Oh, how you spoil us, the internet. Watching a comedian’s latest show used to involve waiting for one of about eight comics to release a VHS/DVD or, gulp, leaving the house. Today, we hold the whip hand. Such is our desire to sit around watching standup in our pyjamas, streaming services can’t get them out fast enough. Netflix is our most deep-pocketed and reliable dealer, pumping out no less than 45 original shows in 2019, up from one in 2012. But there are other providers, notably Amazon Prime Video, iPlayer, and smaller outfits such as NextUp and Go Faster Stripe, which do a fine job of mopping up lesser-known comics and hidden gems. To the bean-counters at Netflix et al, the appeal of these “specials” is obvious: they are cheap to make compared with sitcoms and films, but they still attract a lot of eyeballs. And to the ambitious comic, it can mean the difference between national and international success. This has led to little outbreaks of creativity here and there, as comedians embrace the format’s increasing dominance. Maria Bamford’s decision to record her show The Special Special Special! in a living room, in front of an audience of just… Read full this story
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