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业内人士:Netflix捧单口喜剧演员不过是借明星人气发横财

Anita Bennett 2018年08月07日

有人指出,Netflix对演员今后发展并不关心,只想趁热大赚一笔。

从左至右分别为美国知名单口喜剧演员黄阿丽、加布里埃尔·伊格莱西亚斯、克里斯·洛克、戴夫·查普尔和艾米·舒默。From Left: Frederick M. Brown—Getty Images; Roy Rochlin—FilmMagic; Chelsea Lauren—WWD/REX/Shutterstock; Cindy Ord—WireImage; Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Chesnot/Getty Images

7月初在洛杉矶的喜剧俱乐部“笑声工厂”,蒂凡尼·哈迪斯又说起了男女那些事,省钱攻略,还有穿之前走红毯的旧“战袍”,说得很嗨。

这位凭借出演《嗨翻姐妹行》(Girls Trip)一片爆红的女星不无嘲讽地吐槽道:“我身上穿的都是可回收的。苦啊。每分钱都靠省。我穷太久了,根本没钱买新衣服,只能反复穿。”

哈迪斯从14岁就开始在笑声工厂的儿童夏令营表演单口喜剧,最近和流媒体视频服务商Netflix签约,也许下次参加奖项表演时能多点钱置办新行头。毕竟,现在无论问哪位喜剧明星,他们都会说观众全去Netflix看脱口秀。

登台表演以前,哈迪斯说:“我的合约是做动漫片,跟一般的单口喜剧合约很不一样。”但最终结果应该是一样的,就是好莱坞大公司开出的可观报酬。“Netflix是做喜剧的新门路,是曝光的新方式。”哈迪斯这样认为。

但笑声工厂的老板杰米·马萨达对Netflix招徕喜剧人才有不同的看法。马萨达指出,只要发现喜剧演员在YouTube、推特、Instagram和Facebook等社交媒体上累积庞大的粉丝,数字巨头Netflix就迅速签约招入麾下,有点像饥不择食的秃鹫。马萨达称,Netflix对演员今后发展并不关心,只想趁热大赚一笔,很容易判断,因为Netflix根本不搭理没粉丝的喜剧演员。

马萨达称:“Netflix不是因为喜欢喜剧而进军该领域。”他表示,Netflix经常派星探到笑声工厂,看表演是次要的,主要目的是挖人。他解释说:“这是Netflix社交媒体营销的一部分,能帮他们赚很多钱。”

马萨达说他跟Netflix的首席内容官泰德·萨兰多斯聊过,萨兰多斯负责挖掘在社交媒体上活跃的喜剧表演者。“他明确告诉我想找粉丝多的喜剧演员,”马萨达说,“只要挖去Netflix,粉丝就会跟着过去。”

《财富》杂志记者曾多次请求就有关报道置评,Netflix均未回应。

至少从现状判断,马萨达说得不无道理。举例来说,哈迪斯在Facebook、Instagram和推特的粉丝达到430万。将搭档哈迪斯在Netflix表演动画脱口秀的黄阿丽在社交媒体上拥有约120万粉丝。

今年5月,黄阿丽首次与Netflix合作推出单口喜剧。最近,她出席了好莱坞举办的一场叫“Netflix是个笑话”的活动,表示和Netflix签约改变了职业发展。

她说:“在我的家乡旧金山,票卖得很好。而在以前门票不可能售罄的地方,如今在Live Nation上30秒钟就一售而空。”

1979年向朋友借了1万美元成立笑声工厂以来,马萨达目睹过无数喜剧演员在日落大道上著名的俱乐部里磨炼脱口秀技术。除了哈迪斯和黄阿丽,像凯文·哈特、德翁·科尔、克里斯·德埃利亚、甚至戴夫·查普尔等等在好莱坞闯出声名的喜剧明星也会抽空在这里表演。

马萨达说,他专门投入时间帮助喜剧演员磨练演技,也目睹了一些演员发家致富,不少是因为和Netflix合作。据公开报道,Netflix分别同杰瑞·史菲德和查普尔签下了价值1亿美元和6000万美元的合约。克里斯·洛克、艾米·舒默、加布里埃尔·伊格莱西亚斯等多位演员也都和Netflix签了报酬优厚的合约。

虽然马萨达有各种担忧,但伊格莱西亚斯认为,Netflix绝对是触达全球观众的最佳方式。

拜伦·艾伦制作的一期喜剧游戏节目《Funny You Should Ask》曾在加州库维市采访伊格莱西亚斯,他当时表示:“Netflix就是最大的媒体平台,没有之一。他们掌控着喜剧市场。”

伊格莱西亚斯曾出演美国广播公司(ABC)拍摄的情景喜剧《笑对人生》(Cristela)和电影《魔力麦克2》(Magic Mike XXL),今年9月还将在Netflix推出个人节目。他说自己主动抓住了与Netflix合作的机会。

“以前我的节目都在喜剧频道Comedy Central播出,但一有机会我就赶紧跟Netflix合作,这是与时俱进。Netflix掌握各种渠道,什么都能推广,作者能充分享受创作自由。”他这样回忆。

但让一家公司掌握喜剧资源并不一定对所有人都好。

马萨达指出:“告诉你,(笑声工厂)这里还有20名喜剧演员,他们的表演质量都很高,但在社交媒体上没有什么粉丝。Netflix给他们机会做节目么?不会。”

马萨达提到,虽然一些喜剧演员没机会跟Netflix签约,好在还能通过互联网方便地找到观众。

他还说,现在喜剧演员已经不需要签经纪公司或经纪人,就能获得稳定的报酬。

马萨达称:“我这以前有一个喜剧演员,因为有庞大的社交媒体粉丝,他炒了自己的经理人和经纪。他在个人网站上宣布:‘如果有谁想看我的演出,请打电话联系我。’他就这样不断接活。有一次他去一个地方表演,观众达到1.2万人。”这是实实在在的数字,可不是儿戏。(财富中文网)

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

Riffing about taking a sabbatical from sex, being thrifty and re-wearing the same red carpet gowns, Tiffany Haddish was on fire early July at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.

“All my sh– is recycled. F–k that. I save all my dollars,” quipped the Girls Tripstar. “I been broke too motherfu–ing long to be wasting money on fabrics that I can reuse.”

But after recently inking a deal with Netflix, the comedian, who started doing stand-up at age 14 in the Laugh Factory’s summer kids comedy camp, might be able to splurge on some new threads for her next award show appearance. After all, ask just about any comedian, and they’ll tell you Netflix has become the go-to place to watch stand-up comedy on television.

“My deal is to do a cartoon, so it’s very different from what the average stand-up comic’s deal might be,” said Haddish before taking the stage. But the end result—a good paycheck from a Hollywood powerhouse—is all the same. “Netflix is a new lane for comics and a way to get exposure,” she said.

But Jamie Masada, the Laugh Factory’s owner, has a different perspective on Netflix’s growing library of stand-up comedy specials. Seeing the digital giant as a bit of a comedy vulture—essentially swooping in to sign comics after they’ve built huge followings on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook—Masada said Netflix is more about making big bucks than boosting careers, because it ignores comedians who lack social media followings.

“Netflix just didn’t decide ‘oh I’m going to give a break to comics because we like comics,’” said Masada who claims Netflix frequently sends talent scouts to his club, though they’re looking for more than just laughs. “It’s their social media part of it,” he said. “It brings in millions and millions of dollars to Netflix.”

According to Masada, who said he’s met with Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, the directive to pursue comedians who are active on social media comes from the top. “He told me he wants to get comedians with good followings,” Masada said. “He would put them on Netflix and their followers would come.”

Netflix did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story.

Circumstantially, at least, there’s some merit to Masada’s claim. For example, Haddish reaches 4.3 million followers between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Ali Wong, who will be Haddish’s co-star on Netflix’s animated show, connects with around 1.2 million fans via social.

At a recent promotional event in Hollywood called Netflix Is a Joke, Wong, who had her Netflix stand-up special premiere in May, noted that inking a deal with the streaming giant changed the trajectory of her career.

“The ticket sales went up in my hometown San Francisco, and literally at the same place where I couldn’t sell out all the tickets, they sold out within 30 seconds on Live Nation,” she said.

Masada has watched countless comics perfect their stand-up routines at the Laugh Factory since founding the iconic Sunset Strip club in 1979 with a $10,000 loan from a friend. In addition to Haddish and Wong, comics like Kevin Hart, Deon Cole, Chris D’Elia, and even Dave Chappelle caught breaks here.

Masada said he’s put in the time to help comedians hone their skills. He’s also seen some get rich—many from Netflix. According to published reports, Netflix signed Jerry Seinfeld and Chappelle to massive deals worth $100 million and $60 million respectively. Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Gabriel Iglesias and many others have also inked lucrative agreements with the company.

Despite Masada’s concerns, Iglesias believes Netflix is the absolute best way to reach a global audience.

“Netflix is the biggest media outlet out there, period. They took over the comedy game,” Iglesias said during an interview in Culver City, Calif., on the set of Byron Allen’s Funny You Should Ask.

Iglesias has had roles in the ABC sitcom Cristela and the film Magic Mike XXL, and will be taping his upcoming Netflix special in September. He said he jumped at the chance to partner with the streaming company.

“All my specials used to air on Comedy Central, and once I had the opportunity to go Netflix, that was the way to go,” he said. “They get it in every which way. They promote everything. They give you creative freedom.”

But this much power resting in one company’s hands isn’t good for everyone.

“I could show you another 20 comedians who are here. You’d die from how funny they are,” said Masada. “But they don’t have the followers on social media. Does Netflix give them a special? No.”

Still, for stand-up comics not lucky enough to land a Netflix deal, Masada says thanks to the internet, it’s easier than ever to find an audience.

In fact, it’s no longer necessary for comedians to have a booking agent or manager to get paying gigs, he adds.

“I had a comedian, he fired his manager and agent because he had a good following on social media,” Masada said. “He put on his website ‘If anybody wants to book me, please call me,’ and he got bookings. One place he went, he brought in 12,000 people to his show.” Those kinds of numbers, they’re no joke.

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