Chris Rock is one of the comedian multi-hyphenates whose skill at stand-up has never been overshadowed by his other work. Netflix knows that.
On Thursday, the world-dominating streaming service snatched up Rock's next two stand-up specials, which will end an eight-year drought, for a reported $20 million apiece. Yes: $40 million for two stand-up specials, which typically range between 60 and 90 minutes for the big-leaguers. The first will arrive next year, after a world tour.
Deadline notes the deal was "an extremely competitive situation," with Rock having done five specials with HBO, the earliest being Big Ass Jokes in 1994, the latest being '08's Kill the Messenger. "Stand-up comedy has become a big draw on [streaming video on demand] platforms over the last few years," Deadline writes, "explaining the big appetite, aggressive bidding and huge price tag for new material from one of the superstars in the genre."
Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos said in a statement:
“Chris Rock is a beloved actor and director, and his remarkable stand-up makes him comic royalty. There is no one like him, and Netflix offers the global platform and creative freedom that will serve as a perfect home for someone with his incredible talent."
As for Rock? "I can’t wait to get back on stage."
Netflix's comedy crown includes stand-up special jewels in the shapes of Hannibal Buress, David Cross, Chelsea Handler, Aziz Ansari, Chris Tucker, Demetri Martin, Cedric the Entertainer, Bill Burr, Bo Burnham, Anjelah Johnson, Jeff Foxworthy, John Mulaney and Patton Oswalt, with those last two getting Emmy nominations this year.
Watch an old-school Fuse clip featuring Chris Rock talking about Eminem: