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I wonder how strategic (if at all) it is for him to create that aura that he would never worry about being labeled a sell-out or ostracized for pointing out stereotypes of every race, and even pinpointing faults with his own sub-culture of our country’s culture. He “gets it” when so many don’t. He gets to be himself, but at the same time look at himself from an outside perspective. From that of the media, from that of the fans. He gets to unwittingly have insight into perception. and instead of taking advantage – he mocks it, plays it down, and humbles every person listening to him in the room, whether intentionally or not.
On hard work via a monologue for his version of his childhood self: “Many people believe that you can succeed against all odds. And i believe that. I believe that the odds are, if you don’t prepare, you won’t succeed.”
Social commentary on gangster epidemic on the black community: “Why spend the next 20 years in jail…”
On the current road to the White House: “Now in real life, Giuliani is like a pitbull…he’s great when you have a burglar, but if you don’t – he just might eat your kids.”
Chatting with Jon Stewart: “There’s this weird McCarthy-ism going on right now.”
When Keeping It Real Goes Right
I also applaud Chris Rock for not falling trap to the #1 problem that so many celebrities, entertainers, famous people do…focusing on themselves, talking about themselves, shameless promotion of…themselves, to the point where it’s ridiculous really. He keeps it real. Can Dave Chappelle give him a “When Keeping It Real Goes Right” award or something? This is why we should value our comedians. It’s rarely about them. It’s about us. What we do. Why we do it. How funny it sounds that we do what we do. I think Chris gets a bad rap when listeners say that he brings too much attention to race in America.
On police propensity to racially profile: “But this is what the cop heard…and he was black, and black black black black black black blackity black-black, and he walked with a black, and black black black…”
On overreactions of white-dominated media: “I always say there’s nothing that comes quicker than white praise or white scorn…and they’re both overreactions.”
Talking About Racism Creates Racism?
I’m glad someone does still reflect on racism in America, rather than everyone floating around on their 2008 high-horse like it wasn’t just a little over 50 years ago that America learned the name, Rosa Parks. Let’s not act like some of the people who perpetrated grave racial injustices are not still alive. Let’s not act like all his been diluted and it’s water under the bridge in just a short time frame stretching just from my grandparent’s generation to my own. Don’t tell me we are an imaginary version of the Wiggles or The Teletubbies where it’s all “I Love You” and “you Love Me.” I’ve watched with my own eyes the glaring reality when my middle-aged mother married her best friend of 20 years who happened to be black. I’ve seen, my grandmother, with just one generation between us, who I would describe as the most devout “Christian” (as far as practicing, I suppose?) I know, go from completely baffled to angry to resentment to uneducated to fearful to distant to intrigued to accepting to once again baffled, but this time about how she could have felt her earlier feelings about someone she has come to love. Thank you, Chris Rock, for being one of my favorite Americans and saying what everyone else is thinking.
Tonite Chris Rock goes back to what made him so popular, his HBO specials. Here’s a preview of where Chris’s mind is at in 2008 in our current world climate. Consider yourself warned:
“When you tell a joke and everybody laughs, it’s not cause they disagree with what your saying. They get it.” -Chris Rock
Laughter is something triggered in our subconscious minds as a way of bonding and connecting with other people. It’s almost a universal “I get you” – and who hasn’t chuckled themselves through an embarrassing situation, brow sweating until it was over?
Chris Rock is one of my favorite Americans. As someone who values rebellious voices, Chris Rock is not only one of the loudest, he is one of the most concise and straightforward. No innuendoes, just honest observation. I can imagine him sitting back and marveling at how he has built a career on just “telling it like it is.” Of all the comedians and actors in showbiz, I think Chris Rock would be the most honest in a self-parody of themselves.
Speaking on Politics & Social Issues
On political parties and left and right wing extremists: “No normal decent person is one thing.”
On whatever happened to people just being crazy?: “The trenchcoat mafia…no one would play with us, we had no friends, we’re trenchcoat mafia. Hey, I saw the yearbookpicture, there was six of them. I didn’t have six friends in high school. I don’t have six friends now.”
On the state of race relations between black people and the police in 1988: “So I hate life. Want to know why I hate life? Because I was born a suspect.”
We Can’t Be Just One Thing
I think, even if it’s subconsciously, Chris Rock sets a good example for other Hollywood stars. The reality of fame in our society is that people get famous because their personality exhibits something different. What happens though is that they end up becoming the cartoon version of that trait. There’s no balance – only the presumption that to maintain their status, they must give more of the same, only bigger and badder. I think an underlying theme of Chris Rock’s comedy has been people cannot be just one thing. I appreciate how he handles himself away from the stage, the “real Chris”, as well as how he transforms into his alter ego during routines.
I can see why so many other entertainers admire him. I feel as if he is the “one” that is idolized in the entertainment world by his peers. Certain tappers are always talking about themselves being a “rapper’s rapper” – the one whom those that share their craft are checking for. I think Chris is the comedian’s comedian – the entertainer’s entertainer, the celebrity’s celebrity. They all envy how he can thrive in an industry, with his own brand, and still speak his mind and say what they wish they could see, but don’t – for whatever reason, the fear of losing endorsements, fear of losing fans, fear of losing revenue, fear of losing stock in the celebrity world.
Chris Rock is the middle finger to the preppy, popular kid in school. The coolest is the one’s who don’t need to say their cool. The one’s who don’t even need to entertain the notion, because they know it’s irrelevant.
Satirical miracle? Or…Chris Rock, what’s wrong with his head, Doc?
Raunchy in the nth degree, perhaps just another example in his lifelong statement that he gets it, and he’s going to do his best to tell you about it. For your own good. I love how he deals with the media. I love the satirical tone. Too many people claim sarcasm nowadays, not knowing while satire and sarcasm are both mocking something, only one’s goal is to improve the situation brought up. Chris Rock can be borderline self deprecating, and in fact – it’s almost societal deprecation. But, he includes himself in that grab bag, too. it’s not an elitist commenting, passing judgment, criticizing, patronizing, celebrating societal woes, pointing the finger. He is more like a next door neighbor, talking about his week in our country, on what’s in the headlines, on things that piss him off, and things that make him laugh, just talking about it with his neighbor, standing by their property lines, cold beer in hand, almost reminiscent of the guys from King of the Hill. And he just might happen to say it like you’re running the lawnmower right next to him.
On rap music degrading women: “Women that like rap don’t care what they saying, if the beats all right, she will dance all night.”
On the difference between rich and wealthy: “Rich is something you can lose with a crazy summer and a drug habit.”
Unafraid to host the Oscars and tell the truth: “See at least they make movies for white people to enjoy, real movies with plots, with actors, not rappers. With real names…like, say “Catch Me If You Can”, “Saving Private Ryan”. Black movies don’t have real names. We get names like “Barbershop.” That’s not a name, that’s just a location. “Barbershop”, “The Cookout”, “The Carwash”…they been making the same movie for 40 years.”
On government backing of the pharmaceuticals industry: “They don’t want you to use your drugs, they want you to use their drugs.”
See Part 2.