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Last year’s best special (Vulture ranked Kyle Kinane’s Comedy Central hour No.

1) didn’t come out on Netflix, and neither did 2015’s (Tig Notaro’s HBO hour took the top spot).

“NETFLIX IS A JOKE” reads a billboard by our offices in lower Manhattan.

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Hiring away Robbie Praw, the former longtime booker for Montreal Just for Laughs, the most reputable comedy festival in North America, helped Netflix earn the trust of some undoubtedly huge names — specifically, comedians many people thought would never release specials again — to do just that. K., Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Bill Burr, Jim Gaffigan, Sarah Silverman — .

However, what about Joe Mande, Ryan Hamilton, Lynne Koplitz, and the Lucas Brothers?

The industry was only just starting to think about the viability of self-releasing stand-up specials — Louis C. did it in late 2011, and Aziz Ansari and Joe Rogan followed in 2012.

If you listened to podcasts around then, you could hear a lot of other comedians considering it.

This, obviously, was a setup, I had the answer all along: The thing that defines a Netflix special is money.

Money used to define how Netflix specials looked: like they had a production budget previously only offered to the biggest comedians.Last night, during the Emmys broadcast, Netflix debuted a pretty clever commercial to go along with the slogan.The campaign isn’t really a promotion as much as a brag.Conventional wisdom was, unless you’re Chris Rock (and to a lesser extent Jim Gaffigan), specials were mostly just a notch on a belt that would lead to other things, like more club bookings. Rock already had and supporting roles in a couple failed sitcoms.Netflix, in a relatively short time, has had some undeniable breakouts though, like Bill Burr and John Mulaney. After her Netflix special, she went from having a hard time selling out a string of club dates to likely being able to sell out arenas.All fine comics, but none are at a point where you can say Netflix specials are only for the biggest names in comedy.

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