2018 seems to be the year where Netflix flexes its muscle, using its unique distribution model to put out material whenever and however it pleases. After acquiring The Cloverfield Paradox from Paramount and releasing it immediately following the Super Bowl, debate flared up as to whether it’s going to help or harm the films and other releases being put out in this way.
It’s definitely exciting if you’re a viewer, though. Now that Netflix almost seems to be emulating the hip-hop mixtape model, in which both hyped projects and surprise releases are made immediately available, it can pretty much do anything it wants with the increasingly big names signing to it. For instance, there’s Chris Rock, who signed a $40 million deal with Netflix in 2016 for two brand-new stand-up specials. Now the first of those, Chris Rock: Tamborine, will be released tomorrow, February 14th, on Valentine’s Day.
While he’s been busy with directorial projects (Top Five, the HBO special Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo), Rock hasn’t released a stand-up special since 2008’s Kill the Messenger. It was directed by Bo Burnham and filmed at New York’s Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
With Tamborine, alongside Dave Chappelle’s partnership with the streaming behemoth and their recent acquisition of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Netflix is emerging as a haven for stand-up comedy, of all things, albeit of a more name-brand sort.