A little more than a week after hosting the first post-election Saturday Night Live, Dave Chappelle is gearing up for an even bigger return to television. According to Variety, Netflix has announced that the comedian has inked a deal for three standup comedy specials to air on the streaming network. The projects represent the first TV specials Chappelle has done in 12 years, and promises a return to form for one of the medium’s most influential acts.
“Dave Chappelle is a legendary voice in comedy — searing, vital, and now more than ever, essential,” said Netflix VP of original documentary and comedy Lisa Nishimura in an official statement. “Dave’s three new specials promise to be some of the most anticipated events in comedy.”
Chappelle and Netflix will work together to produce an original special, though there’s no premiere date set for that project. Two unreleased specials from his vault will see release next year on the same date, but that date hasn’t been confirmed.
This is obviously a big deal for Chappelle and his fans. The last special he did, Dave Chappelle: For What It’s Worth, saw release on Showtime back in 2004, a year before he famously left Comedy Central and his critically acclaimed sketch comedy series. Since then, he has made sporadic appearances on TV and film, including a small role in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq.
Of course, this deal represents a coup for Netflix as it continues to fill out its standup library. The platform also inked a $40 million deal with Chris Rock last month for two new specials. Taken together, these projects make Netflix an even more serious competitor with HBO, which remains the standard for comedians looking to cement their status.