Though I admire The Onion, I pretty much skip over the front page headlines these days. They’re still very funny, but I know their format and voice well enough that the surprise is gone. Instead I head for the AV Club section, which this week features a great interview with Chris Rock.
You definitely get the sense that in the 10/90 split of Inspiration/Perspiration, Chris likes to sweat. Early this year, when Entertainment Weekly dubbed Chris the Funniest Man, the image of Chris treating comedy clubs like gyms definitely came through. With one of his two iPods completely loaded like comedy albums, even his restful moments are absorbed in one thing… being a funny motherfucker.
The Onion interview gives some insights into why that is, with Chris recounting a story Al Franken told him about a major league pitcher allowing some batters hits early on so that they won’t try so hard later in the game. Chris was like that, apparently. It’s a rather strange thing to tell someone and says a lot about the power struggles to get a sketch on Saturday Night Live. (Let a guy have one sketch so you don’t have worry about him writing another… what happened to picking the funniest material?) Chris, obviously, ain’t that kind of hitter no more.
The most intriguing parts of the Onion interview are where Chris Rock smacks down Jay Mohr for complaining about SNL in Gasping For Airtime, including a spirited defense of Ellen Cleghorne (who Jay slags in the book), which argues she had to be damn funny to get on the show as a black woman. Some would argue its the other way around… Comedic Affirmative Action. I don’t think we’ll ever know how funny Ellen Cleghorne is because how good could she be in a organization that couldn’t see how funny Chris was?
The best part, Chris doesn’t say no to a special edition Pootie Tang DVD (though I could do without Pootie 2, thank you).