Netflix Goes Live for First Time With Chris Rock Stand-Up Special

Chris Rock live Netflix special
Chris Rock (Image credit: Netfilix)

Netflix is making more changes, announcing that it will have its first live programming with a Chris Rock stand-up comedy special that will stream early next year.

Netflix, which practically invented the subscription video-on-demand service, recently launched an ad-supported version after years of promising there would be no commercials in its programming.

A move to live would also enable Netflix to get into the sports business. It reportedly has been kicking the tires on some minor sports — tennis, cycling, surfing — and also took a look at Formula One racing rights.

Rock has previously had a stand-up special on Netflix. His 2018 special was recorded and available in the traditional — for Netflix — on-demand manner.

“Chris Rock is one of the most iconic and important comedic voices of our generation,” said Robbie Praw, Netflix VP of stand-up and comedy formats. “We’re thrilled the entire world will be able to experience a live Chris Rock comedy event and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment and we’re so honored that Chris is carrying this torch.”

Netflix has a niche in the comedy business. It is the home to a number of specials and it encountered some controversy with Dave Chappelle’s topical humor.

In spring 2022, the streaming service mounted the Netflix Is a Joke festival in Los Angeles, which featured more than 330 comedians performing 295 shows across more than 35 venues — including the first-ever comedy show performed at Dodger Stadium. ■ 

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.