Cheat Sheet: Chris Rock


Christopher Julius “Chris” Rock III

Date of Birth:

7 February, 1965

Place of birth:

Andrews, South Carolina

Special moves:

Actor, stand-up comedian, writer, editor, TV host, producer, director, total lad

Films include:

2 Days In New York, Madagascar I-III, Death At A Funeral, Grown Ups, I Think I Love My Wife, Beverly Hills Cop II

Chris Rock

What you probably already know:

You’ve NEVER heard of Chris Rock? I don’t believe you! Comedy Central have named him the 5th greatest comic of all time – high praise indeed from the channel that considers endless re-runs of Friends to be the height of hilarity. However, in a slightly more pride-worthy title, he’s been hailed by Time magazine as “the funniest man in America” – take that, Comedy Central voters.

Add this to his case rammed full of Grammys and Emmys, his veteran status on Saturday Night Live, his popular TV show ‘Everybody hates Chris’ (based on Rock’s very own LIFE!), his side-splitting stand-up routines, surprisingly large filmography, his role as host TWICE at the MTV awards twice (“Ricky Martin, you need a hit like a crackhead needs a hit”) and his ill-fated venture as Academy Awards host, and you have a star well worth knowing about. Phew!

He’s big news at the moment, thanks to upcoming film projects What To Expect When You’re Expecting (hell no!) and 2 Days in New York (that’s more like it Chris!) – whichever one you choose to view him in will define you as a person forever. He’s also got Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted hitting our screens this summer, in which he, David Schwimmer and Ben Stiller will take up their furry alter-egos once again “for the sake of the children.”

Chris Rock in Madagascar

In short, 2012 may officially be known as the year Of The Dragon but, in reality, it’s the year of The Rock. Time to boost our knowledge on this no holds barred comedian, stat!

What you probably don’t know:

First things first, Rock is genuinely his surname. Some of us, foolishly, assumed it was a fun stage name he’d picked out for himself. We were wrong. We also didn’t know he shared a birthday with Ashton Kutcher… although, to be fair, this information hasn’t exactly (ahem) rocked our worlds.

Now that THAT’S out the way, let’s get serious. Did you know that Chris Rock failed his course in African History? Why? because he failed to identify Rosa Parks as the name of the black activist who rose to fame after refusing to give up her seat on the bus for a white person in 1955. Rosa Parks, in the world of Chris Rock, was known as Martina Luther King (“Are you sure it was a woman?”).

It’s clear to see that Chris Rock is one of the most talented (albeit most offensive!) comic talents out there, but many believe that his success is all down to another famous funnyman. More specifically, it’s all down to another famous funnyman who ALSO plays a hoofed mammal in an animated film – what’re the odds, eh? Eddie Murphy plucked Chris Rock out of obscurity after seeing his stand-up act in a nightclub, giving him his first ever film role in Beverly Hills Cop II.

Oh sure, his comedy is a little controversial, but, as Chris Rock says himself, why should he be expected to be a role model anyway?

“Why does the public expect entertainers to behave better than everybody else? It’s ridiculous…Of course, this is just for black entertainers. You don’t see anyone telling Jerry Seinfeld he’s a good role model. Because everyone expects whites to behave themselves…Nowadays, you’ve got to be an entertainer and a leader. It’s too much.”

Poor Chris Rock. The guy has always claimed that he thinks like the underdog and, looking at his career, it’s easy to see why. In Beverly Hills Cop II, he earned a measly $600 for his entire performance. By 2009, fresh outta his Madagascar success, Forbes estimated his earnings to be $42 million – which, in our opinion, makes him TOP dog. Guess there’s something to be said for animation work after all!

The guy isn’t just about the funny / money. He’s branched out to showcase a whole new side of himself recently, writing and directing the documentary Good Hair which… well, which explores the complex relationship black women have with their hair. And now, set to appear in French romantic-drama 2 Days In New York, he seems set to prove that he can be a serious dramatic actor: “I wanted to do the movie because it’s a real character. Finally somebody is giving me a script that’s not written in stand-up timing.”

2 Days in Paris

Fingers crossed he pulls it off! it’ll mean he wins another gong to go alongside his SIXTEEN Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards and 2003 star on the Walk of Fame.

Chris Rock quote:

“I love animation. I love animation because in the world of animation, you can be anything you want to be… If you’re a fat woman you can play a skinny princess. If you’re a short wimpy guy, you can play a tall gladiator. If you’re a white man you can play an Arabian prince. And if you’re a black man, you can play a donkey or a zebra. You can’t play white, my God!”

What to say about him at a dinner party:

“Whatever medium he works in, Rock, with his pull-no-punches punchlines, makes a lasting impression. Writer, director, comedian, actor, there is absolutely no end to his talents and, no matter whether he’s aiming for hilarity or serious drama, Chris Rock manages to amp up the entertainment value whilst challenging our opinions on society. I, for one, can’t wait to see what he does next.”

What not to say about him at a dinner party:

“Isn’t that the guy who played Donkey in Shrek?”

Final thought:

Chris Rock is set to transform from brash in-your-face comedian to serious dramatic actor in 2 Days In Paris, which hits cinemas on Friday 18th May. The less said about ensemble film What To Expect When You’re Expecting, which forces its way into our lives on the 25th, the better…

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