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Netflix is readying for its first-ever live, global streaming event, and it’s pulling out all the stops.
On March 4, the streaming giant will air its first live stand-up special, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, along with just-announced live pre- and post-shows. The former, now-titled The Show Before the Show, will stream live that evening at 6:30 p.m. PT, kicking off the night with live commentary from fellow comics and messages from Rock’s famous pals, including Amy Schumer and Jerry Seinfeld. The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng is set to host, with others appearing including Arsenio Hall, Deon Cole and Leslie Jones. Later in the evening, comedians David Spade and Dana Carvey will emcee the post-show, which is being billed The Show After the Show, with guests such as JB Smoove and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
For the main event, Rock will go live from a Baltimore, Maryland, stage at 7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET and is expected to do the same material — including jokes about being slapped by Will Smith at last year’s Oscars — that he’s been doing on the road as part of the “Chris Rock Ego Death World Tour.” The special, Rock’s second for Netflix, will remain available to stream after its March 4 airing, but the pre- and post-shows will only be available live as a way to further event-ize the already groundbreaking evening.
In recent years, Netflix has spent its way to undisputed dominance in the stand-up space, with a library of specials that features everyone from Dave Chappelle and Schumer to Bill Burr and Rock. And though the streamer isn’t handing out eight-figure specials the way that it once did, the latest “live” flex comes on the heels of the streamer’s previous foray with the hugely successful Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival, held in the spring of 2022. The live, in-person event, which was done in concert with Live Nation, sold more than 260,000 tickets, with more than 330 comedians performing 295 shows across more than 35 L.A. venues, including Dodger Stadium.
As for next month’s evening devoted to Rock, Netflix vp stand-up and comedy formats Robbie Praw noted in a statement, “Our goal is to deliver the best stand-up comedy to our members and this live streaming event further reinforces all the ways we continue to invest in the genre.”
The half-hour preshow will hail from The Comedy Store in L.A., with the producers able to secure messages from Cedric the Entertainer, Ice-T, Sir Paul McCartney, Sarah Silverman and The Chris Rock Show vet Wanda Sykes. Both the pre- and post-shows are being produced by Den of Thieves and directed by Joe DeMaio, executive produced by former Jimmy Kimmel Live! showrunner Jill Leiderman and Den of Thieves’ Jared Morell. Joel Gallen is lined up to produce and direct Rock’s special.
To date, Netflix has only flirted with the concept of live programming, while rivals like Apple TV+ and Amazon’s Prime Video have leaned in in the form of sports rights. The former has a 10-year deal for Major League Soccer games and for Friday night Major League Baseball games, while the latter has partnered with the NFL for Thursday Night Football, which represents the league’s first exclusive national streaming rights deal. Netflix, for its part, will begin streaming the SAG Awards for its global audience beginning in 2024.
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