After the weekend, comedy fans will see Aziz Ansari throwing insults in the Roast of James Franco on Comedy Central with Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader and more, but he’s got a whole slew of new material coming for fans this fall.
The New York Times reports the star of “Parks & Recreation” will debut his new stand-up special “Buried Alive,” based on his recent tour of the same name, on November 1st. However, the special won’t be hitting the usual places like HBO or Comedy Central for the premiere. This time’s it’s Netflix who has the honor of premiering Ansari’s comedy, and it’s mostly because the comedian says his fans always mentioned they caught his earlier specials on Netflix.
The service once more prominently known for mailing DVDs to your house has now become a streaming giant, especially after the successful launch of their first major original series “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey. That series from The Social Network director David Fincher went on to land nine Emmy nominations, including a historical nomination for Best Drama, becoming the first online distributed series to receive such a high honor. Since then Netflix relaunched “Arrested Development” (with the promise of more on the way) and release two other original series: “Orange is the New Black” and “Hemlock Grove.”
And with those kind of series premiering exclusively on Netflix, the service is really starting to threaten HBO by stepping into stand-up comedy territory. The cable network is well-known for their stand-up comedy roster, with landing an HBO special being a milestone amongst stand-up comedians. But in this new age of streaming services providing more options to viewers, Netflix is emerging as a powerhouse player in entertainment distribution of their own.
Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings announced last month that they would expand into comedy specials and feature documentaries of their own. Specifically, in the comedy arena, Netflix has specials with Marc Maron and Kathleen Madigan on the way, and that’s after premiering John Hodgman’s “Ragnarok” and Mike Birbiglia’s “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” recently. But Ansari’s special will be the first that Netflix will use a lot of promotional support to publicize, just like their previous original content.
Ted Sarandos, the chief content officer for Netflix, says:
“We’ve been working to make Netflix a great home for comedians to do their best work and to support their live performance careers, and having Aziz debut his new show with us is a validation of that strategy.”
Ansari calls his new show “a lot more mature” than his previous stand-up specials, with topics like the differences between himself and all of his friends around the same age who are getting married and having kids.
Don’t worry if you don’t have Netflix, because Ansari will release his special as a $5 download, just like his last special, sometime after the Netflix premiere. The comedian says, “My goal is to get people that don’t know my stuff already, and maybe expand my audience.”
Speaking of expanding his audience, Ansari will have another opportunity to do that, albeit in a different medium. THR has word that Ansari just landed a book deal with a $3.5 million advance, just under “Girls” creator Lena Dunham’s recent deal for a book costing $3.7 million. That’s quite a hefty sum, but Ansari clearly has a big following from his film, TV and stand-up career, so it’s a solid investment.
The book doesn’t have a title just yet, but it will feature “an investigation into what Ansari argues is an entirely new era for singles, in which the basic issues facing a single person — whom we meet, how we meet them, and what happens next — have been radically altered by new technologies.” The comedian gives this example that many should be familiar with:
“You know when you text someone you’re romantically interested in and you don’t hear anything back and then you see them post a photo of a pizza on Instagram? That’s exactly what I want this book to deal with. These are strange conundrums that no generation has ever faced before and it’s a fascinating jumping off point for what I hope will be a very interesting book about modern courtship.”
The book will apparently include some real research with commentary from noted academics, so it will be funny, but also informative and poignant. The Penguin Press will publish the book in September of 2015.
Are you excited for Aziz Ansari’s new stand-up special and book?
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