Chris Rock - Emotional, Missteps, and Making History
Chris Rock and Netflix made history by live-streaming Rock's comedy show, Selective Outrage, on March 4th, 2023. Rock reportedly made $40 million dollars for his two Netflix specials. CHA-CHING!
Rock brings the heat with his sharp tongue, great writing, and wit as he weaves his life and social commentary together. We have to give it to Chris for his delivery and nearly flawless performance. Just taking this on is amazing feat.
Timing is everything. Next week marks the anniversary of the vicious Oscar slap delivered by Will Smith to the unsuspecting Rock. The Oscars are scheduled to air on March 12, 2023.
Reminding us that this is a comedy show, which means "Don't Freak Out! I'm about to go there!"
Rock touches on many topics, including: our attention-seeking behavior, parenting, power, beauty, rich vs. poor, abortion, dating, the changing workplace, the opioid crisis, the Capitol Riots, representation in commercials, rappers potentially getting mad at him, the Royal Family, the Kardashians, in-law drama, colorism, transgender acceptance, a divided America, and being victimized by Will Smith, though he didn't want to call it that himself.
Some of my favorite bits were about his daughter and the secret parenting, the Royals being the OGs of racism, Kris Jenner being the Statue of Liberty and everyone's black grandma, how America was worse than Ukraine, and how the Capitol Riots were like watching The Planet of the Apes. Hilarious!
Rock's last eight minutes of the show were a full-on attack against Will and Jada Smith, and rightfully so. He did intentionally, or emotionally, call Jada Pinkett Smith a bitch. I know many people are analyzing his words, and so was I, but the look in his eyes, was far more telling.
Rock is raw and vulnerable in his delivery. His words are full of pain as they leave his mouth. This was an emotional event. While he will not call himself a victim, we all know, he is a victim of an extremely public assault. As a grown, successful, black man in America, he has been carrying that pain and humiliation around for an entire year. My heart hurt for him in that final mic-drop moment, as it did a year ago at the Oscars.
Rock did have a few missteps.
Let's talk about Meghan Markle. Rock chalked her experience up to basic in-law issues, but Markle was relentlessly brutalized in the British press for years. She sued them and won! The post-show briefly addressed this issue. The nuance of a deeply racist UK press is just not as funny a punchline, I guess?
Robert Kardashian's daughters will pay for his sins by being with black men for all eternity, as if black men are a punishment. Again, it's comedy, but if I think about it in relation to my own black son, it's really pretty terrible. I would not want a person he dates to think of him as any kind of punishment for the sins of their father. Besides, the Kardashians seem to be doing alright.
Watching Will Smith beaten in the film Emancipation brought Rock joy. He was rooting for Massa. This was uncomfortable. No one likes the brutality of slavery in any regard.
Lululemon is expensive, but the quality of their brand is fantastic. And, I definitely like corporations that take a bold anti-racist stance. I understand what he was meaning, but again, I wholly disagree.
Post George Floyd, I wish comedians and rappers would stop the "throw-away" use of the N-word. I just think we could do so much better. I am a teacher, and I am hearing young kids (of all colors) call each other the N-word. I do my best to guide them in another direction, but I am not as cool as the guys on stage with microphones.
I enjoyed the show. It was, however, from a very male perspective. Chris Rock is a great performer and thoughtful writer. This past year had to be incredibly difficult for him. Personally, I would love to see Rock drop the excessive use of the N-word and evolve with the nuance of his writing for future shows. But, that's just me, a person that LOVES comedy!
Thanks Netflix! Bring us more live comedy shows! It was a great way to spend Saturday night.
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