Television comedy specials are big business these days, worth an estimated $40 million-$50 million a year. Just ask Brian Volk-Weiss, senior veep of talent management and head of production for New Wave Entertainment. With more than 30 TV comedy specs produced in 2012, NWE is outstripping Showtime and Comedy Central in creating and developing laff specials, projecting to make as many as 50 next year.
“In the past, if you couldn’t get on Comedy Central or HBO or a couple of other places, you couldn’t get on TV, but now there are so many comedians with huge followings because of YouTube and Twitter,” Volk-Weiss says. Recent productions include “D.L. Hughley: Reset,” “Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe,” “Tom Papa: Live in New York City” and “Nick DiPaolo: Raw Nerve.”
With its close association to comedians, NWE’s talent division reps not only standup perfomers but also showrunners, writers and producers from some of the top talkshows. But Volk-Weiss says it’s the company’s hands-on approach, rather than simply its roster, that makes NWE the leader in standup specials.
“That’s our special sauce,” he says. “It’s our job to make sure they are comfortable and everything is right before they get onstage.”