Chris Rock On The Funny Business Of Finding Success

"I don't believe I can offend you in a comedy club," Rock says. Star comedians use comedy clubs to try out new material. "I think that's the deal that's made when you see a famous guy in one of these clubs."

From NPR:

How much funny family dysfunction can you pack into two days? Plenty, if you’re Mingus and Marion (Chris Rock and Julie Delpy) an interracial, multinational Manhattan couple — each with kids from previous relationships — hosting Marion’s family visiting from France. The film, 2 Days in New York, is a sequel to Delpy’s 2007 film, 2 Days in Paris.

He joins Fresh Air’s Terry Gross for a conversation about his success in comedy, what it’s like being a working dad, and why he’s not bothered when he “offends” people in comedy clubs.

On how success and wealth have changed his comedy

“I wouldn’t say ‘reinvent,’ but I’ve just allowed myself to grow and not get too caught up in who I was at 25, or 16, or 30. The audience knows I’m older, the audience knows I make money, so why ignore that? It’s a delicate way, it’s like how do I talk about this life and make it relate to everyone in the audience? So it’s a fine line … getting any joke in which you’re rich to work is really hard, but you know, just because you’re doing well in life doesn’t mean you can’t complain, too. That’s basically it. Pretty girls have problems too.”

On being a working father

“I’m fortunate. I grew up, two parents, my dad was really into it, so just by osmosis, I’m just really into it. I never really looked at it as a chore or whatever. When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they’re crazy, because ‘sacrifice’ infers that there was something better to do than being with your children. And I’ve never been with my kids and gone, ‘Man, I wish I was on my stage right now.’ I’ve never been with my kids and gone, ‘Man, it’d be so great if I was on a movie set right now.’ But I’ve been doing a movie and wished that I was with my kids, I’ve been on tour and wished that I was with my kids. Being with my kids is the best, most fun thing, it’s a privilege. It’s not something I call a sacrifice.”

On comedy clubs as ‘first drafts’ for big-name comedians

“I don’t believe I can offend you in a comedy club. I don’t believe I can offend you in a concert. A comedy club is a place where you work out material, you’re trying material. Louis C.K., Tosh, any of these guys, it costs $80-$100 to see them. If you’re in a club, and you pay $12, and a superstar comedian comes in there trying out his jokes — you know, that’s like the first draft to a book, or a movie that’s not cut, it’s just not to be judged for the masses. This guy is trying out stuff. I think that’s the deal that’s made when you see a famous guy in one of these clubs.”

Continue reading the rest of the story on NPR