Chris Rock is set to make history as the first comedian to perform live on Netflix. The announcement comes roughly eight months after the longtime comedian was assaulted on stage by Oscar winner Will Smith during the 94th-annual Academy Awards in Spring 2022.
Details are scarce, but according to the streaming giant’s Thursday, Nov. 11 announcement, the special is expected to air globally sometime in the early half of 2023.
In a statement, Netflix vice president of stand-up and comedy formats, Robbie Praw said, “Chris Rock is one of the most iconic and important comedic voices of our generation. We’re thrilled the entire world will be able to experience a live Chris Rock comedy event and be a part of Netflix history. This will be an unforgettable moment, and we’re so honored that Chris is carrying this torch.”
The news left social media split. Many launched off cruel remarks about him being the first person assaulted on live television, and many expressed concerns that Rock would use the moment to discuss the Oscars incident, including one critic who wrote, “So he can pander to yt [white] folks shucking and jiving and talk about the slap for 2 hours no thanks.”
The criticism echoed that of journalist and reality star Eboni K. Williams, who accused the comedian of “so clearly shucking and jiving” during an episode of her podcast “Holding Court” last October that it caused her to leave the show early. She added, “He was so clearly curtailing his bits for white claps. It was just full-on, unapologetically anti-Black.”
However, fans of the “Good Hair” star were not fond of the harsh comments left and quickly came to his defense, including one Instagram user who wrote, “it’s crazy how black people be so quick to tear another black person down. sh—t [sad] this man is really a legend in the game.”
Another pleaded, “Man give Chris Rock his flowers.” That person added, “Y’all trippin. How bout y’all support the brother! That’s what’s wrong with us now always going against each other. Be happy for dude is all I’m saying.”
A third said, “A BLACK MAN is the first comedian to perform live on Netflix! CONGRATS!!!!” before seemingly condemning the rude remarks about the actor. “Whew child, we have a lot of growing to do as a community.”
“How quick people forget the comedy specials Chris gave us when comedy specials were really special,” added a fourth. “This will be a brilliant show. Let’s support him as we always have.”
Rock previously collaborated with Netflix on the comedy special “Tamborine” in 2018. He also appeared at the streaming giant’s “Netflix Is a Joke” comedy festival earlier in 2022, appearing alongside Dave Chappelle.
The two have been on the road together for Rock’s Ego Death World Tour and have a series of comedy tour dates scheduled for venues in California in December.