DAR Comedy: The Netflix Stand-Up Comedy World

By @TrueGodImmortal

Netflix has made themselves a target in a way as they've managed to become a profitable avenue for the comedy world through original standup deals. They became a target in the wake of the Monique story and scandal and since then, a number of people have had their own opinion about the Netflix practices, and while we all know the Hollywood rules and what they stand for, today we are taking a different approach. We will discuss the Netflix stand-up world, the best specials, the surprises, and the biggest names involved with the streaming service. Let's enter the world of Netflix Original Stand-Ups.

*Dave Chappelle's Return
-The biggest story is one of the greatest comedians ever coming back to claim what was rightfully is. After a hiatus that saw him make appearances, but never fully return, Chappelle came back with a vengeance, owning 2017 from the comedy perspective with ease. He released four quality specials, two of which were previously taped, and he delivered some of his best work, perhaps his best ever on the stage. With his first specials being Deep In The Heart Of Texas and The Age Of Spin (recorded in 2015 and 2016), Chappelle showed that he hasn't missed a beat and was as funny as ever. However, he took it to another level with his final two specials, as Equanimity and The Bird Revelation feature some of the best work of his career and one of the greatest stories ever told in comedy. For me, the Netflix stand-up world didn't hit the next level until the Chappelle deal. Sure, they gave out big deals before, but he changed the game and broke records with his specials, making this perhaps the most lucrative Netflix deal of them all.

*Chris Rock Plays Tamborine
-I had been waiting for the Chris Rock special for nearly two years. It was announced in 2016 that he would be a part of the Netflix comedy family and as a result, I was excited. However, when I would see that this special was arriving in February 2018, I was amped, but found myself slightly disappointed in the first 20 minutes of his new special. However, the special picked up the pace and as a result, I was engaged with the best Netflix special I had watched that didn't come from Dave Chappelle. It is rare we see comedic genius on a conversational level, but Rock does that well. He hits home with the reality of his jokes and has a lot of quotes in this. While the title is a bit.... I guess you could say forced, the special works well and it is a welcome return to the stage for Chris Rock and a huge success for the Netflix stand-up world.

*Marlon Wayans And His First Stand-Up
-I was always a fan of the Wayans Bros growing up and the moment I heard Marlon was on the road doing stand-up comedy, I was admittedly skeptical. For one, Marlon seems funny in physical comedy, but stand-up is another thing. Could he do it right? Can he control the crowd? Can he get them to laugh at the drop of a dime? The answers to all of these are yes. However, could Marlon do all of those things and still be funny from start to finish? The answer is a resounding no. This special isn't funny at all, with only a few chuckles here and there. Perhaps there is an oversaturation so to speak of stand-up comedy specials so these don't have the luster they would, but Marlon loses me at various times. Especially when he talks about giving white people a "nigga" pass. The special has its moments, but for the most part, Marlon teeters in the average territory as a comedian and gives us nothing special. 

*Katt Williams Comeback?
-One of the most anticipated specials for me would be the Katt Williams return. I was skeptical going into it and when Peagle told me to not waste my time, I got a little more skeptical. For good reason. Titled Great America, this special is a huge disappointment. It doesn't really bring the funny like you would want from Katt, and he spends a lot of time focusing on the city he's in, which isn't an issue, but for the special, it adds very little to it. His animation however is well in tact, and as a result, his delivery inspires laughs here and there. The unfortunate thing is that his actual jokes do not. Katt is a comedy legend in his own right, but his Netflix special is a huge miss, which shouldn't be a surprise since his last few specials have missed the mark for the most part.

*Not So Funny
For me, I would expect the comedy world to have a few failures, but for me, those are far too many in the Netflix world. Personally, 90% of the comedians who have received a Netflix deal aren't really my cup of tea comedy wise, but there are some instances where it was really bad. For one, Staying Alive by Tracy Morgan. It was supposed to be a triumphant return by Tracy and instead, I watched this special without laughing once. Tracy may have made some of you laugh on 30 Rock, and he's hilarious to me on Martin, but this special was an utter failure. In a way, the Chris Tucker Live special was also a failure. While successful, it fell below the mark of what I expected or at least hoped for. While I attempted to watch the Sarah Silverman, Trevor Noah, Hannibal Buress, Jeff Dunham, and Ali Wong specials, I couldn't make it through. These were all cringeworthy, and there are a ton of specials like them on the Netflix brand. One has to wonder if a Monique special falls into that category as well. It most likely would be popular due to the situation now, but it would likely fall flat as many of them did.

I didn't mention Amy Schumer yet, and with good reason. Her comedy is a disgrace to the art of comedy and I've never understood how many found her funny or how she secured millions besides her name value and draw ability that was inflated by two successful moves. Watching her standup is something I advise everyone with a real sense of humor to avoid. There are more failures and specials that don't connect, but these are the most noteworthy that stick out that you should avoid. 

*Surprise Success
For me, there are some specials that caught me by surprise, the first being Def Comedy Jam 25, which was more so a celebration than an actual stand-up show. Still, there is a bit with D.L. Hughley and Dave Chappelle that makes watching this all worth it. It does feature comedy within it and is a celebration of a classic stand-up comedy show, so it applies. Other surprises that came along are Russell Peters, who isn't my cup of tea comedy wise, but I chuckled enough at the early part of his special, and he seems to be popular, as is Jo Koy. While I wouldn't watch this special again, it was solid enough to surprise me. Even the return of Jerry Seinfeld was solid. It could have got promoted a little more, but it was successful and definitely notable. Cedric The Entertainer and DeRay Davis have decent specials that aren't classics, but they do come with way more laughs than a few of the specials I expected to be more funny. However, the biggest surprise remains Michael Che and his special, which is one of the funniest on the entire service. His special showcased a wit and dry yet hilarious style of humor that worked perfectly for this stage. Of all the surprise successes on Netflix, the Michael Che special is my favorite and the best.

*Wrap Up 
The stand-up comedy world is wide and vast, as they employ some huge names, some decent names, and some surprising names. You'll see Norm MacDonald with a special, and then in the same breath, you'll see Jen Kirkman or Chelsea Peretti doing their thing, or even John Mulaney. What Netflix shows is that they are open and willing to give specials to women and men who are willing to showcase what they have. Perhaps the criticism is valid on what they've done in terms of giving bad offers to those who didn't choose to take it, but with such a vast array of choices and a number of comedians benefiting from Netflix deals, it is clear the Netflix stand-up comedy world isn't changing anything soon.



Popular Posts