It's been so long since Chris Rock put out a stand-up special that you may think he's forgotten how to do it. He used to be the greatest comedian alive, but since his last special, 2008's Kill the Messenger, he's been eclipsed by his friend Louis C.K. as he stepped back from stand-up to focus on acting, directing and producing. He still does stand-up occasionally, but not at the game-changing level of his breakthrough special Bring the Pain. After all this time away from stand-up, can he still deliver the laughs like he used to?
We'll find out next year, when Rock returns for the first of two stand-up specials for Netflix.
The streaming service announced Thursday that Rock will do two specials for Netflix, which has established itself as the premier destination for stand-up comedy. The first show will tape in 2017 after Rock does a world tour with the material — the tour is being planned now.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix will pay $40 million for the two specials, making this the most lucrative for a stand-up special ever. Rock going to Netflix is a blow to HBO, since Rock and the network have a long relationship — his first special, Big Ass Jokes, aired on the network in 1994, followed by his legendary specials Bring the Pain and Bigger & Blacker. He also had an eponymous talk show on HBO from 1997 to 2000.