Chris Rock’s Netflix Special Just Made History

Chris Rock's Netflix special Selective Outrage is now the most-streamed comedy special in a given week.

By TeeJay Small | Updated

chris rock netflix

After a highly tumultuous year preparing to take his latest rants to streaming, Chris Rock’s Netflix special Selective Outrage just broke the all-time record for the most-streamed comedy special in a given week, according to a report from Deadline. Nielsen ratings, which have tracked streaming content since 2017, reveal the Chris Rock comedy performance brought in over 798 million viewing minutes in a single week with the special. The standup special has dethroned Dave Chappelle‘s 2019 stand-up comedy special Sticks and Stones, which previously held the title at 573 million viewing minutes on the streamer.

After being slapped across the face by Will Smith at last year’s Oscars, many fans around the world were patiently awaiting Chris Rock’s next Netflix special, anticipating the event to act as an unholy retribution taking Will Smith down a peg. While Will Smith apologized for his behavior months after the incident, Rock remained cagey and dismissive when asked about the question in public, at one point even specifying that he didn’t wish to discuss the incident without being paid.

The incident in question occurred, as Chris Rock states in his Netflix special, after the comedian made the now infamous joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, stating that her status as a bald woman should qualify her for the titular role in a G.I. Jane film. While many fans can agree that the joke was a bit tasteless, attacking the woman for her looks as she sat with her family in the front row, most people agree that the joke was fairly bland, and certainly not worthy of the response it received. Will Smith approached the stage like a character straight out of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and released an incredibly powerful act of physical assault upon the comedian for all the world to see.

As a result, Smith was banned from returning to the Academy Awards for ten years and reportedly lost a number of upcoming projects to which he had previously been attached. Nearly a year after the incident, it was reported that Chris Rock would finally speak on the slap publicly during the first-ever live-streamed Netflix stand-up comedy special. On March 4th, the special arrived, with Chris Rock lampooning Will and Jada as well as a number of other recent controversies.

These massive Nielsen numbers likely stem from a number of factors. For one thing, Chris Rock is one of the greatest active stand-up comedians, frequently mentioned among the greats such as George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, and Richard Pryor, so he was bound to draw a crowd no matter what. Additionally, the live-streamed event being the first of its kind for Netflix likely caused a wider audience to tune in, as the experience would mirror that of attending the actual performance.

Of course, it’s impossible to discuss Selective Outrage without acknowledging the impact that the Oscars slap had on the performance, as people around the world were clamoring to see Chris Rock utilize his platform on Netflix to take revenge. With the performance doing so well in the Nielsen ratings, perhaps this will become a format the streamer uses more frequently. As for Rock, it seems as though he can finally return to business as usual and leave the slap in the past, though it may continue to haunt Will Smith until 2032, when he is allowed back to the Academy Awards.