Thanks especially to Netflix, there has been a glut of standup comedy specials with top-tier talent in recent years. But those comedians have to compete for the Emmys against variety specials like Happiness Continues: A Jonas Brothers Concert Film, A Parks and Recreation Special, John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch, Homefest: James Corden’s Late Late Show Special, Conan Without Borders: Ghana, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest and The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show. "In some ways, the constant evolution in categorizing specials makes sense, as TV tastes frequently change," says Michael Schneider. "Right now, TV appears to be in another golden age of stand-up comedy. These specials are nothing new to the small screen, but comics have rarely received much attention at the Emmys. Prior to (Dave) Chappelle’s win in 2018 (for Equanimity), the last time a stand-up comedy won the variety special Emmy was 1997’s Chris Rock: Bring the Pain. But now, as the streamers have made comedy specials a quick way to populate their libraries with top-tier talent, stand-up is everywhere. And that’s why, perhaps, it’s time to split the variety specials again, and carve out a new spot."
TOPICS: Dave Chappelle, Netflix, Hannah Gadsby, Emmys, Standup Comedy