Dave Chappelle’s return to television continues with a deal at Netflix for three stand-up specials. Chappelle and director Stan Lathan will produce one original all-new comedy special exclusively for Netflix. Additionally, Netflix has picked up a pair of unreleased two-year-old specials from Chappelle’s personal archive. Directed by Lathan and filmed at Austin City Limits and the Hollywood Palladium, these represent Chappelle’s first concert specials in 12 years and are slated to be released simultaneously in 2017.
“Dave Chappelle is a legendary voice in comedy — searing, vital and, now more than ever, essential,” said Lisa Nishimura, VP Original Documentary and Comedy. “Dave’s three new specials promise to be some of the most anticipated events in comedy, and we are honored he will mark his global return on Netflix.”
Chappelle made a strong return to TV with his high-rated hosting stint on Saturday Night Live 10 days ago. The Netflix deal comes on the heels of the Internet network landing two new Chris Rock stand-up specials for a record $40 million, also in the comedian’s return to TV. While the Chappelle team likely sought a similar payday, the Chappelle stand-up package is different as only one of the three specials will be topical, reflecting post-election Trump America. I hear there was healthy interest, though the specials didn’t reach the bidding frenzy that the Rock specials did.
Chappelle has performed more than 500 concerts in the past three years, selling out shows within minutes of the announcements. In 2014, Chappelle sold out an unprecedented 10 consecutive comedy performances at Radio City Music Hall.
Chappelle was the mastermind behind Comedy Central’s runaway 2003 sketch comedy hit, The Chappelle Show. The series, which earned three Emmy nominations and went on to become one of the best-selling TV shows in DVD history, ended abruptly when Chappelle walked away.