Stand-up for Netflix

Netflix is the new ‘go-to’ for comedy specials

Cat Frink // The Torch

If you’re a fan of stand-up comedy, you’ll appreciate Netflix for its ever-expanding comedy specials. Recently, you may have noticed an increase in Netflix’s library of stand-up comedy. Netflix broke onto the stand-up stage a few years ago and has been outbidding rivals like Comedy Central, HBO and Showtime for big-name contract after big-name contract. In 2017, I feel confident in naming Netflix the new king of comedy.

Through my childhood, HBO was the main destination for big stand-up acts. I fell in love with this form of comedy watching Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy rock the stage. My, how things have changed. While competitors of Netflix still have a handful of amazing comedy specials, Netflix has been able to close on some of the largest contracts ever.  

With 21 specials released so far this year, some might think that Netflix is concerned with quantity over quality. I would disagree. Recent mega-deals sealed by Netflix show that they are aiming for true entertainment value.    

It seems as though Netflix has the funds to put a wide variety of big-name comedians in front of a large audience. With a library of comedy specials available to stream at your convenience, Netflix has taken the lead as the top supplier of stand-up legends.

Top comedians, including Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Tracy Morgan and Sarah Silverman have all released specials through Netflix. Jerry Seinfeld is the next big release from Netflix, aiming to air late 2017. Morgan, Seinfeld, Silverman and Chris Rock, all signed astounding multifaceted deals reaching $40 million and beyond. Netflix has scheduled for one comedy special to be released per week. Most any comedian would jump on a payday opportunity like that.

After taking twelve years off, Chappelle made his anticipated return to form with two exclusive comedy specials on Netflix, with one more to be released this year. In 2003, Chappell became one of the hottest comedians in the world, with “The Chappelle Show,” setting the standard for contemporary sketch comedy. Chappelle’s three new specials may perhaps be the most anticipated events in Netflix history. In 2009, Comedy Central named Chappelle one of Comedy’s 100 greatest stand-ups of all time.

C.K., who returns for his ninth stand-up special, is well-respected in the comedy world. C.K. is known as a comedian, actor, writer, producer, director, editor and six-time Emmy Award-winner. C.K. brings his brash brand of comedy to Washington D.C. for Netflix on April 4. C.K. shed his infamous plain black t-shirt and presented himself donning a suit and tie as he covered topics such as abortion, suicide, faith, and his complicated relationship with the 2012 movie “Magic Mike.” C.K is slated for another comedy special to debut on Netflix later this year.

“Louis has been one of the most innovative comedy voices in this new era of stand-up,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix. “We have marveled at his creativity and his ability to invent comedically and commercially, and are thrilled that he is bringing his newest specials to Netflix.”

Morgan makes his return to the stage after being severely injured in a 2014 car crash involving a Walmart truck. His special, “Staying Alive,” he goes over the outcome of his tragic car accident where he lost fellow comedian James McNair. He also covered overcoming brain damage, rehabbing from his accident and dealing with the loss of life.

After an eight-year hiatus, Rock is slated to make his return with two stand-up specials set to air on Netflix later this year. The first special will follow Rock on a world comedy tour.

Seinfeld, a comedy legend, recently signed a major production deal with Netflix for two stand-up specials. The former star of the once popular show “Seinfeld” makes his return to the stage with 19 years separating him from his last special.

Liam Lynch will direct Silverman’s upcoming special to be released later this month for a May 30 premiere. Silverman won an Emmy in 2014 for her HBO comedy special Sarah Silverman: “We Are Miracles.”

After a groundbreaking year, taking over the top spot of stand-up content, I’m excited to see what’s next. Netflix has become the major destination for comedians, actors and video producers alike. Combining quantity, quality and demand, Netflix delivers major entertainment.