Chris Rock has been on the interview/promotion circuit the last few weeks working on selling tickets to his new movie, “Top Five.” It’s in theaters now, has received mostly good reviews and I plan on seeing it. Having said that, the interviews Rock has given the past few weeks have been absolutely awesome. Let’s talk about the highlights.
1. On race relations and black political successes:
“White people were crazy. Now they are not as crazy…Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”
He is actually making two points in the long version of this quote. The first one is that white people are becoming more tolerant. He also expresses the fact that black people have been qualified to hold higher office for a long, long time and that they are now being elected is really only progress for white people. I hear him saying he is mildly optimistic about the progress in the white community, and at the same time, more progress should be made within the black community. He’s the perfect person to communicate that thought.
2. On Obama’s current approval rating:
“The liberals that are against (Obama) feel let down because he’s not Bush. And the thing about George Bush is that he revolutionized the Presidency. He was the first president that only served the people who voted for him.”
People outside of politics may not realize what a big statement this is, whether you agree with it or not. Candidates win elections with 51% of the vote, and then govern 100% of those who voted. This is one of the things that makes governing so hard and unattractive. I think Rock is sorta, kinda right about Bush, but he is absolutely right about Obama. People on the far left thought “their guy” was going to govern from their perspective exclusively, and it turns out, Obama has been a leader of the country, not just those who elected him. Good for him, and more importantly, good for us.
3. On the speed of change in the arena of gay rights:
“You got to remember, the women’s rights movement and the civil rights movement, even getting rid of Prohibition—it all loosened the country up for the gay rights movement. Anybody that’s old enough realizes none of these movements has ever been stopped.”
Too few people are observant enough to grasp that last sentence. I think of the people in our own community that spent so much energy fighting gay rights (and losing) in recent time. I remember thinking how ashamed of themselves they will be 20 or 30 years from now, or the shame their children might feel for the way they have acted. Freedom in America is hard to contain. I think Rock’s advice might be that people should quit wasting their time trying. His position is conservative, even though some conservatives like to call it liberal for some weird reason.
4. To people saying pulling “The Interview” means the terrorists won:
“We’ve been taking our shoes off at airports for no reason for fourteen years.”
Now how do you argue with that? I was traveling a couple of weeks ago and was happy they didn’t make me take off my shoes at security, but then immediately became paranoid about the rest of these crazies that TSA wasn’t checking. It’s a new world. And the North Koreans likely did us a favor because the interview looked like it was gonna suck anyway.
5. He makes us laugh.
I love stand up comedy. I took my family to see Brian Regan in concert last week. He is hilarious every time. Tomorrow night, I get to see Dave Chappelle for the first time. That could go any number of ways, but he has already made me laugh a thousand times so he’s got credit.
But Chris Rock is different. He is smart. He makes us laugh and think at the same time. More often than not, it’s about things we need to think and laugh about. He gets to say things that others can’t, and I am thankful he does.
And he has this to say about Chappelle which matters a lot to me the night before I see him:
“Dave is like Prince. He’s my favorite comedian.”
Mr. Rock, I’m trusting you on this one. I will report back on it to the rest of you later.