Netflix is opening up another front in its ongoing battle with HBO: comedy. The New York Times reports that Parks and Recreation star Aziz Ansari’s upcoming special Buried Alive will debut on Netflix on November 1st, making it the highest profile stand-up special on the service to date. And while this isn’t Netflix’s first foray into comedy (it has aired specials from notable comedians like John Hodgman and Marc Maron), Buried Alive is the first to get big-time promotion on par with original programming like House of Cards, writes the Times.
Last month, Netflix told investors that the company would soon be expanding its original content initiative into feature documentaries and stand-up comedy specials. The company said that it "has become a big destination for fans of these much loved and often under-distributed genres."
'Buried Alive' will also be available as a $5 download, but only after the Netflix premiere
While Ansari has experimented with selling comedy specials direct to viewers through his website, he tells the Times that Netflix is a better fit. The company "seems like it’s the closest delivery service of media we have that actually matches up to our preferences and expectations," he said. Just like his last special, Dangerously Delicious, Buried Alive will also be available as a $5 download, but only after the Netflix premiere.
It's true that the special was already filmed and edited before Netflix got on board, so perhaps the comparisons to truly original shows like Orange is the New Black are a little shortsighted. But it's an important first step toward the company's ultimate goal of dethroning the reigning king of standup specials, HBO.