Chris Rock: The Email Interview
Judd Apatow interviews Chris Rock for the latest issue of Vanity Fair
Posted on 12/6/2012
Do you think comedians are better now? How do you compare the work of the comedians of today with the work of the people you started with and were inspired by?
Do I think comedians are better now? Hell fuckin’ no. Show me one guy or woman as funny as Rodney Dangerfield or as good as George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, or Joan Rivers. There are a lot of good comics out there, no doubt, but as far as the quality of the comics goes, I think what you have is a bunch of situational comics. What we have now is black comics that work only black crowds, gay comics that do only gay crowds, and southern comics that only work down South, and so on with Asian, Latino, Indian, midgets, etc. The previous generation’s comics were better because they had to make everybody laugh. Richard Pryor could do The Ed Sullivan Show and play the Apollo. Seinfeld can work any crowd. Ellen can work any crowd. Lopez can work any crowd. And a few more, but the rest of them are just situational comics.
What are your professional high and low points?
Professional high point? Far too many, and at the same time I hope I haven’t reached it yet. The low point happened about a year after I was off Saturday Night Live. I was a cocky bastard. Even though all evidence said I wasn’t a star, I thought I was. I drove a red Corvette and kept my shades on indoors, just a fucking asshole. Anyway, I had a gig in Chicago where I was the headliner. At every gig there would be some opening act that would try to make noise, but by the time I was offstage people had forgotten. One night in Chicago, as usual I was the headliner, and on this night my opening act was an up-and-coming comic named Martin Lawrence. Now, normally I never used to watch the opening acts, but I was in my dressing room and I heard a roar. I got up to see what was going on. I thought it was a fight or something. So I got up and went to the side of the stage. When I got there I realized it wasn’t a fight, it was people laughing so hard that the building was shaking. People were crying, standing, stomping their feet—screaming laughter. I was terrified. It was like watching somebody fucking your wife with a bigger dick.
Read the entire interview here.
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