Chris Rock Gets Real About Black Film

Illustration for article titled Chris Rock Gets Real About Black Film

In the fourth episode of his new WNYC interview podcast,  Here's the Thing, Alec Baldwin went backstage with Chris Rock after a matinee of The Mother F**ker With the Hat, Rock's theater debut. Their discussion covers the comedian's experiences onstage, on film and in the world of standup comedy.


In his characteristically blunt and funny fashion, Rock weighs in on his humor's appeal among white audiences, his theories about the state of black film and more.

Read a few excerpts here:

On the racial makeup of his audiences: "Well, I mean, put it this way:  In the old days, they used to have signs up, 'Whites Only, Whites Only.' Now they have a new thing. It’s called prices? You know, some nights it’s darker than other nights. I buy tickets every night. When this play is over, I will have spent almost a whole weekly paycheck on tickets [as gifts for friends who otherwise couldn't afford to see the show]."

On why he's picky about the films he chooses, and the state of black film: "Most movies suck, man, really suck. See, I'm — I'm messed up 'cause I like to see somethin' I haven't seen or I haven't seen with a black person. Black people in film is still at its — really at its infant stage … You know what, here's the thing. You know, you hand a studio person a script, and sometimes the studio people are good. Ninety-nine percent of the time when you hand somebody a script, they pick a person in the movie that they identify with. So if you hand a woman a script, if the woman's got nine lives in the movie, the first person she gives you notes about is the woman. 
And if you hand the boss the script, he's gonna give you notes about the main character. And if you hand his assistant the script, he's gonna give you notes about some other. Everybody figures out who they are in the movie.

 Now, when you hand somebody a black script, they don't relate to anybody in it."

On white studios' efforts to make black films: " … They're making a product, all of a sudden. That's what I've — experienced. And — when you do — the — because I mean, there's no black studios or whatever, so you end up — you always end up with just a person trying to make a piece of product. They might as well be makin' … They might as well be makin' an iPad, like really."

Read more at WNYC.