March 2001
ON THE COVER : A Q & A with Chris Rock

ON THE COVER : A Q & A with Chris Rock

By Wilson Morales (New York)

Last month, Chris Rock launched DOWN TO EARTH. The film received poor reviews, bad reviews and really bad reviews. Nevertheless, the ROCK will be back Ė you can count on that. Before DOWN TO EARTH debuted, I spent some time with the full-time funny man.

Read on and Enjoy.

What was your worst experience as a comedian?

Opening up bachelor parties and you go before the stripper and stuff like that.

Did you ever get booed at the Apollo or at all?

Never at the Apollo, but Iíve been booed before. I was booed at a club called IBEX in D.C. Booing is not that bad, it is the silence that bothers you. At least, booing is a reaction. Youíve got to treat the crowd like you treat your women. Women donít mind when you argue, they hate it when you donít argue.

Was it always your intention to display your talent on screen like RAW and FOOLISH?

None of those movies come to mind, Iím thinking ANNIE HALL. Iím going for the top. You want to have a vehicle for yourself where you can best show your talents. Like WEDDING SINGER most would agree that itís Sandlerís best film. Me playing a comedian is natural, playing a bad one is even better.

How did you choose this film to make? Was it after watching ďHeaven Can WaitĒ?

Yes, I swear. I watched it one day after meeting Warren Beatty. After seeing the film, I thought this would have been for Richard Pryor and then threw myself in the mix.

How did the Weitz Brothers come into the picture?

I met with a bunch of directors trying to figure who to hire and I saw American Pie before it came out and knew it was going to be a big hit and decided to go with these guys and I knew it would help down the line. I knew it would help us get a lot of money.

Did you ever consider directing the film yourself?

Yeah, Warren told me to direct it, David Geffen told me to do so, but I knew I had to go back to the show and I couldnít do both. If I didnít have to go back to the show, I would have directed it.

Chris Rock

Speaking of the show, why did you cancel it?

When you get a hit show, win a few awards, its like winning the Super Bowl. People take your best players, they poach your lineup, take your coaches and everything. When I started the show, it was me and my friends and we called it the Chris Rock Show, because it helped us get money but it wasnít just my show. When your friends start leaving youíre working with people who arenít your friends and it gets to be like a real job and I donít want a real job. I want to be an artist and have fun.

Have you ever had a real job?

I had lots of real jobs. They sucked. I loaded trucks at the Daily News, Red Lobster and Odd Lot. I worked with mentally handicapped. Far too many to name. I never liked working.

Whatís your biggest hang-up?

I feel inadequate like everyone else. Iím skinny. I just got my teeth fixed and Iím over that. Iím very insecure, not much of a confident guy. Donít get me wrong, you have to be confident when you go on stage, itís just the rest of the day you have to be meek.

When casting the film, how did you come up with Regina King?

Best actress out there. I really didnít have anyone else in mind. Other people had opinions but I stuck to my guns. I got my girl.

Is the pressure on being in the lead role?

I guess there is a pressure I canít control. My pressure is to make to the film good. The pressure is to make money so that the Chris Rock machine keeps rolling.