Offline Reginald Hudlin

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April 18, 2014 By Justin Lesko

“We’re in New Brunswick. You’re here by choice. Why are you in New Brunswick by choice?” Chris Rock said to start his stand-up act last night.

“But at least we’re not in Camden.”

The legendary comedian debuted an hour and a half set to a packed house at The Stress Factory Comedy Club to prepare for an upcoming tour. The show was announced just after midnight on Wednesday and comes on the heels of four shows at the club last weekend.

Rather than the flashy suits worn in his HBO specials, Rock wore a black longsleeve tee, jeans and an all-black Mets hat. He traded in the stages of Madison Square Garden and Constitution Hall for the cramped Stress Factory stage, practically on top of the crowd.

His new material was anything but relaxed.

He said the lost Malaysian Airlines flight was actually in Camden. The government would not dare to search the crime-stricken city so they will never find.

The Brooklyn-raised comedian also took a shot at another New Jersey city when he listed Newark as one of the things God messed up making.

Rock once again discussed gun-related issues as he did in his 2000 HBO special Bigger and Blacker. Admittedly a gun owner, Rock said we should at least be honest with the terminology behind guns. Hunting is actually killing animals, a machine gun is a killing machine and punching someone is an assault, not shooting them, therefore “Chris Brown is an assault weapon.”

He also talked about his disdain for civil rights movies because they always try to make white viewers feel good. Harrison Ford in the movie ‘42’ tells Jackie Robinson that fans are going to taunt him with racial slurs, as if a black man in the forties needed a reminder that white people were racist according to Rock.

“Germans aren’t coming out of holocaust movies saying ‘That was good, I’m gonna get the DVD,’” he said.

Rock ended the show telling the story of when he went to “Black People Heaven” –President Obama’s 50th birthday party in the White House. While he was dancing to Beyonce in a room with Beyonce, Jay Z and Charles Barkley among others, he said he saw a “single tear of blood” come out of the George Washington’s eye in a painting on the wall.

Since all the material was new, the club was very careful to not let any of it leak online.

Every table had a note saying, “ANY USE OF CELL PHONES, CAMERAS, OR RECORDING DEVICES WILL RESULT IN IMMEDIATE EJECTION FROM THE SHOW WITH NO REFUNDS.” Signs were also posted and the announcer mentioned the same warning multiple times before the start of the show. Employees were actively patrolling the crowd for violators.

Because its 2014, a loud ringtone in the front of the crowd went off about half way through the show. Rock halted his set, visibly startled and asking what it was, but resumed without missing a beat.

The intimate venue provided a unique show for the comedian’s fans.

“We were surprised, like ‘Why is he in New Brunswick?” said Maria Castillo of North Brunswick, “Why isn’t he playing Carnegie Hall?”

Most became aware of the last minute show through word-of-mouth and social media.

“I actually follow the Stress Factory and [owner] Vinnie [Brand] on Twitter so I found out on there,” said Anita Anantharaman. “We tried to come last week but it sold out.”

Ardie Fuqua, who has been on the FX series Louie, opened up the night with a set that heavily involved lampooning the crowd. He was followed by Leslie Jones, an SNL writer who last played Lynette on the April 2 episode of Workaholics. Her extremely vocal set was matched by the crowd’s raucous applause.

“The whole team was nice,” said the comedian Lord. “Great show tonight.”

Offline Battle

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This is the Chris Rock that I remember from back-in-th'-day.  He would do these local shows at whims notice with no promotion or anything and pack those small outlets with a dedicated crowd...  and have you cryin' and holding your stomach from laughing so hard.  ;D

In the mid-90s, I was strolling down this boulevard somewhere near Long Beach one weekend and passed by this small club, saw Chris Rock on the marquee was doing stand-up for $17, and thought to myself, "Why not?"

Funniest show I ever saw him do live.  Hilarious!  :)

Offline Battle

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by Chris Rock

This story first appeared in the Dec. 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

I was probably 19 when I first came to Hollywood. Eddie Murphy brought me out to do Beverly Hills Cop II and he had a deal at Paramount, so I remember going through the gates of the Paramount lot. He's in a Rolls-Royce, and he's not just a star, he's the biggest star in the world. Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer's office was in the same building as Eddie's office, and they would come to work every day with matching cars. Some days it would be the Porsches, and the next day it would be Ferraris. I was like the kid in A Bronx Tale. I got to just hang around when the biggest parts of show business were happening. I was only there a couple of weeks, but I remember every day Jeffrey Katzenberg would call Eddie Murphy — I don't even know if Eddie was calling him back — but it was like, "Jeffrey Katzenberg called again." "Janet Jackson just called." "Michael Jackson called." It was that crazy. I've still never seen anything like it. I had a small part in the movie, but my dream was bigger than that. I wanted to have a convertible Rolls-Royce with a fine girl driving down Melrose blasting Prince.

Now I'm not Murphy, but I've done fine. And I try to help young black guys coming up because those people took chances on me. Eddie didn't have to put me in Beverly Hills Cop II. Keenen Wayans didn't have to put me in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.  Arsenio didn't have to let me on his show. I'd do the same for a young white guy, but here's the difference: Someone's going to help the white guy. Multiple people will. The people whom I've tried to help, I'm not sure anybody was going to help them.

And I have a decent batting average. I still remember people thinking I was crazy for hiring Wanda Sykes on my old HBO show. I recommended J.B. Smoove for Saturday Night Live, and I just helped Leslie Jones get on that show. She's about as funny as a human being can be, but she didn't go to Second City, she doesn't do stand-up at The Cellar and she's not in with Judd Apatow, so how the hell was she ever going to get through unless somebody like me says to Lorne Michaels, "Hey, look at this person"? I saw her at a comedy club four or five years ago, and I wrote her name down in my phone. I probably called four managers — the biggest managers in comedy — to manage her, and all of them said no. They didn't get it. They didn't get it until Lorne said yes a few years later, and then it was too late.

Some of these younger black guys just want me to see their act. Some come to me for advice. Hannibal Buress called the other day. They want to know about agents and managers and the business; this kind of deal and that kind of deal; dealing with the media and dealing with family; money crap and where they should live. It's big brother sh*t, and they ask because there aren't that many black people to turn to. Who do you hire? Where's the big black PR agency? Where are the big black agents? Where's the big black film producer? That's why I've been all over Steve McQueen. I put a microchip in Steve's pocket and track him like an Uber driver. Steve thinks we keep bumping into each other by accident. "Hey, Steve, my man!" I don't care if I have to play a whip, I'm going to be in a Steve McQueen movie. But I digress.

It's a white industry. Just as the NBA is a black industry. I'm not even saying it's a bad thing. It just is. And the black people they do hire tend to be the same person. That person tends to be female and that person tends to be Ivy League. And there's nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, that's what I want for my daughters. But something tells me that the life my privileged daughters are leading right now might not make them the best candidates to run the black division of anything. And the person who runs the black division of a studio should probably have worked with black people at some point in their life. Clint Culpepper [a white studio chief who specializes in black movies] does a good job at Screen Gems because he's the kind of guy who would actually go see Best Man Holiday. But how many black men have you met working in Hollywood? They don't really hire black men. A black man with bass in his voice and maybe a little hint of facial hair? Not going to happen. It is what it is. I'm a guy who's accepted it all.

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