So it seems former comedian Mo’nique—and I say former comedian because she’s done so little for so long now on the comedy scene that the world has forgotten about her—was in negotiations with Netflix to do a comedy special, but now she’s calling for everyone to boycott Netflix on the grounds that they’re racist and sexist. Why? Because they offered her $500K, when they offered $20M to Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock, and $11M to Amy Schumer.
I can’t even wrap my head around the multitudinous levels of stupid it takes for her to think this call for a boycott is a good idea.
Mo’nique claims the strength of her résumé demands more. She won an Oscar for her role in the movie Precious, which was not a comic role. Before that, starting in the late ’90s and through the early 2000s she was on the TV show The Parkers. (I never watched that show. It looked deeply unwatchable.) During that run she was in the Queens of Comedy. But as a comedian, she hasn’t done very much notable standup since then. She’s done some, but nowhere near as much as those other three, and she doesn’t even have nearly as many comedic movies under her belt either. Frankly her résumé isn’t even as impressive as Schumer’s, but expecting Netflix to give a rat’s keister over a body of work that peaked over 15 years ago is a bit much.
In other words, she’s not current nor generating a lot of buzz. She’s not only not in the same league as those other performers—I do not speak of relative talent, but simply of recognition—she’s about two or three steps down in the hierarchy. Can you even imagine how strong her reality filter has to be to block out this obvious fact to the point where she thinks she can compete for bids on their level? Or even just below their level? In the world of comedy she’s a has-been, and yes she won an Oscar, but be honest: how many of you even saw Precious? Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Amy Schumer are all household names, or at least all three were a year ago—we’ll get back to Amy.
So on that basis, $500K for a comedy special was a pretty darn good offer, and it would have helped Mo’nique get back on the comedy circuit in front of a much wider audience in a big way. She needed Netflix way more than they ever needed her, and they knew it. You know it too. So would she, if she had a frickin’ brain in her head.
Ah, but Netflix is racist, and sexist too! says Mo’nique. Uh… sure. Two of the comedians she compared herself to are black, so the idea that racism had a role in their lowball offer is probably a million times funnier than anything Mo’nique would have said in her special—or ten million times funnier than anything Schumer said in hers. Sexism isn’t it either because, as Amy Schumer has always gone out of her way to crudely remind us, she has a vagina. And while Netflix offered Schumer less than the two guys, and she renegotiated for more, she recognized that Chappelle and Rock were in a higher league than herself and didn’t demand $20M.
Pause to let that sink in: Amy Schumer showed more self-awareness than Mo’nique.
What a perfect segue to discuss the third reason Netflix wasn’t doling out seven figures, let alone eight, to Mo’nique: Amy Schumer’s Leather Special.
Amy Schumer is an obnoxious troll who is only genuinely funny when lifting other people’s material. I could write a whole other post on her and why she’s so horrible, but I’ll try not to digress. Before early 2015 I had never heard of her, and then suddenly, instantly, she was everywhere. Yes I know she had a show on Comedy Central before that and she’d done some other stuff, but her name was completely unknown to me until I got bombarded by commercials saying she was gonna host the MTV Movie Awards—and then after that, you couldn’t go through a single day without hearing her name on TV or online. This kind of thing only ever happens for one reason: I’m convinced her management threw every penny she had into an aggressive PR campaign. The instant I realized she was ubiquitous, I knew there was no other reason, in the exact same way Paris Hilton appeared and the spotlight couldn’t shake her for years and years even though everyone wanted her to go away.
But after Train Wreck and at the height of her career, Amy Schumer was riding high and obviously Netflix wanted a piece of that. So they paid her a buttload of money—not Chappelle money, but even Schumer admitted she was no Chappelle. And then a few things happened: More and more stories came out, not that they hadn’t in the past, that she’d been stealing material from other comedians. And entirely apart from that, the Leather Special she did for Netflix was more deserving of the title Train Wreck than her movie. Schumer’s stanky-crotch jokes stunk up the small screen so badly, Netflix changed their rating system from the superior star system to thumbs-up-or-down. Her career has been in decline since, and good riddance.
Fast-forward about half a year to late 2017, early 2018. Netflix is undoubtedly jittery about throwing huge amounts of cash at specials now, and have to be a lot more careful about how they determine to what extent a performer or show will help drive subscriptions. Amy had the hype machine in her favor, and turned out a special so bad it alienated people who admitted to being enthusiastic fans. Mo’nique, being out of serious standup for most of a decade and a half (at least let’s say she was nowhere near as familiar as about a few hundred other comedians), coming from a much lower fame tier than any of the other comedians she named, thinks she’s entitled to anything within spitting distance of Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Amy Schumer.
And you know what? This isn’t even the first time Mo’nique has gone off the rails. A couple years back she was on a tear about how director Lee Daniels supposedly “blackballed” her after she failed to mention him in her Oscars speech, and during an Apollo show she did just this past year she went on a tirade against him, and also against Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry for apparently similar reasons.
Mo’nique is convinced the entertainment world is out to get her. And they must be, because clearly she should be every bit as famous as Dave Chappelle by now, right? It couldn’t have anything to do with level of talent, the amount of hustle shown on the standup circuit, number of comedic roles in huge movies, or anything like that. And there’s obviously no way people would want to avoid working with her on the basis of being a prima donna, because gosh, she couldn’t possibly be that. I mean she had a TV show once on UPN and was one of the Queens of Comedy when most millennials were in diapers, so that means she gets to be ultra-famous in the comedy world forever! She won an Oscar for something totally unrelated to comedy and that absolutely means she should get more money for doing comedy.
Or, she’s an entitled twit who either missed some breaks or didn’t pursue them enough. And now when a good break with an objectively generous paycheck attached stares her in the face, she thinks it’s not good enough. She’d rather bite the hand that would have fed her by calling it racist and sexist, even though it’s demonstrably neither of those things.
Great call, Mo’nique. I’m sure nobody will ever get tired of that attitude. I bet they’ll give you a great offer now, too; you just wait by that phone.