As he prepares for the release of his newest film, TOP FIVE, Comedian/Actor/Director CHRIS ROCK covers the new issue of NEW YORK MAGAZINE!!!
Here are some interview highlights:
We’ve just come through an election that was a triumph for Fox News and a fiasco for Obama. What do you make of it?
Jon Stewart has said the reason Fox News works better than CNN is because the people at Fox News figured out how to make themselves into victims.
So will it now be harder for Republicans to
They have no problem playing victims.
Even in victory?
Even in victory. America — not black America, but America as a whole —
They always seem to want a Bush or a Clinton.
Maybe they just want a Bush. Maybe they want no
What is the worst audience you’ve ever played to?
I had a really bad show in Biloxi, Mississippi. That sounds so cliché. Last tour, Obama was running, and I was doing all my stuff, and it was hostile.
Was the audience black, white, mixed?
Probably more white than black. A few thousand seats. Playing a casino.
Always a problem, I suppose.
Especially on a Friday night. Friday-night second show’s the worst because they’ve been drinking since they got off work. We definitely were like, “Wow. Let’s drive to another town. We should not sleep here.”
You’ve always been incredibly respectful and a fan of great comedians ahead of you. Have any ever been disdainful of you?
I mean, maybe Cosby early on, but he turned pretty quick. Other than that, nobody.
What do you make of what’s happening to Cosby now?
I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan, and we kind of lost Cosby.
Before Obama arrived, you were saying that there’d been Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and then black leaders in America became like substitute teachers.
I mean, you got to realize, there’s not a need for it the way there was. Back then, we needed that guy for our day-to-day existence. Now you only feel the need in special cases. So, okay, Ferguson goes down. You’re like, Oh, it’d be great if we had a guy.
When Al Sharpton goes down to Ferguson, it feels like a media ritual rather than an actual civil-rights action.
It’s a revival, where King was doing an original play. It’s a good part. The lead is open.
No, it’s not. It’s all in the cut.
What would you do in Ferguson that a standard reporter wouldn’t?
I’d do a special on race, but I’d have no black people.
Well, that would be much more revealing.
Yes, that would be an event. Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.
Right. It’s ridiculous.
So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.
It’s about white people adjusting to a new reality?
Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.