Chris Dave, a hot new comic known for his astute takes on relationships and intricate storytelling ability, just released a new Netflix-exclusive special that has set the comedy world ablaze. Challenging the long-held norms of stand-up, Dave's special--simply titled Chris--has no audience, no stage and no jokes.
"I wanted to do something no comic had ever done before. Something fresh," Dave said of his new special in an interview with The Guffaw, "I think a lot of comics get hung up on what's 'funny,' or what's going to make an audience laugh. But when you put those issues to the side, you get something really interesting and rewarding as an artist."
Set in an empty, dimly lit room, Dave discusses topics as complex and pressing as white privilege, the #MeToo movement and the current political climate without any deftness or humor. Critics are loving it.
Ben Brunke of the New York Times writes, "I hate to laugh, and this special really delivered. Not even a single smirk!"
Arnold Abraham of The Refined Hooligan raved about the special: "Comedy shouldn't be funny, it should be vulnerable and painful to watch."
In one segment, Dave discusses his abandonment issues over grainy home video clips from his childhood. Viewers at home may feel that they're invading Dave's personal life, but that's just what he intended.
"I stopped going to therapy for a few months before filming this," Dave said. "I wanted to really get out there and expose all of my demons, because that's what comedy is now."
Dave cited his two main comedic influences as Spalding Gray and Nanette (When asked if he was referring to Hannah Gadsby, the comic behind the special "Nanette," he did not respond).
"Chris" proves that Netflix's new walk-in policy for getting a stand-up special is working. It is the 437th special the streaming service released this year, and with Chris Dave now in their arsenal, Netflix is successfully carving a name for themselves in the comedy scene.