Louis C.K.’s Show Release is a Subversive Statement About Pop Culture

horace and pete louis ck

Screengrab of 'Horace and Pete'

Louis C.K. has been emailing his fans. On January 30th, he stealth-released his new show, ‘Horace and Pete,’ and sent out a minimalist email announcing it to his newsletter subscribers. The show is available directly on his site for five bucks. No television network, no commercials, just art. Yesterday, Louis followed up with another email to tell us what he’s been thinking.

From Louis’ email:

Part of the idea behind launching [‘Horace and Pete’] on the site was to create a show in a new way and to provide it to you directly and immediately, without the usual promotion, banner ads, billboards and clips that tell you what the show feels and looks like before you get to see it for yourself.  As a writer, there’s always a weird feeing that as you unfold the story and reveal the characters and the tone, you always know that the audience will never get the benefit of seeing it the way you wrote it because they always know so much before they watch it.  And as a TV watcher I’m always delighted when I can see a thing without knowing anything about it because of the promotion. So making this show and just posting it out of the blue gave me the rare opportunity to give you that experience of discovery.

Louis’ promotion-free release of ‘Horace and Pete’ is a ballsy, unheard-of model for television production. More importantly, it’s a bold statement about contemporary entertainment culture and the way we perceive art and marketing.

We live in a world that’s utterly saturated with advertising and marketing. It’s easy to forget that it’s even there – but advertising and marketing are busily shaping our perception of music, film and art every time we browse the Internet or walk past a billboard. Louis C.K. is allowing fans to essentially mainline his art right into their heads without any hype or filter. No marketing executives canning it and labeling it. It’s totally refreshing. Not only does his release strategy bypass all the hype – but it makes you stop and realize just how many marketing messages try to persuade us everyday. Speaking of which, the television advertising juggernaut of the year is coming up this Sunday…

‘Horace and Pete’ is available on

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