Actress and comedian Jenny Slate is adding a Netflix comedy special to her already lengthy resume (Big Mouth, Parks And Rec, Obvious Child), releasing Stage Fright on October 22. But it doesn’t sound like a typical stand-up special. From the streaming behemoth’s press release, Slate will cut her set with “personal clips from her childhood and interviews with her family in an intimate look at her life,” teasing nostalgic personal exploration on a level beyond telling jokes into a mic.
The onslaught of streaming has doubtlessly broken the amber around the hour-long “special” as it existed for decades. In doing this, we’ve seen plenty of new faces and/or regular new material from established ones surface on Netflix, HBO, Comedy Central, Amazon, and even Epix. Your opinion on the goodness of this specific development may vary (though I’d argue until hoarse that more comedy from more sources is always a good thing). What the onslaught hasn’t brought, however, is a trend where performers consistently push the bounds of what a special can be, though, there have certainly been stylistic standouts (pre-dating streaming, but more recently, Ray Romano’s Right Here, Around The Corner, Jerry Seinfeld’s Jerry Before Seinfeld, the Q&A that followed Dave Chappelle’s latest special, Sticks & Stones, etc) that have (lightly) nudged things in interesting ways.
To what degree Slate utilizes the format as a storytelling device remains to be seen, but for now, it sounds like a deeply personal creation from a wildly talented performer that, at minimum, is poised to push those pre-ordained stand-up special boundaries a little and join the above-mentioned ranks with something that qualifies as unique.
Once again, Stage Fright debuts on Netflix on October 22.