Anti-woke comedy wins as Matt Rife, Tom Segura, and Shane Gillis specials dominate Netflix viewership

News & Politics

The biggest comedy specials on Netflix are predominantly from the most politically incorrect comedians, according to recent numbers released by the platform.

Comedians Matt Rife, Tom Segura, and Shane Gillis had the biggest streaming numbers for stand-up comedy specials on Netflix in the latter half of 2023, capitalizing on what most feel like is a return to uncensored comedy.

Rife has been particularly successful after “Matt Rife: Natural Selection” dominated streaming with a total of 13.5 millions hours watched on Netflix. Variety reported the special garnered over 10 million views in its first few weeks. It also reached the Netflix top 10 in 42 countries.

This parlayed into two more comedy specials on the platform for Rife, and according to Deadline, he is in the development stage for a sitcom with Netflix.

Rife had previously faced cancelation attempts for making a joke about a Baltimore waitress with a black eye. After the media’s attempt to re-educate him, Rife posted an image from his stand-up special on his social media page with the caption, “If you’ve ever been offended by a joke I’ve told — here’s a link to my official apology.”

The link read, “Tap to solve your issue.” Anyone who clicked was sent to a website selling “special needs helmets.”

‘It seems to me that there’s always been policing of comedy, of there being … guardrails.’

Second on Netflix’s stand-up viewership was Segura’s “Sledgehammer,” which was watched for 12.2 million hours.

Not only has Segura had a slew of successful specials and two top-50 comedy podcasts, he has also managed to take unique ideas on the road. Along with athletes and fellow comedians, Segura recently hosted a “Punt, Pass, and Kick” event that blurred the lines between comedy and live entertainment.

The comic successfully capitalized on Super Bowl week in Las Vegas by holding the football-themed event. He also did promotions with MGM, hosted a blackjack tournament, and performed a stand-up show.

While Segura is rarely seen as offensive, he certainly does not play by the rules. His circle of friends that include Bert Kreischer, Joe Rogan, and more, also do not appeal to woke audiences

The same cannot be said for the third-highest ranking special on Netflix, Gillis’ “Beautiful Dogs.”

The words “retarded,” “gay,” and impressions of Donald Trump all make it into Gillis’ typical shows, and that included his appearance as the host of “Saturday Night Live” in February 2024.

Gillis explained that he chose to hide some of his choice words from his rehearsal but added that “the right people” knew what he was going to say. The earth-shattering appearance landed him a new special on Netflix, along with the platform picking up his show “Tires,” which debuted in May 2024.

Rounding out the top-viewed comedy specials was a surprising entry called “Where Was I” from former Comedy Central host Trevor Noah. It had 6.3 million hours watched.

Not so surprising, however, was Ricky Gervais’ “Armageddon” and Dave Chappelle’s “The Dreamer.”

The numbers for those two were actually shocking given Gervais’ special came out Christmas Day 2023 and Chappelle’s a few days later on New Year’s Eve. The specials garnered 8.4 million and 2.1 million hours watched, respectively, before 2023 ended.

Gervais, who has always been against political correctness, recently said he felt like the left wing has positioned themselves as the arbiter of comedy.

“It seems to me that there’s always been policing of comedy, of there being … guardrails,” he told Fox News. “I think the difference is that it used to feel like it was the Right that was policing it. It feels like it’s the Left that’s doing it now, and it’s allowed the Right to become the arbiters of free speech. Which does feel like quite a significant shift.”

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