Jim Gaffigan Following Louis C.K. Model, Offering New Comedy Special as Digital Download

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Jim Gaffigan

The comedian will bring "Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe" exclusively to the web in April.

Following in the footsteps of Louis C.K., comedian Jim Gaffigan (My Boys, It's Kind of a Funny Story) announced that he will offer his new comedy special, Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe, exclusively as a digital download.

The one-hour stand-up special, which will be taped Saturday, Feb. 25 in Washington D.C. and released in April, will be sold for $5 on Gaffigan's official website, with $1 of each purchase donated to charity.

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In December, a similar DIY model was employed by Louis C.K. The FX star, who offered his Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater for purchase on his website, earned more than $1 million in a matter of days.

Gaffigan acknowledged Louis C.K.'s efforts, saying that he was "inspired" by his colleague to follow suit but also expressed some anxiety over the experiment.

"If no one buys the special or if lots of people steal it then I suppose I will lose a lot of money and have egg on my face," Gaffigan said. "But then again, I have four kids, so I am always losing money and usually have egg or some kind of food on my face so it might just feel normal." 

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Late Tuesday evening, late-night host Craig Ferguson tweeted his support for Gaffigan and Louis C.K.: "Hey. Louis CK started a thing. Now @JimGaffigan is doing it. They are bright, funny, smart, good men. I say back them. #myendorsementfor2012"

Gaffigan will donate $1 of each purchase to the Bob Woodruff Foundation, an organization that supports injured service members, veterans and their families. A comparable move was made by Louis C.K., who announced during a Late Night With Jimmy Fallon appearance that he would divvy up a portion of the profits ($280,000 to be exact) to five different charities.

“We can safely say that the experiment really worked,” Louis C.K. wrote on his blog in mid-December after his self-distributed special was deemed a success. “If anybody stole it, it wasn’t many of you. Pretty much everybody bought it.”

Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe will be produced and fully funded by Gaffigan, currently on tour, and his wife Jeannie.

Gaffigan and Louis C.K. weren't the only ones to use non-traditional distribution methods to get content out to consumers. In 2007, Radiohead offered its In Rainbows album using a "pay what you want" model on the web.