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Chris Rock: It's Always Something

A look at how Chris Rock's credibility as a comedian and a human being have decreased in a matter of days

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 16 days ago Updated 16 days ago 7 min read

You know, this one hurts. I had been a fan of Chris Rock for over 25 years; the "Lil Penny" commercials, SNL, his movies, his stand-up specials, you name it. I was a huge supporter of Chris Rock. I was a big time fan of his. I was one of his most staunchest of supporters. Notice the increasing emphasis on "was." It's because on the afternoon of March 5, 2023, I tweeted the following:

"March 5, 2023: the day I stopped being a Chris Rock fan."

I cannot, in any good conscience, continue to support Chris Rock anymore. I just can't. Those of you reading this know why, but I want to clarify something: that Netflix special was the last straw. My decreasing fandom of Chris Rock had been developing for close to a year, and it's because of certain jokes he's made in past specials have made me think. I am an admitted overthinker, so I tend to look at things through about one or two magnifying glasses, and what I find isn't pretty.

I'll go in chronological order. In 2004, Rock did his HBO special, Never Scared, and there were a couple of jokes that, now that I really think about it, don't set well with me. For one, he joked about the infamous "Wardrobe Malfunction," which happened months prior, but he repeatedly accused Janet Jackson of "whipping out a titty on a Sunday afternoon." I thought about that quote, the way it was emphasized. Sunday is usually deemed as a holy day, so to me, Rock was making Janet Jackson out to be some sort of "heathen" who intentionally exposed herself. Also, Justin Timberlake? Never mentioned. Not once. The actual person who exposed Janet on that evening wasn't mentioned by Rock. So it looks like he can keep certain names out of his mouth...

As we know, Janet had spent every day since being scapegoated and racially shamed, and that just added more to it. Speaking of racial, in that same special, Rock pointed out the racial double standards regarding the illegalities how certain things (guns, cigarettes, and drugs), but even that, while true, was screwed up by Rock. When it came to cigarettes, Rock pondered how illegal cigarrettes would be if the Phillip Morris Agency was "full of Jheri-curled n-words from Mississippi." Why Jheri-curled, and why from Mississippi? That last part is a bit personal with me, because I have family in Mississippi.

In 2008, Rock did another special, "Kill the Messenger," which was a compilation of specials from Johannesburg, London, and New York's Apollo Theater. Now 2008 was an election year, and it was the historic year that saw Barack Obama successfully elected as President of the United States on November 4 of that year, becoming the nation's first Black President. The special took place during that election, and of course, Rock made it a topic. However, one thing he said stays with me and it really puts me off. Rock said that Obama only had one weakness against him: he had a Black wife. He doubled down on this by saying that a Black woman "can't play the background of a relationship," and if Obama wanted to really succeed, he needed to get a White woman, because a White woman would "play her position," while a Black woman would "want to play his position."

Oh boy.

I, the devout overthinker that I am, deeply thought about those words. Rock offended both Black and White women with those comments. He's basically saying that Black women are too "bossy" and want to "dominate" everything, while White women are "submissive" and "obedient." These aren't new misogynistic stereotypes; they've been around for decades, and it's basically similar to what Cam Newton said about a year ago.

So yeah, that's been festering in me for a while, and as I said, Rock's Netflix special was the last straw. As we all know (unless you've been living under a literal rock), Rock caused controversy at last year's Oscars when he mocked Jada Pinkett Smith's alopecia by stating that she was "auditioning for G.I. Jane 2." Of course, Will Smith stood up and slapped Rock across the face, followed by Smith's famous, "Keep my wife's name out your fucking mouth!," warning. It's been close to a year since it happened, and Smith was apologetic about the slap, but he received a 10-year ban for it. Then Rock's special comes out, and he decided not to follow Will Smith's advice.

Rock ended the special talking about the slap, and all he did was bury Jada. He did pick on Will (which was bad enough), but the main centerpiece of his burial was Jada. He blamed the slap entirely on her, which fed into the misogynists who had been scapegoating Jada ever since it happened, and even called out Jada's entanglement with August Alsina, because, you know, Black women don't get sex-shamed enough as it is. Rock claimed that Jada tried to keep him from hosting the Oscars in 2016, as she was speaking out about a lack of inclusivity due to Concussion not being nominated. He mistakenly said Emancipation before correcting himself, but in regards to the more recent Will Smith pic, Rock said that he watched the film so he could root for the portrayed slave owners to beat Will's character. Big yikes. The irony is that Rock actually mentioned one of his roles in his tirade, saying that he was a zebra. It's a reference to the Madagascar movies, and who was one of his co-stars? That's right...Jada Pinkett Smith.

I would also learn some more disturbing facts following that special (which I haven't watched, nor do I plan to). For one, Rock was making jokes about Michael Jackson, who had been deceased since 2009. I also learned that Rock also mocked Meghan Markle for rightfully calling out the Royal Family's racist treatment of her ever since she and Harry got together. We all know how horrible they've been to Meghan, but according to Rock, "it's an in-law thing."

Rock had been trending ever since, and it's not good. Many have said that all Rock does in his comedy is bury and pick on Black people, especially Black women, such as Janet Jackson, Meghan Markle, and Jada Pinkett Smith. Also, as I looked at the trends, I saw a video of a special from some time ago; it was Rock with comedians Louis C.K., Ricky Gervais, and Jerry Seinfeld. Louis and Gervais are immensely controversial, but that didn't stop Rock from laughing along as Louis and Gervais repeatedly said the n-word, while Seinfeld was visibly sick and said that he never says it, nor does he need to do so for humor purposes. That, and his incessant need to pick on Black people (especially Black women), put me out with Chris Rock. I tore up my fan card that day.

So about Rock's claim that Jada didn't want him to host the Oscars? Yeah, turns out that's not true. I read that a source revealed that Rock has been obsessed with Jada for close to 30 years! 30 years! Many have said that Rock may have had something for Jada and had been upset that she didn't reciprocate, but this?! And again, Jada herself said that she never told Rock not to host the Oscars; rather, she said Rock was the perfect choice to host that year. So yeah, this makes Chris Rock look even worse than he already does.

Again, it was hard for me to pretty much turn in my Chris Rock fan card, but I had to rip the proverbial bandaid off. My good conscience (as well as my immense respect for women) cannot allow me to further support Chris Rock, I just can't do it. It's a shame, because even entering that day, the court of public opinion was pretty split between Smith and Rock. Then Rock opened his mouth, and his credibility sank faster than the St. Louis Blues' playoff chances this season. So not only has Chris Rock lost a lot of respect, he's lost a lot of credibility as a comedian and a human being, and he has no one to blame but himself.

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About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

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Comments (37)

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  • Mohammed Darasi4 days ago

    I'm just writing this comment from a "human behaviour" perspective, because whatever happens with Chris Rock and the Smiths doesn't really matter to me, not would it affect me in any way. I think find your opinion interesting so I wanted to comment. I honestly don’t particularly like Chris Rock’s comedy stand ups that came out in the last few years (basically the Netflix specials). They weren’t really funny to me (I didn’t even finish them 🤣), but his earlier stand ups were hilarious without a doubt. His style of comedy was always one that was controversial and generally almost ‘combative’ which isn’t most people’s cup of tea, but I liked it in the earlier stand ups and I still find them funny today. I think the topics he had to work with in those days worked well with that style of comedy, but now it doesn’t really fit, which is fine.. it’s just the change in general tastes etc. I do appreciate your article and your opinions about Chris Rock, but I’m surprised that his thoughts about the Oscar incident are what tipped you over the edge... As you said yourself, when you thought back to the jokes he had in the older specials, you now didn’t feel like they were appropriate. His jokes were made for that period in time/history, and he can’t be criticised for it now, if he wasn’t at the time. Things change, ideology changes, and people in general found them funny at the time. In regards to the whole oscars fiasco, I think the minute he was slapped on stage, he had free reigns to talk about it however he wanted to. He was humiliated on the stage of the biggest show (watched by millions). No matter the circumstances of why Will smith did that, it should not have been done. It's not like Chris Rock swore at his mother or ancestors.. it was a very simple joke (that will smith laughed at initially, may I add) It is obvious that Chris rock wanted to use this as a means to raise the profile of his stand up and get it more talked about, but that is usually the same for any material a comedian uses (it comes from their experiences). In conclusion, I don’t really find Chris Rocks’s newer comedy stand ups funny, but I don’t think we need to criticise what he said about Will smith and Jada, because he had the right to, and that’s what comedians do. In all honestly he even had more of an “allowance” for what he could say about it because of what happened to him.

  • Great though

  • Ross Martin11 days ago

    You say you "think deep" about things? Well think deep on this. If you pay attention to things in the media, news etc... then you would see that your "sentiments" are a common running theme. Lots of people think this theme is a good thing, people that are "marginalized" standing up for their rights and stuff like that but what is REALLY happening is the free speech is slowly being eroded away and it is because of people just like you. When Rock came up in the 90's, people in general had thicker skins and knew that when you watch a stand up performance, that is EXACTLY what you were watching, a PERFORMANCE!! He is up there trying to make a buck. He probably doesn't believe half of what he says and even if he DID, so what? It is apparently not ok to think differently from the lqbtqwerty and the "woke" (barf) movement. They are all about "inclusivity" as long as it is on their terms. I agree that Rock SHOULD have been the bigger man and forgiven him publicly instead of trying to shame him. I think it would have made him look better but he did verbally BITCH SLAP on stage pretty hard and he had a RIGHT to do that considering he LITERALLY got a bitch slap ON the ACADEMY AWARDS of all places, the second most watched program of the YEAR!!! In short, you and people like you need to toughen up a little and learn how to take a joke. Lighten up man, life is too short to be running around judging every tom, dick and harry for not being GAY enough or WOKE (barf) enough!

  • Steve Scott11 days ago

    nice information

  • Michael Davis12 days ago

    You can't be mad Chris was just getting his lick back.

  • Tree Writes12 days ago

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts! It’s always better to treat people kindly.

  • Thavien Yliaster13 days ago

    What confuses me is "Is Chris Rock such a, directly affecting, important key figure in Your life that You had to make a Twitter post about it?" In my personal opinion, I think not. However, Your opinion is not mine. Each person is free to decide how best to live their lives.

  • Congratulations 🎉

  • A. Lenae13 days ago

    This was really well-articulated. I have been a great admirer of Chris Rock's approach to comedy, how his perspective is often nuanced in some way, but this special completely fell flat to me. His take was stale, harmful, and bitter. I think you broke things down really great, and I appreciate your take on his jokes over the years. Thanks for sharing. This was well-written and a positive contribution to the conversation surrounding all of the controversy.

  • Iris Harris14 days ago

    I have to agree with you on this. There are some many comedians I loved when they WERE Kings in the 90s, but now tend to punch down on the marginalized. Their jokes don’t age, as they continue to try the same routine in a different climate. Rock, Chappelle, and many others need new material and it’s clear they are not going to that. Similar to you, I have stopped being a fan as well.

  • Nosheen butt14 days ago

    great job, keep it up.

  • Erica Wagner14 days ago

    This is a really eloquent and thoughtful piece on Rock; he's been written about endlessly, but your honest perspective is original and valuable. Thanks for putting it up on Vocal.

  • Olivia Davis14 days ago

    So much

  • J.boncy14 days ago

    perfect! LOVE IT

  • Verse Vixen14 days ago

    Uncovering the Secret Beauty of Lakshadweep in India-

  • It bothered me when he said that His Mom Taught him to not fight in front of Black people, and I feel like she should have also taught you to not Degrade Black people in front of white people❗🥹🙏

  • Arquam 14 days ago


  • Kat MayKnow14 days ago

    You first. This was very well written. You took a story that has been beaten to death already and managed to hold the attention of your readers anyway. Excellent job. And the added details for context was very smart. It gives those without a perspective a much more clear view to the whole story. Not just one slap one night one year ago. As far as the opinion aspect... YAAAAAAS! Chris Rock has always come off as a misogynist to me. I've caught myself rolling my eyes more at his comedy than I have laughed at it. But, NOT being a black woman, there was always this underlying fear that I would be misjudged for expressing that opinion. Do I think Will Smith did the right thing? Probably not. He could have handled that better. Do I understand Will Smith's decision to do what he did? Absolutely. He was reacting to an attack on his family. Though, given the time and place of that attack, he should have practiced more restraint because the legal ramifications for his actions will now continue to bite him in the ass for the next decade. Chris Rock is a comedian. And we tend to grant comedians quite a bit of leeway in the name of humor and laughter. But there are just some lines you do not cross. Like the line that is clearly in front of you that says do not make fun of someone suffering from a medical condition they have no control over in front of a million people on the most watched stage in the world that night. Chris Rock deserved to have his bell rung for that. I will say, however, as the host of the awards that night, Chris Rock did handle the situation with the grace of a gentlemen... like a well paid comedian/actor is supposed to. But, that's about where my kudos stop for him. Again, thanks for the fun read! And for taking the time to read my really long comment about it. lol

  • Really helpful article for me

  • JBaz14 days ago

    Congratulations. I think you wrote an honest review on your belief, and it was well done. Like comedy an article needs to grab your attention and good comedy breaks barriers. As Steve Martin's album stated 'Comedy is not pretty'. Could Chris have handled the dialogue better ...sure. BUT Will Smith did not immediately apologize. In reality that world is beyond ours, we (I hope) would never have done either thing. Neither was right in this, but money will be the result of both their actions, loss and gain.

  • Kendall Defoe14 days ago

    Well, this is a pile of BS. 'He did pick on Will (which was bad enough)' - really? That was bad enough. He is a comedian and his job was to poke a hole at the pretentious and just plain stupid behaviour out there. And Jada did deserve to get taken down several pegs as the instigator of this nonsense. And let me ask you this: if you got slapped live on one of the most watched programs on TV, would you just walk away from it and not say a word about the person who did it and the people behind it? Pathetic... Turn in your card and join the rest of the humourless people out there. The fan club is not sadder over your departure.

  • Scott Wade14 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story. The older I get the more I don’t understand how comedy went from being the funny sides of life to cash bashing people. It used to be called bullying.

  • Congratulations on your Top Story! I think one thing to remember is that this is all "show business." Their paycheck grows and stays stable the more they are controversial or stay in the limelight. Did you see what happened to the ticket price for his comedy special after "the slap"? They went from $40.00 to $400.00. Also, Chris Rock speaks on the realities of relationships a lot. He does joke in one special that there is no true 50/50 in a relationship. He says it's like being in a band...someone has to play tambourine sometimes. And he goes on to say, "nobody likes a sad tamborine player." And finishes with...So play your part well in a relationship.

  • Leslie Writes14 days ago

    I wasn’t up on the latest news involving Chris Rock, but you’ve made some really good points here. Congrats on your top story!

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