Netflix is launching an 11-day stand-up comedy mega-festival in Los Angeles featuring 130 comics – including Dave Chappelle, whose recent special The Closer was hugely controversial for the streamer.
Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival will take place across 25 venues, including iconic locations such as The Greek Theater and The Hollywood Bowl. The lineup features Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, who will make history as the first stand-up comedian to ever perform at Dodger Stadium, and Kevin Hart, who will headline the Crypto.com Arena (formerly the STAPLES Center). There’s also an LGBTQ+ Celebration event that includes Margaret Cho, Tig Notaro, Wanda Sykes, Eddie Izzard, Sandra Bernhard and others.
If the festival sounds familiar, it’s probably because it was originally scheduled for last spring but was postponed due to the pandemic. If the festival sounds familiar, it’s because an earlier iteration of this was originally scheduled for last spring but was postponed due to the pandemic.
The move helps Netflix expand into the potentially lucrative events space at a time when its subscriber growth has slowed a bit, while at the same time generating a diverse mountain of on-air content. Netflix will record many of the shows to air as new stand-up specials.
More confirmed talent for the festival: Ali Wong, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Aziz Ansari, Bert Kreischer, Bill Burr, Chelsea Handler, Chris Rock, Conan O’Brien, Cristela Alonzo, David Letterman, Deon Cole, Ellen DeGeneres, Felipe Esparza, Fortune Feimster, Hasan Minhaj and Ronny Chieng, Iliza Shlesinger, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, Jerry Seinfeld, John Mulaney, Jonathan Van Ness, Ken Jeong, Kevin Hart, Kevin Smith, Larry David, Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum, Michael McIntyre, Mike Birbiglia, Mike Myers and David O. Russell, Nick Kroll, Nicole Byer, Patton Oswalt, Pete Davidson, Ray Romano, Seth Rogen, Theo Von, Tig Notaro, Tim Robinson and Tina Fey.
Burr and Mulaney headline events at The Forum, while Fey and Poehler will have a freewheeling conversation at the YouTube Theater.
“It’s absolutely thrilling for Netflix to be hosting a comedy festival of this magnitude in Los Angeles, ” said Netflix’s director of stand-up and comedy formats, Robbie Praw, said. “We were so disappointed to postpone the event last spring and our line-up of comedians can’t wait to bring much needed laughs to audiences in LA and around the world on Netflix. Netflix Is A Joke Festival is going to give comedy fans the opportunity to see the greats and discover new faces in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
Chappelle will headline The Hollywood Bowl. The comic’s The Closer, released in October, was arguably the most divisive stand-up special in recent memory. The Closer was billed as the last of a six-special package of Chappelle content for the streamer and until now it wasn’t clear if Netflix was going to do more business with the comic after the controversy.
The special was widely blasted as transphobic, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos was criticized for his defense of the special, later admitting “I screwed up” by not being more sensitive to Netflix employees’ feelings about the content, while still defending the program as “consistent with our comedy offering, it’s consistent with Dave Chappelle’s comedy brand and this is … one of those times when there’s something on Netflix that you’re not going to like.”
The festival will run April 28 to May 8. Presales will be available Dec. 7th and tickets for all events will go on sale Dec. 10 at www.NetflixIsAJokeFest.com.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter