The evolution of Netflix continues, as the streamer has announced that it's going to host the first ever Netflix live streaming event on the platform in 2023 with a Chris Rock stand-up special. Netflix announced the news via their blog, Netflix Tudum.
While Netflix has had special live events in the past to promote and celebrate some of their popular series, including Stranger Things and others, none of those could actually be watched on Netflix. Though we’re still waiting on a date — the announcement just says that the special is going to be in early 2023 — whenever it happens it’s going to be a milestone day for the service as it continues to stake its claim as the biggest and best streaming service out there.
It's also not a surprise that Netflix has opted to try this with a comedy special, as they have been one of the best places to watch stand-up for years now. It makes even more sense because they already have a relationship with Rock, whose 2018 special, Tambourine, was a hit on Netflix. This as-yet untitled Chris Rock special is his second with the streaming service.
"Chris Rock is one of the most iconic and important comedic voices of our generation," said Robbie Praw, Netflix vice president of Stand-up and Comedy Formats. "We’re thrilled the entire world will be able to experience a live Chris Rock comedy event and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment and we’re so honored that Chris is carrying this torch."
This is just one of the recent changes that Netflix has made the last few months. The big one being the introduction of a new subscription tier, Netflix with Ads, which, you guessed it, brings commercials to the streaming service for the first time for anyone who wants to pay for a cheaper subscription. Though there have been some issues as some Netflix shows and movies are missing from the ad-tier.
With the streaming wars continuing to rage, being able to offer live content seems to be the next big step. Disney Plus made that move with Dancing with the Stars. Paramount Plus offers live sports, including the ability to watch the NFL and college football, as well as access to live CBS channels for eligible subscribers. Peacock offers a similar package of live sports and TV shows, including announcing it’ll soon live stream NBC programming. HBO Max doesn’t have any original live content, though subscribers can stream HBO shows pretty much simultaneously when they air on TV.
Of course, if you want to be able to stream the Chris Rock comedy special live, you’ll need to be a Netflix subscriber. But hey, it’s cheaper than a ticket to one of Chris Rock’s concerts.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.