Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Chris Rock

Go To

"Comedy is the blues for people who can't sing."

Christopher Julius "Chris" Rock III (born February 7, 1965) is a stand-up comedian, actor and producer. He is generally considered to be the successor to Richard Pryor as the most prominent black comedic actor and comedian.

He got his break on Saturday Night Live in 1990 and left in 1993 (in protest over the lack of good roles on the show, though he had a memorable recurring character [militant black talk show host Nat X] and did do his share of celebrity impressions, like Arsenio Hall, Flava Flav, MC Hammer, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael Jackson, Luther Campbell, and porn star Long Dong Silver) and became a frequent guest star (not a cast member, as some sources will tell you) on In Living Color! during its lackluster final season as his character Cheap Pete from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

Rock really broke into the mainstream with his second HBO stand-up special Bring the Pain in 1996, in particular with his controversial routine therein assessing the state of black America: "Black People vs. Niggas". This led to the successful late night comedy talk show The Chris Rock Show, which aired on HBO from 1997-2000. Several more acclaimed stand-up tours have followed, as have numerous film roles in both live-action and animation (Madagascar, Osmosis Jones, Fargo) and a sitcom based on his childhood. He also wrote the story for, executive produced, and starred in Spiral, the ninth entry in the Saw series.


Tropes associated with Chris Rock:

  • Angry Black Man: He seems to be this in his early stand up years but has changed. He has played a Malcolm Xerox character on SNL named Nat X who had his own militant talk show (The Dark Side with Nat X). In Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back he played a Malcolm Xerox film director.
  • The Atoner: He claims that after his divorce in Tambourine, he's been looking to God, but not for a lot; just a small sprinkle of religion in his life to complement the meal that is himself. In his words, he's "trying to find God...before God finds him."
  • Awful Wedded Life: A big source of his humor is married life, and the conflicts between men and women.
    • "I haven't had pussy in seven years! I've had vagina; I hate vagina! I was born out of a vagina! First thing I said was 'Man, I gotta get me some pussy!"
    • Averted in his Netflix special Tambourine. Chris admits that he didn't realize how good he had it with his wife until they were going through a divorce. In a rare vulnerable moment, Chris acknowledged that he was just not a good husband, and that he was being an asshole, even admitting that he cheated on his wife with three other women. He also said he didn't realize how bad divorce proceedings were, and how hard he'd have to fight to get custody of his kids. In his own words, he thought he could "fuck up and just buy it off", learning to his surprise that marriage doesn't work that way. A good third of the special is him emphasizing how important a relationship/marriage really is. He equates a marriage to a band; while sometimes you're center stage, sometimes you're the tambourine player.
  • Advertisement:
  • Badass Preacher: Rock's paternal grandfather was a preacher and taxi driver who, according to Chris' brother Tony, actually shot and killed a man who was trespassing on his property. And then did the man's funeral the very next week. Chris has cited his grandfather as an influence on his work.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: Zig-zagged. Chris, as an African-American man, knows all too well the system's against him and others like him. However, as an adult, he is also a property owner and thus begins to reveal a mixed-emotion when dealing with the cops. Yeah, no news is good news when it comes to the police, but he's also not going to call the Crips when someone is stealing his TV. Doubly so when a Crip IS stealing his TV!
  • Black Comedy: Once joked about going to pro-choice rallies to pick up women. "You won't find no virgins at an abortion rally. You might even see some clear heels!"
  • Black Comedy Rape:
    Ever noticed that when you find God, you never find him when your life is good... but you find him when you're in jail getting raped by another prisoner and you're in jail for parking tickets? You just laying down there and you're thinking "damn, I should've just moved my car".
  • Book Dumb: Dropped out of school, but did get a GED ("Good Enough Diploma").
  • Bumbling Dad / Dude, Where's My Respect?: Attacks the lack of respect "real dads" get.
  • Catchphrase: "Yeah, I said it!"
  • Chubby Chaser: He claimed that black men are especially attracted to heavy white women.
    A black man will drop-kick Keira Knightley to get to Rosie O'Donnell.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Joked in 2004 that Bush was trying to distract us from the war in Iraq by making news stories that the media would cover. He was the one who sent the girl to Kobe Bryant's hotel room, he killed Laci Peterson, he sent the little boy to Michael Jackson's house, and he made Paris Hilton's sex tape. Becomes Hilarious in Hindsight come Tambourine, when he realized that Bush's fuck-ups were so bad that we got Barack Obama elected as president. "You know, maybe we're underestimating Dubya's contribution to African-American history month."
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Described Michael Jackson as this in Never Scared.
    Chris: I saw Michael on 60 Minutes, Ed Bradley tried his best to make Michael look like a mammal. Like somebody that drank water and breathed air, right? He gave Michael the easiest questions in the world, the easiest GED questions in the world, and Michael could not pass the test.
  • Creator Breakdown: Tambourine is fairly personal, at least for Chris, who usually doesn't make many specific references to his personal life. In the special, he discusses his infidelity as well as the custody battle over his children.
  • Creepy Uncle: Mentions this in the "Uncle Johnny" skit about how everyone has that one "molester uncle". He discusses the only positive of this being a case of that uncle molesting you...but he put you through college. Specifically that this is the relationship between black Americans and the US government.
  • The CSI Effect: Invoked when talking about CSI Chris suggests that many Americans would've murdered their spouses and buried them in the back yard... except for watching CSI: "Man, they're thorough! I'd better make up, they might catch my ass!"
  • Double Standard: Frequently discusses these between races and genders.
  • Everything Is Racist: Much of his routines are of the White Dude, Black Dude type, although he just as often makes fun of black people as he does white people.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In the film Down To Earth. Much of the comedy is derived from examining race and class conflicts.
  • Full Circle Portraying: Phil LaMarr's been The Other Darrin for Rock as the title character of Osmosis Jones in the spin-off series Ozzy & Drix, Roger "Booda" Sack in King of the Hill, and Marty in various Madagascar tie-in games.
  • Hates Reading: In one part of his "Black People vs. Niggas" routine, he states that "niggas" love not knowing things, and further notes that they adamantly refuse to read books.
    "Niggas break into your house; you want to save your money? Put it in your books. 'Cause niggas don't read. Just put the money in the books. Shit, books are like Kryptonite to a nigga."
  • Henpecked Husband: Thinks married men become their wives' pets.
    • He also jokes that Michelle Obama being first lady is a problem because "a black woman cannot play the background of a relationship".
    Man: Honey, I won, I'm president!
    Woman: No! We president! And I want my girlfriends in the cabinet! I want Kiki to be secretary of defense! She can fight, she can fight!
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: On Bill Clinton's extramarital affair: "A man is basically as faithful as his options!"
    • Repeated when Chris derides claims of "I would never do such a thing!" from men not in the same position as Tiger Woods. Comically enough, Chris himself fell victim to this as revealed in Tambourine and boy howdy did he pay the price for that. These days, he prefers peace to pussy.
  • Informed Loner: Mocks the Columbine gunmen and the 'Trenchcoat Mafia': "I saw the yearbook picture. There was six of them! I ain't have six friends in high school, I don't have six friends now! That's three on three with a half court."
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Marty the zebra from Madagascar looks a lot like his voice actor. At least insofar as it's possible for a zebra to look like a human being...
  • Irony: He has a pool in his house but didn't learn to swim until he was fifty-five years old, a fact he was quick to joke about upon revealing it.
  • Large Ham: Very much so with the voice to match.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Claims that any kind of bigotry is foolish, because whatever you hate will end up in your family just to teach you a lesson. Hate gays? Your son will be gay. Hate Latinos? Your daughter will exclusively date Latinos.
  • Malcolm Xerox: Frequently revisits and lampoons this stock character; he's never played a straight example (not even his character Nat X from Saturday Night Live).
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: While he's best known for talking about race, arguably his greatest strength is Men vs Women.
    Chris: Who's the biggest liar? Men or women? (the audience argues this topic for a minute). Here's how it goes: men lie the most, but women tell the biggest lies. A man's lie is "I was at Tony's house." A woman's lie is "It's your baby."
  • Mistaken for Dying: He says that when he got tested for HIV, he had to wait 5 days. He spent those days thinking about all the nasty stuff that he's done ("I'm Itchy, the stripper from Miami") and then calls up those women to see if they're still alive (to make sure they didn't die of AIDS): 'Hi, can I speak to Tammy.' 'Tammy died. She got hit by a bus.' 'Thank the Lord!'
  • Mr. Fanservice: Although considerably rare among male stand-up comedians, he's had his fair share of admirers. This only increased in 2020 when he adopted a new diet and exercise regime and the results were quite impressive.
    Female Audience Member: I love you!
    Chris: I like you!
  • Mommy Issues: One of his earliest bits is when he advises to women about how a man will act around you depends on his relationship with his mother.
    Chris: [after expletive storm from man to mother] If he's like that with her, you're next!
  • Motor Mouth: He's been known to talk rather fast in his earlier days. He also makes a point of women talking way too much way too fast for his tastes when he gets home from work.
  • N-Word Privileges: Does a whole routine explaining when it would acceptable for non-blacks to use the n-word. Long story short - only under very specific circumstances, with a police report.
    • He's also outlined the "Dr Dre rules," where white people are allowed to say the n-word as long as it's part of a rap song they're singing along to, since "it's just sad to see a white person try to do a niggaless rendition of a Dr. Dre song", and he knows that when they're no black people around, "they lean into that shit".
    • He eventually retired his "Niggas vs Black People" rant when too many actual racists used it to justify themselves.
  • No Indoor Voice: He's pretty loud, both in stand-up and many film roles.
  • Older Than They Look: Referenced in "No Sex (in the Champagne Room)": "If she tells you she's 26, and looks 26, she's damn near forty!"
    • Humorously, he himself is an example of this trope, now that he is currently in his 50s, and looks and sounds like he is much younger than that.
  • One True Love: He argues that this rarely happens, and when it does, it's the wrong time/situation. You're married and they're single, you're Jewish and they're Palestinian, or you're a black woman and he's a black man.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: In Never Scared, Chris humorously criticizes Kobe Bryant for not getting a lawyer when he was accused of sexual harassment in 2003.
    Chris: What is on Kobe's mind? Going to Colorado, around all these white people, and not bringing Johnnie Cochran? Well, then they say, "Well, if he hires Johnnie Cochran, he's going to look guilty." Yeah, but you get to go home! You want to look innocent in jail? I'd rather look guilty at the mall.
  • Overprotective Dad: After his daughter was born, he realized that his one job in life is to "keep her off the pole."
    Chris: There are no real grades for fathers, but if your daughter is a stripper, you fucked up!
  • Patriotic Fervor: Discussed in Never Scared. He discusses how after 9/11 and at the start of the Iraq War, Americans were extremely patriotic, and there was "accepted racism" towards French and Arabic people.
    Chris: Then they went to, "I'm American, I'm American, fuck all these illegal aliens." Then I started listening, 'cause I know niggas and Jews is next. That train's never late.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: In Never Scared, he calls magician David Blaine "a trickless magician".
    Chris: Are we so desperate for entertainment that we fall for a trickless magician? Where the fuck's the trick!? Cut a lady in half, pull a rabbit out a hat, do something! What was his last trick? "I'm in a box, and I ain't gonna eat!". "I'm in a box, and I ain't gonna eat"? That ain't no trick, that's called "living in the projects"!.
  • Playing Against Type: He makes his first foray into horror with Spiral (2021).
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Detective Lee Butters in Lethal Weapon 4 and the Guiena pig Rodney in Dr. Dolittle.
  • Poor Man's Porn: In his book Rock This!, he talks about how his mother once threw away his porn collection when he was a kid, forcing him to get off on anything remotely female, and comes across a box of Aunt Jemima pancake mix. And just when he starts picturing Aunt Jemima as young and attractive, Uncle Ben jumps off a box of rice and says "Quit lookin' at my woman!"
  • Porn Stash: Every man's got one. "Not an illegal amount, just enough to get you by".
  • Prison Rape: Invoked when talking about an HBO jail special.
  • Racist Grandma: He says that the most racist people are old black men, because they've lived through real racism. "Fuck that 'I can't get a cab' bullshit, old black men were the fucking cab! A white man would just hop on their back and say 'Fifth and Broadway!'"
  • Raised by Grandparents: Discussed: "If the kid calls his grand-mama 'Mommy' and his mama 'Pam', then he's going to jail".
  • Refuge in Audacity: Posited in Bring The Pain that we'd never see a white President with a black Vice President. Why? Because some black guy would just assassinate the President. "Shit, I'd do it!"
    "What are you gonna do? Send me to jail where a bunch of black prisoners are gonna treat me like a fucking hero for the rest of my life? And what about the death penalty? Just get pardoned by the black President!"note 
  • Running Gag: Dropping the mic at the end of his comedy routines.
  • Sad Clown: Famously remarked, ‘Comedy is the Blues for people who can’t sing.
  • Sadistic Choice: In "Never Scared," he talks about how blacks were forbidden from learning to read, and that a black man driving a buggy would face this: either stop at the stop sign and get beat up for learning how to read, or drive through the intersection and risk crashing.
    White Man: Nigga, you coulda killed someone! You see that stop sign?!
    Black Man:: Uh, you mean that octagon thing?
    White Man: Nigga, who taught you octagon?!
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: In Tamborine, he says that without bullying, people won't be prepared to deal with assholes as adults. Averted later on as he has spoken about the lingering effects of the racial bullying he suffered as the only black child in his school and how it took a long time and extensive therapy to come to terms with it.
  • Sick and Wrong: When talking about strip clubs, and not wanting to be the kind of person who's there so much that he eats the food. "Who the fuck eats the food at a nasty-ass strip club? Are you THAT hungry?!"
  • Sit Comic: Everybody Hates Chris. Quite a few of the jokes come straight from his special Bigger and Blacker.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: One of the main points of 'Black People vs. Niggas'; everything white people don't like about black people, black people really don't like about black people. Chris retired the bit when he realized racists were taking it at face value.
  • The Stoner: Played a crackhead in New Jack City.
  • Take That!: In Tambourine, he was told by a judge that he'd have to have his food inspected to make sure his kids had enough to eat. Chris responded "What have you heard about me? I'm Chris Rock, not Chris Brown!"
  • Title Drop: The title of Tamborine came from his bit about how two people in a marriage aren't equals, comparing it to a band where someone ends up playing the tambourine.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: In the 'Black People vs. Niggas' routine:
    Niggas always want credit for some shit they supposed to do. A nigga will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A nigga will say some shit like, "I take care of my kids." You're supposed to, you dumb motherfucker! What are you talking about? What kind of ignorant shit is that? "I ain't ever been to jail." Whatcha want, a cookie?! You're not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherfucker!
  • Where da White Women At?: Mentions that even a plain-looking white woman like Rosie O'Donnell can find a black man, but a black woman would never date Danny DeVito.
  • White Wife, Black Wife: Discussing Barack Obama's first lady, Chris says that Obama cannot be president unless he has a white wife because a black wife would be too controlling.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Played straight, but only after saying that "Nobody's above an ass-whooping".
  • Younger Than They Look: Again, from "No Sex (in the Champagne Room)": "If a girl says she's 20, and looks 16, she's 12."