Chris Rock: Comedy as Resistance

The comedian and actor Chris Rock is 43 and grew up in New York City during the 1970s and 1980s. He did grow up not the Jim Crow South, or a rural area; he did grow up in what usually gets called the “post-Civil Rights Era.” And, yet, Rock says that while attending an all-white school he endured endless racial insults from his classmates and basically became a “hermit” as a result. For him, comedy offered a way out, and a way to resist the onslaught of racial insults. So, I wonder when I read that the “U.S. has moved beyond its racist past,” what day that happened and if there will bit about it in Rock’s next stand up routine?


  1. Amy and I just saw Rock in Cleveland on Friday. He was absolutely brilliant. My jaw and stomach hurt from laughing for almost two straight hours.

    His routine centered on politics, race, class, and gender, with some bits about sex at the end. One of my favorite parts was his explanation that regardless of what you achieve, blacks are still at the bottom of the racial hierarchy. He lives in a neighborhood in NJ where he paid $3M for a house and where the only other black households are Mary J., Jay-Z, and Denzel. He noted that all four of them are at the tops of their fields, but that his neighbor is a white guy, a dentist. He said a black dentist would have to invent teeth in order to afford to live in a neighborhood like this. Genius…


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