‘Everybody Loves Chris Rock’ documentary returns to theGrio app
The Entertainment Studios film explores the veteran funnyman's life and career in the wake of "slapgate" at last month's Academy Awards.
A documentary that explores the life and career of veteran comedian Chris Rock in the wake of “slapgate” at the live 94th Academy Awards ceremony, where he was smacked onstage by actor Will Smith, has been re-released by Entertainment Studios. The documentary is available for free on theGrio app.
In Everybody Loves Chris Rock — which was produced before the incident last Sunday — features clips from Rock’s interviews and commentary about his career that help put in perspective how he became the star he is today.
One of the formative events in Rock’s life was a bitter experience with racism in his early years. It is a topic he revisited in his acclaimed four-season sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris, which was based on his childhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Rock also put several racially-based themes in his comedy act.
“I’ve always tried to get laughs, I’ll say that,” he admits in an interview clip. “From the time the doctor smacked me on my a** and I said, ‘Give me another one.’”
Rock, who dropped out of high school but earned a GED, began his career in the early 1980s when he started doing standup at Catch a Rising Star. He also cleaned tables at comedy clubs in exchange for stage time.
Everybody Loves Chris Rock notes that as a teen, he was spotted by Eddie Murphy, who placed Rock in his first film role as a valet in Beverly Hills Cop 2. Following Murphy’s footsteps, he then joined the cast of Saturday Night Live, where Rock toiled before TV audiences alongside Adam Sandler, David Spade, the late Chris Farley and more. He has also appeared in several movies with Sandler, now a close friend, and the fellow comic actor’s Happy Madison production company.
The Entertainment Studios’ documentary, like the one about Smith, notes that it was a dramatic role that convinced many fans of Rock’s acting prowess, specifically when he played Pookie in the 1991 drama, New Jack City; then, he wrote and starred in CB4 in 1993. But it was Rock’s numerous HBO comedy specials that made him a household name, and eventually, a multiple Emmy Award winner.
“It was just me. Just me and a microphone and they chose me over a lot of other huge productions,” he said at a post-awards press conference after he won a pair for Chris Rock: Bring the Pain in 1997. He added: “I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be up here with two Emmy Awards.”
The ES production also touches on Rock’s marriage to Malaak Compton-Rock, with whom he shares two daughters. The couple married in 1996 and divorced in 2016. During that time, Rock went from a supporting player to a leading actor.
Rock also became a two-time host of the Academy Awards, once in 2005 and again in 2016. The two appearances varied as the second was during the term of America’s first Black president, Barack Obama. It was also during the Black Lives Matter movement, which is the phrase Rock used to close the show.
Everybody Loves Chris Rock also reminds viewers that he starred alongside Jada Pinkett Smith in several films as the two lent their voice talents to the hit cartoon franchise, Madagascar.
The comedian returned to the stage after 10 years with the Netflix special, Tambourine, which largely explored his opinions on dating. It was in 2020 when Rock also disclosed that he had a non-verbal learning disorder that makes it hard for him to understand non-verbal cues. The diagnosis has been referenced in the wake of him being struck by Will Smith at this year’s Academy Awards, where Rock was presenting the Oscar for Best Documentary.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in 2020, Rock revealed that seven hours of therapy a week has helped him manage the disorder and heal from the childhood trauma that was the basis of many of his jokes.
“I thought I was actually dealing with it, and the reality is I never dealt with it,” he admitted, acknowledging that being able to laugh about his childhood didn’t necessarily mean he was over it. “The reality was the pain and the fear that that brought me, I was experiencing it every day.”
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