Louis C.K. is arguably the most successful standup comedian working today. Not just because of his sitcom or standup specials, but because of his do-it-yourself mentality. He famously produced, shot, edited, and distributed his standup special Live at the Beacon Theater. This self-distribution model was quickly adapted by others.
In an interview with the New York Times Louis C.K. asserts that such creative freedom didn’t happen over night (the bold questions are the Times reporter).
Does it matter that what you’ve achieved, with your online special, and your tour can’t be replicated by other performers who don’t have the visibility or fan base that you do?
Why do you think those people don’t have the same resources that I have, the same visibility or relationship? What’s different between me and them?
You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.
So why do I have the platform and the recognition?
At this point you’ve put in the time.
There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.