Netflix Lavishes Controversial (and Marginally Funny?) Comedian Shane Gillis With New Series, Comedy Special, Other Trinkets

 Comedian Shane Gillis.
Comedian Shane Gillis.
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Netflix, which has become well known for boldly supporting comedians skirting culture-war mores, is doubling down on another one, Joe Rogan podcast regular Shane Gillis.

The streaming giant is not only giving Gillis another comedy special -- a follow-up to September's Beautiful Dogs -- but also letting him adapt his YouTube scripted comedy pilot into a series, Tires,  six-episodes of which will debut on Netflix on May 23.

Gillis will co-star in the series, situated in a family-owned auto repair shop, as well as executive produce and write for it. Here's the YouTube pilot:

But that's still not all: Netflix is letting Gillis perform at two live shows at the 2024 Netflix is a Joke Fest in Los Angeles: May 4 at the Greek Theater and May 8 at the Kia Forum.

Certainly, the somewhat controversial Gillis does seem to be having a moment. Over the weekend, he triumphantly returned to host the comedy series that fired him several years ago, Saturday Night Live.

And in its press release Monday, Netflix noted that Beautiful Dogs "reached the Netflix Top 10 in five countries and spent two weeks in the U.S. Top 10 list."

Still, Netflix's bounty for the 36-year-old Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania native -- who, by a consensus of reviews, bombed his SNL monologue Saturday -- seems a little ... outsized.

Debuting Sept. 5, Beautiful Dogs generated 2.6 million viewing hours of engagement and 2.9 million views. That was far below the audience performances of recent comedy specials for other cancel-culture combatants.

For example, Ricky Gervais' Armageddon debuted over Christmas week, finishing No. 1 among all Netflix TV shows with 8.4 million hours of viewer engagement and 8 million views.

A week later, Dave Chappelle's Dreamer generated 10.2 million hours of streaming globally and 9.7 million views.

Indeed, Gillis' appeal seems to be somewhat specific. But for Netflix, perhaps aligning itself with the young comic might also yield benefits of brand diversification amid a polarized market (i.e. the streamer can avoid some of that "go woke go broke" gibberish from MAGA folks on Twitter every time a movie or TV shows bombs).

Whether you find him funny or not (and sorry, he's just not), Gillis seems to be, at least business-wise, in the right place at the right time -- not too extreme right to host SNL, but just anti-woke enough for Kid Rock fans.

For example, he recently signed on as a celebrity representative for Bud Light, which is still trying to recover from the far right's very visceral, very strange reaction to a previous spokesperson hire, transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.