Tuesday, November 29, 2022

TV: Who needs NETFLIX

In its conversion from a DVD store to a streaming service, NETFLIX had many building blocks.  One of the most obvious was the stand up comedy special.  2013 saw NETFLIX's first comedy special with AZIZ ANSARI: BURIED ALIVE.  In 2015, he'd return with LIVE AT MADISON GARDEN -- which, despite being so much after his first special, was only NETFLIX's fourth stand up comedy special.


The streamer would quickly pick up the pace and 2017 would find over 50 stand up comedy specials from NETFLIX.  In later years, Nate Bargatze, Fortune Feimster, Dave Chappelle, Ali Wong, Nick Kroll, Gabriel Iglesias, Pete Davidson, John Mulaney, Whitney Cummings, Amy Schumer, Katt Williams, Norm Macdonald, Chris Rock,  Ricky Gervais, Mike Epps, Ronny Chieng, Nicole Byer, Michael Che, Jim Gaffigan, Marc Maron, Elle DeGeneres, Jerry Seinfeld, Eric Andre, George Lopez, Jack Whitehall, Park Na-rae, Iliza Shlesinger, Arsenio Hall, Michelle Wolf, Leslie Jones, Nikki Glaser, Bill Burr, Wanda Sykes, Ray Romano, Russell Brand, DL Hughley, Kevin James, Marlon Wayans, Sofia Nino de Rivera, Fred Armisen, Sarah Silverman and Cristela Alonzo are among the many who've had their own NETFLIX comedy special.

So many specials in fact, that FAMILY GUY spoofed the amount in November 4, 2018's "Regarding Carter" episode where Peter learns that he has his own NETFLIX special (I'M THINKIN' I MIGHT) as does Cleveland Brown (ARE YOU PICKIN' UP WHAT I'M PUTTIN' DOWN?), Consuela de la Morrela ("SQUEAKY DIRTY JOKES"), Seamus Levine (YES I WOOD), Kimi Quagmire (THE LEATHER GIMP SPECIAL), Herbert (I KID), Mort Goldman (ANOTHER JEWISH COMEDIAN) and Tricia Takanawa (COMIC-KAZE).

 NETFLIX is the way a comedy special gets seen.



Or one of the ways.  Last week, Matteo Lane released his comedy special (THE ADVICE SPECIAL).  It's not even been seven days yet but already his hilarious special has notched up close to 600,000 specials.

Matteo hands out advice -- to a woman who wants to divorce her husband, to a man who is sleeping with a guy in his building despite them not speaking the same language and despite the guy thinking he wants to focus more on his wife.  Or how about the guy who's neighbor leaves him a note telling him to buy some blinds?

It's Matteo shooting from the hip, it's improv and it's hilarious.

The aging queens at DATA LOUNGE didn't like it -- but what do they like anymore besides obsessing over Donald Trump?  We'd say "Get a room!" but they already have an entire lounge.

Matteo?  He has an impressive record at a time when all roads are supposed to lead to NETFLIX save for the increasingly few diverted to HBO.

There are other business models, there are other ways of reaching an audience.  Matteo's built a huge audience and done so with no help from NETFLIX.

Who needs NETFLIX?

That's a question reader Elyse asked in an e-mail earlier this month?

She pays for internet but there are just too many streamers and the cost keeps adding up.  She wondered if we -- if anyone -- could survive a week without using a paid streaming service?

From last Monday through Sunday, we did.

We streamed Matteo Lane's comedy special on YOUTUBE three times.  This is YOUTUBE, by the way, not YOUTUBE TV.  We pay for the latter so it didn't get used.

We watched movies on a number of outlets -- on CRACKLE, we watched Woody Allen's A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK, on TUBI we watched the thriller THE MANNY starring Michael Evans Behling and Joanne Jansen and we watched all three of the John Wicks films, we streamed the ADULT SWIM FESTIVAL on ROKU.  Mainly though?

We kept coming back to PLUTO.  We watched THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW channel which shows nothing but episodes of Carol's variety series.  We saw episodes with Cher, Dionne Warwick, Cass Elliot, Betty White, the Pointer Sisters, Rock Hudson and, of course, Tim Conway.  Other programs we watched on PLUTO?  JUDGE JUDY (she has her own channel), TINY HOUSE NATION (again, it has its own channel), THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW,


So, yes, it can be done.  You can find plenty to watch on free streamers if you don't have the money (or don't wish to spend the money) on paid streaming services.  It may not be perfect, but you can be entertained. 


Cable cutting was a smart move once upon a time.  Now everyone's offering their own paid subscription and most aren't worth it.  APPLE+ is the biggest rip off of all time.  In one month, you could easily watch ever thing that they have to offer.  In one week, you could watch everything they have to offer that is worth watching.  What does HULU PLUS provide that you can't find everywhere else with the exception of the worthless programs from FX?  If you're a MARVEL freak, DISNEY+ is the service for you.  Otherwise?  The only ones of real value would appear to be NETFLIX and AMAZON PRIME.  If PEACOCK would truly work what they have in the UNIVERSAL vaults, it would make the list. They develop content and have plenty of it.  It's a better investment if you're needing to spend less money.


But, yes, you can survive without NETFLIX.  And, as time goes by, that may go for content developers as well.  Matteo's THE ADVICE SPECIAL could be the first step down that road.



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