There are so many things that people can do for entertainment in today’s world. One might visit the more than 1,300 golf courses available in Florida alone, drive across country for some sightseeing, read a few books, or go and watch some live comedy.
For years, stand-up comedy has struggled to find as much mainstream success as sport programs or popular television shows, but thanks to Netflix, the genre has become more popular than ever.
In the past, both Comedy Central and HBO were the two leading networks that showcased stand-up comedy specials. But over the last few years, the online streaming giant Netflix has completely flipped the script on those networks, and the service is continuing to do so in early 2017.
According to Quartz, HBO released a total of three stand-up specials in 2016, Comedy Central released 10, and Netflix released a record-breaking 26 stand-up comedy specials.
The streaming service isn’t just releasing a large amount of comedy specials either, but is releasing content by some of the world’s biggest comedians. Superstars Bill Burr, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle, and, most recently, Jerry Seinfeld all have numerous specials planned to be released on Netflix.
“That’s a category we took from kind of cheap, second-window programming to something that really becomes an event and a subscriber-acquisition driver for Netflix,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer at Netflix.
Even though Netflix is securing some of the most famous comedians in the world, and keeping them from competitive networks, they are also emerging as an excellent outlet for other up-and-coming comedians. Comics like Hannibal Buress, Ali Wong, Bo Burnham, and Chelsea Peretti all watched their fanbase grow after successful Netflix-released stand-up specials.
As of January 2017, Netflix has a significant amount of both Netflix Original stand-up specials and classic specials from comedy greats like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Louis CK, and Patton Oswalt.