No big surprise here: Business Insider is reporting that Dave Chappelle’s latest stand-up special, released exclusively on Netflix, is the streaming networks’ most watched comedy offering of all time – and that’s saying a lot, for a site that’s released 17 original specials in the first quarter of 2017 alone.
In a letter to its shareholders, this week Netflix announced that Chappelle’s recent special, Collection 1 – the first of three he’s contracted to deliver to the network – has already become its most popular original comedy release, ever. Netflix also noted that Ged Elmaleh’s Gad Gone Wild was a breakout international hit.
Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos says that the growing network’s interest in comedy isn’t new. “[A]ctually, back in our early original content days and the red envelope entertainment, it’s all we did was produce original stand-up comedy and acquired documentaries and foreign language films,” he says. “Always had good luck with it, just on a very small scale. And the format lends itself really well to what we’re doing… it’s uncensored, it’s commercial free, and that allows for a lot of creative freedom. And the fan base for these folks is very big.”
And Netflix’s growing number of specials highlighting younger performers alongside it’s A-listers like Jim Norton and Louis CK is helping grow that fan base – one of the many comedy projects they’ve got coming up this year is The Stand-Ups, a series of half hours from comics including Dan Soder, Nate Bargatze, and Fortune Feimster.