In the past nine months, direct-to-fan album sales have seemed to be all the rage with stand-up comedians who decided to take control of their comedy careers. While independent and unknown bands and comedians have never had any other choice but to independently distribute their wares, it took the innovative ideas of Louis C.K., who sold his last special, Live at the Beacon Theatre exclusively on his website for $5, for the notion to be viewed as a positive one. Over a million dollars later, (and now with an Emmy for that special) C.K. has set the standard. And comedians like Aziz Ansari, Jim Gaffigan and Bill Burr (who just announced last night that his newest special You People Are All The Same will be available for $5 on his site) have followed in his footsteps. White is the latest to give the model a shot, but he’s adding value to the current model.
White released his latest comedy special, A Little Unprofessional, yesterday through his site. The album hits stores in November, but without all the bells and whistles (read on). The show, filmed at the Paramount Theater in Austin, features the Blue Collar comedian as his fans know him best— telling stories about being married, drunken mishaps, smoking pot and touring. And he did it for a half-hour longer than any of his previous specials. And true to direct-to-fan form, the special is available for only $5. “I don’t set the price at Wal-Mart,” White told the Huffington Post. “But I do set it here.”
And here’s White’s twist. He’s borrowed elements from crowd-sourcing sites like Kickstarter to offer four different packages available for purchase. Anyone who purchases the $5 “Laugh Now Package” will not only get a high definition download of the special, but will also get a chance to win VIP tickets to a show and a ride on White’s jet. Because, after all, as he says in his show, “I have a plane that you guys bought me,” so “you guys” should get the chance to ride on it, right? “Half the Fortune 500 companies in America let go of their private jets. Not Ron White. I’m flying that son of a bitch straight into bankruptcy.”
The $10 package tacks on one-year membership into the Rontourage Fan Club plus White’s Salute to the Troops comedy special featuring country band Rascal Flatts and Lewis Black, and two tracks from White’s Billboard-charting singer/songwriter wife Margo Rey. For $50 he’ll throw in Rey’s album, two more years in his Rontourage and a leather-and-steel flask. Even the highest-priced package is still within the blue-collared’s budget. At only $100, the “VIP ‘Plastered Card’ Package” adds on lifetime membership to the Rontourage, 50 percent off of merch at shows, and a meet-and-greet with White on tour.
White has been touring for over 25 years, so pulling off 80 minutes of story telling in A Little Unprofessional appears effortless to the vet who performs more than 150 shows every year. When White tells stories about flying in his jet and partying on Dr. Phil’s yacht, calling him “blue collar” make as much sense as Russell Simmons and Kanye West dropping by Occupy Wall Street. But when those stories are really about him getting busted with pot, being bad at sex or getting so wasted that he embarrasses his wife in front of hundreds of people, he’s just as relatable as ever. No? That’s just me?
The album will hit stores in November, but ordering from the site now gives fans the chance to win prizes and the opportunity to pay less, get it early and know that the money you’re spending is going to the artist you’re choosing to support. Check out RonWhiteSpecial.com to start downloading!