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Creator / Chris Rock

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

Christopher Julius Rock III (born February 7, 1965) is an American 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" Stereotype: 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; sometimes you're center stage, sometimes you're the tambourine player.
  • 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").
  • Brick Joke: Exploited. In Tambourine, he took up school bullying and joked that "Anyone who says words hurt has never been punched in the face". A year later, he hosted the Oscars, where he actually got slapped in the face. Then another year later, he makes Selective Outrage, and he makes the joke again, in a different context.
  • Broken Pedestal: Will Smith became this to Chris after the former struck him on stage during the 2022 Academy Awards for telling a joke about his wife Jada. To paraphrase Rock's own words, he used to be a major fan of Will Smith and eagerly followed his music and acting career since the days of Brand New Funk. But now he watches 2022's Emancipation, a historical action movie where Smith plays a runaway slave, just to see him get whipped.
  • Bumbling Dad/Dude, Where's My Respect?: Attacks the lack of respect "real dads" get.
  • Burger Fool: “I used to work at McDonald's making minimum wage. You know what that means when someone pays you minimum wage? You know what your boss was trying to say? "Hey if I could pay you less, I would, but it's against the law.”
  • Call-Back: In Tambourine, he talked about how white felons get lighter sentences than black ones who do the exact same thing. In Selective Outrage, he talks about how selective outrage leads to inconsistencies in cancel culture, such as how people who won't listen to R Kelly still listen to Michael Jackson.
  • 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 (2001). 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...
  • Intimidating White Presence:
    • His HBO special Bigger & Blacker discusses being afraid of white teenagers in the wake of the Columbine school shooting.
      "I'm getting in the elevator, and these two high-school white boys try to get on with me... and I just dove off. I said, "Y'all ain't killing me!" I am scared of young white boys. If you white and under 21 I am running for the hills!"
    • Another stand-up routine had him talking about how the most dangerous thing wasn't being a white man in a poor black neighborhood, it was being a black man in a poor white neighborhood, because they'd blame everything on him.
      "The Space Shuttle exploded! That n***er must have done it!"
  • 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".
  • 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, 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.
  • 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".
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In his 2023 Netflix special Selective Outrage, Chris used the last ten minutes of the show to roast both Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith for what occurred in the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony after Will legitimately slapped Chris onstage for telling a joke about Jada. Pointing out how out of all the people in the world who were actively harassing both Will and Jada over the latter's adultery scandal, Will chose to take his frustration out on Chris — someone who tried to give him moral support during the height of the controversy, and someone who also had no chance of beating the much-larger Will in a physical confrontation if he did choose to strike back. He also derided how poorly thought-out their decision to go public with the details of the affair via the "Red Table Talk" was, arguing that it did far more harm to their reputations and marriage than good.
    Chris: Will Smith practices selective outrage. Practices selective outrage. Everybody who really knows, knows I had nothing to do with that shit. I didn’t have any 'entanglements'. — His wife was fucking her son’s friend! I normally would not talk about this shit. But for some reason, these niggas put that shit on the internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something that fucking lowdown, what the fuck? We’ve all been cheated on. Everybody in here been cheated on. But none of us has ever been interviewed by the person that cheated on us on television! None of us! It's like "Hey, I was sucking somebody else's dick, how did that make you feel?" Why the fuck would you do that shit? She hurt him way more than he hurt me.
  • 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: He famously said ‘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 dat octagon thing?
    White Man: Nigga, who taught you octagon?!note 
  • School Bullying Is Harmless: In Tambourine, 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 Tambourine 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: "But you know what they say. They say there's no reason to ever hit a woman." (*beat*) "Shee-yet. Shit, there's a reason to hit everybody, just don't do it. Shit, there's a reason to kick an old man down a flight of stairs! Just don't do it. Ain't nobody above a 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."