Why Netflix Is Going Big On Stand-Up

When it comes to media content there’s different types – scripted drama & comedy, documentary series, animation, kids shows, etc.

One such division is stand-up comedy specials, an arena that Netflix has made big in roads into in the past few months with the company spending up big on a variety of exclusive comedy specials from Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, Aziz Ansari and Jerry Seinfeld.

The money spent may seem ridiculously big, but comedy producer Brian Volk-Weiss tells Variety the streaming giant has an end goal in mind – to corner this specific market for a fraction of the price it would take to do the same with others:

“Unlike drama, which costs them billions, what they’re able to do with stand-up for $100 million is dominate. They basically said, let’s take everything off the table so that if the public wants to tune in to high-end comedy, it goes to Netflix.

By the end of this year, unless somebody mounts a tremendous counterattack, which is getting increasingly harder, Netflix will have utter domination of one of five or six genres that exist.”

HBO and Comedy Central still host stand-up specials, but often for their own roster of talent such as Bill Maher and Trevor Noah respectively. Seen as a counter move to this expansion, Comedy Central recently announced the Colossal Clusterfest comedy festival in June in San Francisco – a live event featuring a wide array of talent such as Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr, and Hannibal Burress.

Meanwhile today Netflix released the trailer for two of the three Dave Chappelle comedy specials it has coming. Those two, never-before-seen specials which come directly from Chappelle’s personal comedy vault, will premiere March 21st and mark his first concert specials in 12 years.