Chris Rock is returning to stand-up comedy with a lucrative deal from Netflix.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter the actor is earning a historic $40 million for two comedy specials. Reportedly, earning $20 million for each special places Rock ahead of comedic heavyweights like Jerry Seinfeld and Louis C.K.
Once taping begins on Rock’s first special in 2017, it will mark an end to his eight-year stand-up hiatus. Netflix has not announced an air date for the first special. It is also unknown when the second one will begin production. However, a world comedy tour – currently in the works – will wrap before 2017.
“Chris Rock is a beloved actor and director, and his remarkable stand-up makes him comic royalty,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer said in a statement. “There is no one like him, and Netflix offers the global platform and creative freedom that will serve as a perfect home for someone with his incredible talent.”
According to Variety, Netflix outbid HBO, Amazon and Hulu for the currently untitled specials. It marked a turning point in Rock’s career. The comedian had a lengthy history with HBO, beginning with 1994’s Big A– Jokes, through his Amy Schumer-directed comedy special last year.
Now, Rock joins a slew of other comedians who nabbed comedy specials with Netflix, including Cedric the Entertainer, Chris Tucker, Aziz Ansari and Patton Oswalt, among others.
“Increasingly, Netflix is becoming the preeminent destination for stand-up comedy, partnering with top-tier talent across a wide variety of styles and humor,” Netflix’s vice president of original documentary and comedy Lisa Nishimura said.
Noting Oswalt’s Emmy victory she added, “Coming on the heels of our first Emmy win in the category, now is the perfect time to take things to the next level with Chris Rock.”
“I’m very excited to be working with Ted and Lisa and all the good people at Netflix. I can’t wait to get back on stage,” Rock said of the deal.