There’s funny and then there’s Chris Rock, one of the heavyweights of stand-up; a man so hilarious he’s won four Grammys and Emmys.
Having starred in cult classics like CB4 and New Jack City, spent three years on the legendary Saturday Night Live and repeatedly stolen the show with his performances in films such as Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Madagascar, Rock is truly established as an A-list Hollywood star sith his TV specials and comedy albums elevating him to the status of comedy royalty, particularly with the outstanding quality of Bigger & Blacker, Never Scared and Kill the Messenger.
Growing into his role as one of the elder statesmen of entertainment, Rock remains busy as ever, producing the new talk-show TV series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, reprising his role as Marty in Madagascar 3, and starring alongside Julie Delpy in the French actress-cum-director’s well-received new film, 2 Days in New York.
Catching up with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air, Rock discusses his latest projects, opens up about fatherhood and family life, and touches on the difficulties of being funny as a wealthy man.
Speaking about life as a working father, Rock says:
“I’m fortunate. I grew up, two parents, my dad was really into it, so just by osmosis, I’m just really into it. I never really looked at it as a chore or whatever. When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they’re crazy, because ‘sacrifice’ infers that there was something better to do than being with your children. And I’ve never been with my kids and gone, ‘Man, I wish I was on my stage right now.’ I’ve never been with my kids and gone, ‘Man, it’d be so great if I was on a movie set right now.’ But I’ve been doing a movie and wished that I was with my kids, I’ve been on tour and wished that I was with my kids. Being with my kids is the best, most fun thing, it’s a privilege. It’s not something I call a sacrifice.”
Opening up about advice from his grandfather, the comedian recounts:
“I used to hang out with grandfather all the time because he used to pick me up from school sometimes, or drive me to my mother’s, so I’d be with my grandfather a lot. I used to watch him write his sermons. He writes his sermons pretty much the same way I write my act — he would never write the exact sermon, he would always write the bullet points, whatever would hit him, and he’d write it while he was driving. And I probably come up with half of my stand-up when I’m driving. So I learned a lot from my granddad.”
Hysterical as always, Rock tickles at the funny bone while holding no punches. He lifts the lid on what makes him take, touching on all manner of subjects. He’s a great interview.