Despite all the tomato flinging that went on today about The Hollywood Film Awards, from Johnny Depp’s loopy presentation to the show’s rocky ratings, one of the more intriguing moments last night occurred after the kudo ceremony in CBS Hollywood After Party, when Chris Rock got candid with CBS This Morning host Charlie Rose.
Rock explained to Rose how the racial slurs he heard as a kid shaped him into a sharp-edged stand-up comedian as an adult.
“(Jerry) Seinfeld says you can do race better than anyone else,” observed Rose, to which Rock responded, “I’m from that era. I was bused to school in 1973…I was called nm*****r all the time by students, teachers, janitors. I know it, I really, really know it.”
Rose also shared some of the great criticism that’s coming out about Rock’s new directorial feature Top Five, exclaiming, “They’re saying for the first time you’ve made a movie that’s as good as your stand-up.”
In the Paramount comedy, Rock plays a version of himself; a celebrity comic who endures the challenges of showbiz and goes for respectability.
Said Rock, “I wanted to do a movie about black fame. Being famous as a black guy is a little different than being famous as a white guy. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor, but Denzel Washington is a god to his people. Denzel Washington has a responsibility to his people that Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson, all these guys don’t have.”
Segueing to a screaming bit, Rock joked, “No one says ‘Hey, Tom Cruise! Stay white! Don’t forget your whiteness! Come back and visit white people! What-chu doin’ for white people, Tom Cruise?!'”
“(Black people) want to know that Denzel loves his people. That’s he doing stuff for his people. They feel his highs and lows more than white people. If Tom Hanks does a bad movie, there’s gonna be another good movie by somebody white next week. If Denzel does a bad movie, I might not see a good black movie for a year.”