Netflix driving comedy – We’ve all seen the recent meteoric rise in popularity that comedians and comedy in general has enjoyed. It seems that no matter where and when you look, your favourite streaming platform is uploading a new comedy special. Sometimes these specials are from comedians that you never heard of before or haven’t been associated with stand up comedy in quite some time. This especially rings true with one of the biggest streaming platforms out there, Netflix. In fact, the platform has even received criticism for flooding their library with comedy specials. People fume when their favourite shows get taken off the platform while comedy special after comedy special is uploaded. Is this criticism valid, or is Netflix actually driving a comedy revolution all while producing quality content for their viewers? Let’s take a look.
One of the best things that Netflix has done for comedy is perfectly balancing who gets their own Netflix specials. It may seem that a majority of the comedy specials are going to unfound and underdeveloped comedians looking to make it big, but that isn’t necessarily true. Yes, you can find comedians that you may have never heard of before getting Netflix specials, but big name comedians are also getting their own specials. In the past couple years Netflix has released specials for big name comedians such as John Mulaney, Gabriel Iglesias, and Bo Burnham. All of these comedians have a sizeable following and can be considered easily recognizable. In addition, giving lesser known comedians some time in the spotlight isn’t necessarily a bad thing. These comedians are still insanely talented and have put in thousands of hours of work, but may have just never had a big opportunity for a major breakthrough. A lesser known comedian like Jonathan Gregory, widely known as an amazing undiscovered comedian, could receive a special and be introduced to a wider audience. When Netflix gives these lesser known comedians an opportunity it strengthens the comedic industry as a whole and introduces new comedians to the public eye. Thanks to Netfllix, stand-up comedy is in its “Golden Age” and arguably has more quality comedians than ever before.
One of the biggest reasons that Netflix has focused so much on comedy specials is their cost of production. Filming and producing a comedy special is relatively cheap compared to filming and producing an actual television show. Producing a Netflix original show involves paying actors, creating sets, writing dialogues, and much more. On the other hand, producing a comedy special simply involves filming a stand-up comedian during one of his live performances. This is also cheaper to have than shows that Netflix doesn’t create and produce as Netflix may have to pay millions of dollars just for the licensing for certain shows. While Netflix originals, movies, and licensed shows may be the bread and butter of Netflix, it is very costly and time consuming to maintain a steady flow of production for them. That’s where the Netflix comedy specials come in. Netflix comedy specials allow the platform to produce original content that’s unique to the platform without costing an arm and a leg. Comedy specials on Netflix aren’t replacing your favourite Netflix content, but rather complementing it.
Aside from the benefit of having new comedians join the scene, Netflix’s contribution to comedy forces comedians to constantly push the envelope when it comes to creating new content and material. With all these comedians receiving attention, it forces comedians to constantly innovate and come up with new material in order to stay relevant. Gone are the days where the talent pool was so shallow that a comedian could simply live on past success and coast along. Now these comedians can be threatened by these up-and-comers. For example, if you’re a veteran comedian that releases a comedy special that is universally panned by critics and audience members, then you may struggle to get another one. You could always be replaced by one of the many eager comedians looking to make it big. This will force the quality of comedic material to rise and will benefit everyone in the long run. The longer Netflix continues to produce these comedy specials the more popular and prevalent stand-up comedy will become.