British Columbia

Comedian Louis C.K. warns: Don't scalp tickets to my Vancouver shows

One of the hottest comedians in show business is warning fans not to buy or resell overpriced tickets to his upcoming shows — because he might just cancel the tickets.

Innovative entertainer known for taking measures to control ticket prices and scalping

Louis C.K. accepts the Emmy award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for "Louie" onstage during the 2014 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

One of the hottest comedians in show business is warning fans not to buy or resell overpriced tickets to his upcoming shows — because he might just cancel the tickets.

Louis C.K. announced Tuesday that the West Coast city would be the only Canadian stop so far on his forthcoming North American tour.

The award-winning funny man will play the 6,000 seat Thunderbird Arena for two nights on Dec. 7 and 8. And once again he was capping prices well below average for a top notch show.

Louis C.K. was nominated for best actor in a comedy television series for his role in Louie. (FX/AP)

"As always, I'm keeping the price of my tickets down to an average of $50, including all charges," he said in an email blasted out to fans to announce the dates. "I know that's not nothing. But it's less than more than that."

Somewhat predictably, tickets were sold out with minutes, leaving desperate fans searching online for seats at the show.

'We take great efforts …'

And that's where the warning comes in.

It turns out C.K. has a long-standing beef with scalpers and resellers, and he takes personal pride in jamming their attempts to profit from his shows.

"Regarding ticket resale: we take great efforts and have many methods of finding out what inventory is being sold on broker sites like Stubhub and Vivid Seats and immediately invalidating those tickets," he declared on his website.

Writer, actor and comedian Louis C.K. poses in the press room after winning the best comedy writing award for his series, in 2013. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty)

"If the ticket becomes invalidated, we are not responsible, and unfortunately the consumer could lose money and not get into the show."

On Wednesday morning, the threat seemed to be working, with neither site offering seats for the show.

In fact, the online postings on Craigslist and Kijiji were from desperate fans looking for tickets themselves.

Record of jamming system

It is not the first time the innovative comedian with a huge following has taken measures to control ticket prices for his shows.

In 2012 he successfully bypassed services like Ticketmaster to sell the tickets for his U.S. tour.

In a statement online at that time, he said he wanted people to get tickets to his shows in an easy and affordable way.

"Making my shows affordable has always been my goal, but two things have always worked against that — high ticket charges and ticket re-sellers marking up the prices," the comedian said.

The U.S. comic is known for taking on scalpers and resellers trying to profit from his shows. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

"Some ticketing services charge more than 40 per cent over the ticket price and, ironically, the lower I've made my ticket prices, the more scalpers have bought them up."

He's also known for marketing video recordings of his comedy shows directly to his fans, self-financing his online comedy series Horace and Pete and generally taking whatever steps he can to avoid the digital rights management of larger corporations.

Who is in front row?

In a interview earlier this spring with The Associated Press, C.K. revealed more about his scalper-busting philosophy.

"For me, the bigger rooms I play and more work I get, the less I should charge. That's just my personal formula. If I'm making more money, I can afford to charge less."

And he's noticed a change in the crowds at his shows.

"When I started doing this, I noticed a change immediately. Before, I would look in the front row and see guys that look like they should be in Cigar Aficionado.

"Sometimes, they aren't even fans. They just wanted to show off that they could get a tough ticket. It's not fun to play for those people."

C.K says that for him the bigger thrill comes from having real fans in the front seats.

"When we do the tickets this way, people freak that they can buy front-row seats for face value. I get off on that. It makes for a better crowd."