Netflix has been a leader in the streaming content game for a while now and has always been interested in finding different ways to expand its catalogue of content. Its comedy specials have certainly caught on, with many comedians gaining a following through hour-long, stand-up fare on the streaming platform. Now, the company is experimenting with the capabilities of its service as well as the comedy special format by premiering its first live show with comedian Chris Rock. An exec recently opened up about the production and why Rock was specifically chosen for it.
Netflix EMEA boss Larry Tanz shared some keen thoughts while talking about why the company was interested in expanding into live entertainment and using Chris Rock as the talent for the experiment. Clearly Rock was one of the favorite options for the live show, and it would seem that the “Netflix Is a Joke” festival was a big reason for this endeavor. Tanz explained:
The businessman also explained that he and his colleagues saw this live comedy show as a gateway into other potential live opportunities, especially within the reality television sphere. However, a lot seems to be riding on how the Chris Rock show goes over with viewers. During his interview with Variety, Tanz went on to say:
The entertainment entity isn’t the only streamer that’s sought to expand the capabilities of live entertainment. Hulu has always had a live television component, and Peacock even allows for Saturday Night Live to be streamed live as well. However, Netflix is certainly looking to uniquely approach this sphere to separate itself from other services. The powers that be have been looking for new ways to revitalize the platform, especially in the wake of Netflix’s subscriber loss.
While the executive is clearly excited about the live comedy show for the platform, it may be a creative risk. The corporation was marred by controversy over how it handled Dave Chappelle’s controversial stand-up special. In addition, Chris Rock’s joke at this year’s Oscars, which resulted in Will Smith’s infamous slap, remains a topic of discussion. A live special removes the possibility of censors and editing, so the company is putting a lot of faith in Rock for its first attempt at live streaming.
Still, Chris Rock has a positive relationship with the streaming service, so they’re likely on the same page about everything. His last special, Tamborine, was extremely popular, and he recently participated in a Bob Saget tribute for the platform as well. The company clearly has confidence in their choice per Tanz’s comments, so it’s just up to Rock to deliver.
You can catch Tamborine — as well as its extended cut, Total Blackout — right now using a Netflix subscription.