Netflix’s plan for world domination is taking another major step forward. On the heels of landing two new stand-up comedy specials from Chris Rock, the streaming giant has now sealed a deal for three brand new stand-up comedy specials from one of the best stand-ups of all time: Dave Chappelle. Indeed, Netflix paid a whopping $40 million for Rock’s two stand-up specials, so one can only imagine how much the streaming service agreed to pony up for Chappelle, who bowed out of the limelight following his smashing success and abrupt departure from The Chappelle Show. Chappelle made something of a comeback recently as he hosted a spectacular episode of Saturday Night Live, and now it appears he’s making the comeback official with these Netflix specials.
The deal includes one brand new original stand-up comedy special to be produced by Chappelle and director Stan Lathan for Netflix, as well as two previously recorded but never-seen specials that were filmed at Austin City Limits Live and The Hollywood Palladium. Those two specials will be released simultaneously in 2017, marking Chappelle’s first stand-up specials in 12 years.
I still contend that Chappelle’s previous stand-up special Killing Them Softly is one of the best sets of all time, so this comes as joyous news to fans of stand-up comedy. Chappelle is one of the sharpest and most talented comedians who ever lived, so to see the performer making a comeback of sorts is good news indeed.
Netflix continues to spend insane amounts of money to expand its reach, and delving into the stand-up realm is simply the next step for the streaming giant’s international plans. They’ve already ramped up original content with a slew of TV series and a burgeoning slate of high-profile original features, including the David Ayer-directed sci-fi drama Bright starring Will Smith and War Machine starring Brad Pitt. Of course, this all comes at a price—Netflix has been scaling back its library of licensed films, making it harder to find older or classic films on the ubiquitous streaming service.
What the future holds remains to be seen, but nabbing Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle is one hell of a one-two punch that announces strongly that Netflix is not messing around.