Louis C.K.’s regular-guy shtick permeates everything about his image: the plain black T-shirts, the self-deprecating humor, his Twitter bio (“I am a comedian and a person and a guy who is sitting here”), even his mass-emailing strategy.
Louie—and it feels right to call him “Louie” precisely because of this guy-who-is-sitting-here image he’s so expertly cultivated—is, of course, not an ordinary guy. He’s a wildly successful comic, a “comedy god” even, and his decision to directly distribute his own material has changed the way all kinds of entertainers look at the economics of selling albums and going on tour.
Yet Louie manages to write to his fans in a way that seems far more personal than the marketing messages that promote other entertainers in his class. The genius of his approach is that he's using email the way a politician does—a mock-personalized approach to reach and influence a huge mass audience—only he does it with a level of credibility and authenticity that politicians never quite capture.
Louie’s emails appear in your inbox with “Louis CK” as the sender—just as you might receive an email that appears to be from “Barack Obama”—and each message is crafted so that it seems like it was written just for you. Only, when Louie writes, he lampoons the improbability of such an exchange. Here’s a snippet from one of his early emails, dated Dec. 15, 2011:
Hi. This is LOuie. It seriously is me. Im even going to leave the O stuipdly capatalized because who would pay an intern to do that?? Okay so you bought the thing with my fat face on it and you clicked the button that said i could email you. And i know that now you are thinking "aw shit. Why'd i let this guy into my life this way?". Well dont worry. Because i really swear it that i wont bug you. I will not abuse this privalage of having your email. You wont hear from me again... Probably, unless i have something new to offer you.
Jokey, typo-ridden—but always making promises. And those promises can feel downright politician-like. Louie often echoes political-speak in structure and in language, and he acknowledges as much in that same 2011 email: “Also, some of you may know, i recently made a statement (that sounds so dumb. Like i’m the president or something) about how the video has been doing online.”