Have you watched Louis C.K.'s new TV show yet? The prolific comedian surprised his fans over the weekend by releasing the first episode of Horace and Pete, a new multi-camera comedy set in an Irish bar that's available on his website. The early response has been positive, but some people are up in arms regarding the episode's price: it costs $5, more than a typical standalone TV episode and on par with C.K.'s straight-to-consumer stand-up specials. He addressed the blowback in a lengthy email sent to his mailing list this afternoon. "The dirty unmovable fact is that this show is fucking expensive," writes C.K. "I'm leaving the first episode at $5. I'm lowering the next episode to $2 and the rest will be $3 after that. I hope you feel that's fair. If you don't, please tell everyone in the world."
What does "fucking expensive" mean, exactly? C.K. chalks up the show's cost to the high quality of its production — the show uses "four broadcast cameras, two beautiful sets and a state-of-the-art control room and a very talented and skilled crew and a hall-of-fame cast" — and the fact that it's completely independent. "This is a hand-made, one-guy-paid-for-it version of a thing that is usually made by a giant corporation," writes C.K. To hear him tell it, setting the price of the first episode at $5 was a necessary evil that allowed him to make up some of the show's budget; he might not be able to continue making it if not for the higher price.
A new episode is coming out this Saturday
C.K. isn't holding the backlash against his fans — if anything, he thinks it's a fascinating case study in the relative value of art. "The value of any set amount of money is mercurial," writes C.K. "Some people say, '$5 is a cup of coffee.' Some people say 'Hey! $5?? What the fuck!'" If you're still on board with Horace and Pete despite the pricing kerfuffle, you won't have to wait long for new material: C.K. and his cast are shooting a new episode now, and he says it'll be available on Saturday morning.