Netflix Is Cutting Back On Standup Comedy Specials

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Written by Ann Brown
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Netflix will be cutting back on its standup comedy offerings after cornering the market for standup with the likes of Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock.

Netflix will be cutting back on its standup comedy offerings. This, after the streaming giant had cornered the market for standup by doling out a reported $20 million per show for the likes of Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer, and Chris Rock.

This year the online video service has released less than either of the past two years. “Netflix has streamed about 30 such shows so far this year, compared with more than 50 at this point last year,” Bloomberg reported.

The news comes on the heels of Chappelle’s most recent standup production for Netflix, which despite great views was met with lot of backlash as some found it offensive.

Instead of standup, the company is spending more money on things like sketch comedy and shorter sets from lesser-known comedians.

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While this seems like a minor shift, it could cause major waves in Hollywood and Wall Street since Stand Up comedy has long been a strong element for Netflix, despite making up only a fraction of the $15 billion the company budget Netflix has for movies, TV shows, documentaries, and other programming just this year.

“Netflix built the world’s best library of standup comedy in just four years,” said Brian Volk-Weiss, chief executive officer of comedy producer and distributor Comedy Dynamics, which made “Ali Wong: Baby Cobra.” Volk-Weiss also created the Netflix series “The Toys That Made Us.”

Netflix used standup as a “relatively” cheap way to build a large library of programs featuring international celebrities. It even lured Seinfeld and Ellen DeGeneres to tape specials for the first time in ages. It also produced non-U.S. comics such as Franco Escamilla and Sofia Nino de Rivera.

Needless to say, comics are worried. And so are investors, who have sent Netflix shares down 25 percent since July over concern that the company’s growth may be slowing. Netflix now carries a debt of almost $13 billion.

Netflix will be releasing productions slower.

“Releasing more than 60 specials a year isn’t necessary in the long term, according to Netflix executives. This year, for instance, the service carried a sketch show from Tim Robinson, as well as collections like ‘Comedians of the world,’ a set of shorter episodes featuring 47 comics from 13 regions,” Bloomberg reported.

Despite this decision, Netflix is still the largest producer of standup comedies among the major TV networks. 

Ann Brown
Image Attribution: Netflix will be cutting back on its standup comedy offerings. This, after the streaming giant had cornered the market for standup by doling out a reported $20 million per show for the likes of Dave Chappelle, Amy Schumer, and Chris Rock., Netflix will be cutting back on its standup comedy offerings after cornering the market for standup with the likes of Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock.