Netflix will make its first foray into original comedy and documentary programming with Canadian comic Russell Peters next month, as the Internet streamer continues to fashion itself in the image of a premium cable network.
Starting Oct. 14, Peters’ 70-minute stand-up comedy performance, “Notorious,” and four-part docu-series “Russell Peters vs. the World” following the comic on tour will be available to stream in all territories where Netflix is available: the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Latin America, Scandinavia and The Netherlands.
The Internet video-subscription leader said earlier this summer that it would expand its originals strategy to encompass stand-up comedy and documentaries. Netflix is following in the footsteps of premium cablers like HBO and Showtime, which have delved into such programming for years, and will vie with others like Comedy Central in the stand-up arena. Last week, Netflix announced that Aziz Ansari (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) would release his next stand-up special, “Buried Alive,” via the Internet streaming service on Nov. 1.
“Notorious” features Peters, a 42-year-old Canadian of Anglo-Indian heritage, whose act centers on stories about his family to touch on racial, ethnic, class and cultural stereotypes. Netflix will screen the special Sept. 9 at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox theater, timed to coincide with the Toronto Intl. Film Festival but not part of the official program.
“Russell’s genius is his uncanny gift to identify the idiosyncratic within all of us,” Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s VP of originals, said in a statement. “He is prolific, fresh and a global force that will resonate with our members around the world.”
“Notorious” and “Russell Peters vs. the World” is exec produced by Peters and Clayton Peters. The comedy special was filmed live March 15 at the Allphones Arena in Sydney.
Peters’ Notorious World Tour, which included SRO appearances ranging from Gotham’s Madison Square Garden to the Sydney Opera House, sold more than 300,000 tickets globally. Netflix offers his previous stand-up performances, “Russell Peters: Red, White and Brown,” “Russell Peters: The Green Card Tour,” and “Russell Peters: Outsourced.”
“I’ve always prided myself on being outside the box and slightly ahead of the curve, which is why Netflix is the perfect fit for me,” Peters said in a prepared statement. Referring to some of his YouTube clips that have gone viral, he added that “the Web took my career to a whole other level — we both owe a lot to the Internet.”
His last special, “The Green Card Tour Live From the O2 Arena,” was recorded in London in 2010 and carried on Showtime, MTV Networks’ Comedy Central and Netflix in the U.S. and U.K.
Starting in 2008, Peters was one of the first stand-up comedians to self-finance, self-produce and distribute his own comedy specials and DVDs, starting with “Red, White and Brown.” The comic has sold more than 250,000 DVDs across North America.