quite a step up from the Tampa Theatre, which he played in 2010.
But Louis being Louis, there's a catch. Tickets for the show will only be available through his website. All seats are $45, all fees included, and you can only get them here. (Okay, that's not entirely true -- there will be a limited number of tickets available at the Straz Center box office, for dedicated patrons and people for whom Internet access is a problem. Call (813) 229-7827 for details.)
For Louis, this ticket-selling experiment is a natural progression from his decision to sell his most recent special, Live at the Beacon Theater, as a $5 download through his website -- yielding more than $1 million in revenue, with no middlemen horning in on the action. Of these new tickets, Louis writes:
You'll see that if you try to sell the ticket anywhere for anything above the original price, we have the right to cancel your ticket (and refund your money). this is something I intend to enforce. There are some other rules you may find annoying but they are meant to prevent someone who has no intention of seeing the show from buying the ticket and just flipping it for twice the price from a thousand miles away. Some of these rules may be a pain in your ass, but please be patient. My goal here is that people coming to see my shows are able to pay a fair price and that they be paying just for a ticket. Not also paying an exorbitant fee for the privilege of buying a ticket.
Louis adds that "it was a real challenge to find venues around the country that could work with our exclusive ticketing service under these parameters." Indeed, this is an unusual arrangement for the Straz Center, but it's one they're actually happy with.
"We're really excited about him doing this," said venue spokesman Paul Bilyeu. "In terms of sticking it to the scalpers, it's good for us, because those scalpers can be bad; they can really wreak havoc on our customers and sponsors."
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*