Chappelle and director Stan Lathan will produce an original stand-up comedy special exclusively for Netflix, with its premiere date to be announced. The two other never-before-seen specials hail directly from Chappelle's personal comedy vault. Directed by Lathan and filmed at Austin City Limits Live in April 2015 and the Hollywood Palladium in March of this year, the specials mark the comedian'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,” saidLisa Nishimura, Netflix 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.”
The news comes fresh off Chappelle's Saturday Night Live hosting debut, which nabbed the show its best rating in three years. The specials also will mark the comic's first major TV project since he surprisingly and suddenly stepped away from his Comedy Central sketch series Chappelle's Show in 2005, arguably at the height of the series' popularity. The comedian subsequently spent several years out of the public eye, but has slowly returned to the mainstream. Chappelle performed 10 sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall in 2014, and also appeared in a small role in Spike Lee's film Chi-Raq last year. He has continued to perform stand-up across the country, performing more than 500 shows over the past three years.
For Netflix, the deal comes not long after the streaming giant landed two new stand-up specials from Chris Rock as part of a stunning $40 million deal. As it ramps up originals, Netflix has become a major player in the stand-up space, competing against Comedy Central and HBO, among other platforms. Earlier this year, the streamer was able to land Dana Carvey's first stand-up special in 20 years. In September, Patton Oswalt won an Emmy for his Netflix stand-up special, Talking for Clapping.
"For us, it's about having enough of a global audience and anticipated engagement that we can get behind all of these projects," Nishimura told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month when discussing Rock's eagerly awaited specials.