Chris Rock Discusses 'Down to Earth'
Aired February 12, 2001 - 9:00 p.m. ET
This is a poorly done transcript by the CCN.
Third graders could've done better.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, if comedy was a crime, he'd be at the top of
FBI's most-wanted list. He's Chris Rock! Who wrote that? He'll take your calls,
next, on LARRY KING LIVE!
The man is thrilled. He's being seen around the world, he's got a new movie.
He's executive producer, screenwriter and star of "Down to Earth." It opens this
week. We'll talk about a lot and a lot about it a lot later on.
You're thrilled, aren't you?
CHRIS ROCK: I am thrilled I'm on the Larry King show.
KING: This is beyond belief.
ROCK: It's all over the world. I've been all over the world, and you're,
McDonald's, you're everywhere. Love it.
KING: So we're a staple, is that...
ROCK: You're a staple.
KING: And so are you, Chris. You've become an institution.
ROCK: I'm trying.
KING: It's an honor to have you.
ROCK: It's an honor to be here.
KING: OK. Before we talk about the film, which is a wild idea to make this
movie again, because it's only the third time this movie...
ROCK: Third or fourth I think.
KING: OK. We'll get to that. The big news of the day, tomorrow morning it's expected...
ROCK: What now?
KING: ... that President Clinton will take his office space in Harlem.
ROCK: Yes! I didn't know. You're the first person to tell me that.
KING: Yes. All right, I'll give you the news. An apparent -- now, it's
but it looks that way.
ROCK: You can't stop him! He's the greatest of all time! They should --
Will Smith playing Ali. Let Clinton play Ali . He's the greatest.
KING: Is he black?
ROCK: He's black. He's blue. He's just the best of all time. You can't stop him.
ROCK: Because he actually knows people. He actually is one of the people.
He is not a politician. He's happened to be in politics. This just happened to be a
way for him to get some food or something. This guy is one of the people.
KING: In other words, like a person would give a gift, he'd take the gift, right?
ROCK: Yes. He's going to move to Harlem. You can't stop him. Now everybody
who moved into a nice neighborhood looks bad.
All of them -- Reagan, Carter, Bush. Now they all look bad. He's going
into Harlem. He's helping out a whole community.
KING: Prices will go up.
ROCK: Prices will go up. Who's better than that? You can't stop Clinton.
KING: But aren't you offended at this...
ROCK: I'm not offended.
KING: How about the Marc Rich pardon?
ROCK: I don't care.
KING: The guy's on the FBI list.
ROCK: He's the president. He could pardon Manson if he wants to.
KING: Yes. But wouldn't you be offended?
ROCK: I'm not offended.
KING: You don't care who he pardons.
ROCK: I don't care.
KING: Shocked at this.
ROCK: Did Marc Rich shoot anybody?
ROCK: Did he punch anybody in the face?
KING: You forgive him anything.
ROCK: I'm fine, hey, whatever.
KING: How about the gifts in the White House, taking all those gifts?
ROCK: Well, it's his stuff.
KING: No, but it's supposed to be your stuff. It belongs to...
ROCK: I don't want that stuff. I don't want the couch. What am I going
with a presidential couch. Let the man take the stuff. He got a new office.
You know what's up with that office, no furniture.
KING: That's right. You need the furniture.
ROCK: So now he takes some furniture out of the White House, put it in
office. What's wrong with that?
KING: How about Hillary?
ROCK: Hillary is fine.
KING: You don't complain about anything.
ROCK: Hillary's a good woman. Stand by your man.
KING: Really stand by your man.
ROCK: Stand by your man.
KING: Were you offended by Lewinsky?
ROCK: Hey, Lewinsky. He's the leader of the free world. He needed to relieve some stress.
KING: You have found a way for everything. Is there anything you don't like?
ROCK: Money, sex, power, they are connected. You don't want power just
sleep with one woman.
KING: You've got a point, Chris. OK...
ROCK: I rule the world so I can sleep with you?
I rule the world so I can sleep with you, you, you, you, and you.
KING: Is there anything about him you don't like?
ROCK: The shorts, sometimes, little shorts.
You can bring it down a little to the knee. But other than that, he's all
I'm cool with Clinton, man. Clinton, and then for comedy, the greatest president ever.
ROCK: Yeah, yeah.
KING: A comedian's dream.
ROCK: He created comedians. There are comedians that wouldn't even
-- it's like
the O.J. trial created...Yeah, Greta. I didn't known who the hell Greta was before
the O.J. trial. Clinton created comedians.
KING: And so Hillary, you like the whole scene. Everything about them...
ROCK: I love her.
KING: Now, you're a Brooklyn kid.
ROCK: I'm from Brooklyn.
KING: I'm a Brooklyn. There's a special thing about growing -- you still
ROCK: Bed-Stuy do-or-die. I still live in Brooklyn. I live in Fort Rigg
It's nice. It's nice. I've got a nice carriage house. It's cool.
KING: What part did Brooklyn mean to you?
KING: In creating you?
ROCK: In creating me?
KING: I mean, it's -- it's in your bones, isn't it?
ROCK: It's in my bones. Yeah, and it's weird. I grew up like in the hood.
up in Bed-Stuy, but I went to school in like Bensonhurst and Garrison Beach.
Yes. I saw the worst of black people. I saw the worst of white people.
It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.
KING: You went to Madison High School?
ROCK: Yeah, I went to Madison, and somebody like hit me in the head with a bat, you know.
KING: Were you a good student?
ROCK: I sucked in school.
ROCK: Yeah. I -- was it -- for what? I wanted to be a comedian.
KING: You were a class clown?
ROCK: I was the roadie for the class clown. I used to set up the
lights and sound, get it all ready for him.
KING: Roadie for the class...
ROCK: Pat him on the back. Hey, good show, man.
KING: Let's talk about some other things currently on the scene.
What do you make of the auspicious beginning of President Bush?
ROCK: Auspicious? Hey, now, I already said I'm bad in school, man.
Come on, man, bring it down.
KING: OK. What do you make of George Bush's first three, four weeks?
ROCK: It's OK. Hey, I didn't vote for him, but at the same time, I want
him to do OK.
I don't want to sit here and complain about a guy for four years. Got a lot of brothers in
he Cabinet, you know. Kind of looks like -- what's the guy? -- Dave Matthews.
He's surrounded by black people.
KING: Well, you've got Colin.
ROCK: Yeah. Colin all right.
KING: Condoleezza Rice.
ROCK: Condoleezza Rice, you know. We got the -- what's the other guy? Come
on, somebody help me out, one of you smart people. The education guy,
whatever his name is.
KING: Oh yeah, that's right.
ROCK: That's a brother.
KING: That's a brother, from Houston.
ROCK: Yeah, yeah. A brother from Houston.
KING: That make you feel good? Three brothers.
ROCK: Yeah, that's -- yeah, it -- I think every black person that
voted for him actually got a job in the Cabinet. Every one.
KING: We're back with film star Chris Rock. He's now a film star. He doesn't
a show on HBO anymore because he is a film star. And his newest film, "Down
to Earth," is a remake of -- which...
ROCK: "Heaven Can Wait," "Here Comes Mr. Jordan."
KING: "Heaven Can Wait," "Here Comes Mr. Jordan," whatever it was.
ROCK: And a play.
KING: The original silent movie, and it was written by Shakespeare. We'll
right back. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "CHRIS ROCK: BIGGER AND BLACKER")
ROCK: Everybody expects this holy behavior, because he's the president.
Expects him to behave this holy way. He's just the president. He ain't Reverend
It ain't Pastor Clinton.
It ain't Maharashi Clinton.
It is just Bill Clinton.
He just a man. A man going to be a man.
A man is basically as faithful as his options.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "POLITICALLY INCORRECT")
BILL MAHER, HOST: It's over. Did you ever consider voting for Dole? You
covered him all here for us.
ROCK: Yeah. It never ever, ever, ever...
... ever was -- no, no. I can't vote for a guy that had slaves. I couldn't do that.
MAHER: But -- what about the fact that Jack Kemp now, come on, more than
even the Democratic candidate, went to the hood, as the kids say? Do you think
that had any effect?
ROCK: Well, put it this way. I don't think Dole, you know, I don't think
would get the black vote if he had Shawn Kemp as his running mate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That, of course, was four years ago. What about Al Gore? Do you feel
sorry for Al Gore?
ROCK: A little bit. I mean, kind of wasn't that smart with the whole thing.
end, if he would have just said, let's recount Florida...
KING: The whole state.
ROCK: ... he would have been fine. No, he says, let's count, you know, 48th Street and 3rd Avenue.
So then they got him. Be a man. Let's, you know, recount Florida.
KING: Other things in the news. Jesse Jackson has a love child.
ROCK: Yes, he does. Money, sex, power. They go together.
KING: So this...
ROCK: They're not separated.
KING: So this does not reduce him in your image.
ROCK: Hey, it's Jesse Jackson, man. You know, he is somebody.
He is somebody's baby's daddy. That's what he is.
KING: So -- suddenly, anything goes? Is it...
ROCK: Anything always went. We just happen to have 350 channels
television now, we have to fill them up. These are not new predicaments.
KING: Mapping the human genome.
ROCK: I know nothing -- again I didn't go to school, Larry.
KING: Yeah, but what do you think of the fact that we can maybe take a gene...
KING: ... that you could be white.
ROCK: Yeah, right.
Who's this going to help?
KING: Well, they think in the future it might help people. You know, you
maybe get perfect babies.
ROCK: Who's a perfect baby?
KING: A baby who will never have disease.
ROCK: Yeah, but what if they're an idiot?
KING: That's right.
ROCK: Give me a sick smart baby. instead of some healthy idiot.
KING: Well, we might be able to change colors, change sex, change...
ROCK: Personality, can we change personality?
KING: You're 35 years old now.
ROCK: Yeah, I'm old, it's over. I had a nice run, though.
Well, I'm almost dead. I got, you know, it's -- I mean, come on.
KING: Do you feel old?
ROCK: Put it this way, anything past -- OK, I'm 35, which makes 70 -- you
know, I'm middle-aged, right? To me -- how old are you?
ROCK: Yeah, any day now, man.
Well, after you turn 70, my god, anything you die of after 70 is natural causes.
Even if you get hit by a truck when you're 70, that's natural causes. You know why?
ROCK: Because if you were younger, you would have got out of the way.
KING: That's right. That's a good point.
ROCK: You would have said, "Hey, truck!"
KING: All right. O.J. -- what do you make of this? Road rage.
ROCK: Road rage. Everything -- he's is wake-up rage. Egg-rage when he eats.
It's all rage with O.J.
KING: How did you feel during that whole thing?
ROCK: The O.J. trial? See, I -- did he do it? Of course he did it.
If he didn't do
it, she ain't dead. That's the way I look at it.
You know, I just look at O.J., best football player I ever saw. I never
Brown, like that's my dad's football player.
KING: But that doesn't excuse...
ROCK: No, that does not excuse. You know, that would have given him one murder.
(UNINTELLIGIBLE) just got Nicole off the 2,000-yard season.
KING: That's right, one murder.
ROCK: But two, well, now he's -- he got nothing for that.
KING: How about the Puffy Combs trial? He's on trial for weapons and bribery.
ROCK: I want Puffy to get off, to tell you the truth...
...because he gives the best parties in all of New York.
No -- you ever been to a Puffy party?
ROCK: Man, boy...
KING: Why? What happens at a Puffy party?
ROCK: Puffy gives -- nobody gives a Puffy -- a party like Puff Daddy? He did...
KING: What happens?
ROCK: Because you got your girls, you got the music, the ambience. It's -- I don't know...
KING: Take your wife to the party?
ROCK: No, you don't take your wife to the Puffy party. You don't do that.
KING: That's one of the...
ROCK: That's one of those parties, it's over, everybody, shhh, OK, don't
nothing, we were all at the circus.
KING: All right.
ROCK: I love the Puffy party. Please, let Puffy free.
KING: Morgan Freeman says that you'd be a good secretary of state.
with you in "Nurse Betty," played the first black president. And Freeman said, if he ever got
elected in real life, he would pick you as secretary of state. Can you see yourself going over
to Israel and -- can you be Colin?
ROCK: Could I be Colin? I couldn't -- Colin is real smart. I could be president, though.
KING: You don't have to be as smart to be...
ROCK: Well, come on, look at it. I don't think our president is as smart
as our secretary of state. Most people wouldn't, you know...
KING: Do you think you'd be a good president?
ROCK: I'd be all right. I'd be like Clinton, man.
I'd be one of the people.
KING: One of the guys.
ROCK: Yeah, occasionally, you catch me with an intern or something.
KING: So what, right?
ROCK: So what.
KING: We'll be back with more of Chris Rock. We'll be talking about his
film and the premiere is tonight.
ROCK: Yeah, if I was the president, we'd be having some Puffy parties at the White House.
KING: What -- oh, what would the party be like?
ROCK: Oh, man.
Send Hillary to some other country or do some humanitarian work, and we'd really set it off.
KING: We'll be back with Chris Rock. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
ROCK: Everybody talk about it's about race, it's about race. That's a bunch
crap. It's about fame, because if O.J. wasn't famous, he'd be in jail right now.
That's right. If O.J. drove a bus, he wouldn't even be O.J.
He'd be Orenthal the bus-driving murderer.
(END VIDEO CLIP of "Nurse Betty")
KING: That was with Morgan Freeman. Now, are you an actor in that scene or are you...
ROCK: I'm trying to act. I'm just trying to keep up with Morgan Freeman.
KING: What's it like working with him?
ROCK: It's like -- it's incredible, man. He's so good. And I mean, he's
rehearsal. He's good -- like, the first time he reads it, it's perfect.
He was really good with me on that movie, because when I would overact,
which, you know, comedians have a tendency to do, then he would overact, and
then I would see how silly I looked doing something. Then I would know to bring it down.
KING: Do you like acting?
ROCK: Yeah, it's all right.
ROCK: It's -- because it's better than being a bus boy.
KING: I know, but do you like it as good as standup?
ROCK: No, I don't like it as good as standup. It's...
KING: There's nothing like making someone laugh.
ROCK: In standup, again, when you're doing movies, you have to -- you know,
you've got to pay attention to the director, the lighting designer, you've got other
actors. I mean, you've really got to give, give, give. When you're doing standup,
it's all about me. I mean, I've got to give it up to the audience, but the rest of the day is just...
KING: Is that true, that you wanted to be president when you were a kid?
ROCK: Yeah. When I was a little boy, man, I wanted to be the president
United States. That's all I wanted to be. And my mother kept on saying, no,
you're going to get shot in the head, no, you're going to get shot. No, no, you
can't be president, I don't want to hear that in my house.
KING: She really said that?
ROCK: My mother really would say that.
KING: That could take you off the track.
ROCK: Yeah, and then I'm like OK, so I'll drop out of school.
KING: Were you really a bad student?
ROCK: Yeah. It wasn't that I was a bad student. It's just I figured out
school at a
young age. And school is not -- first of all, if you get an A, they treat you
different, but if you get a B, you're in the same class as kids with F's. So I just
knew I wasn't going to get an A, and just why am I going to bust my behind to
be with a kid with an F? I just didn't...
KING: So you just coasted?
ROCK: I kind of coasted, and my dad didn't go to school, and he made more
money than my mother, so -- who went to school. So it was like, what's the point?
I can read, I can write, I can count my change.
KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) true to this day, right?
ROCK: Yeah, still true to this day. Hey, I recommend that all kids go to
But on an average day, I mean, how much -- how much do you use?
KING: You were bussed, right?
ROCK: Yeah, I was bussed to -- from Bed-Stuy to Garrison Beach.
KING: Which is an all -- all-white area.
ROCK: Yeah, but it's a poor white area. It's more -- it was actually a
neighborhood than the one I lived in.
KING: So you had reverse busing.
ROCK: Yeah, it wasn't like -- it wasn't even white trash. It was like white toxic waste.
KING: Were you beat up?
ROCK: I got beat up every single day.
KING: Because you're a frail...
ROCK: I got beat up every day. I got called "nigger" every day, girls and
every single day. Every day.
KING: Did this leave you with some kind of understandable white hatred?
ROCK: I guess some hatred. At the same time, though, you've got to realize
there was -- my best friend -- since I was in the school, couldn't go anywhere --
my best friend would end up being a white kid. Always. Normally a Jewish kid.
Because they were getting their ass kicked, too, but only after careful
interrogation. You know what I'm saying? (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
So it was just me and the Jews.
KING: You're favorite is Rickles, though, right?
ROCK: I love Rickles.
KING: You're going to come on here with him?
ROCK: I'm coming to come on with Rickles one day. Yeah, I love Rickles.
all -- I love every guy. I love Rickles. I love Alan King. I love Rodney...
KING: Lewis -- Jerry Lewis.
ROCK: I love -- there's nothing funnier than Jerry Lewis sitting down right
every Labor Day, right before Labor Day.
KING: Yeah, he comes on...
ROCK: Oh, when you get -- when you ask for a talent like Jerry Lewis, the
goes up. Who's got a bigger ego than Jerry Lewis? No one in the whole world.
Deion Sanders is like, man, that guy got a big head.
KING: Talks about giving to the kids, though.
ROCK: Whoo -- no, it's great. All the others -- you know, the kids stuff
But boy, Jerry Lewis, biggest ego ever. I love him. I love him. But boy,
Muhammad Ali is like, "Hey, quiet down, man."
KING: We'll be back with more of Chris Rock. He's got a wild movie coming.
It's been made before, but when Chris does it, he does it differently. Don't go away.
ROCK: Where do you get this stuff?
KING: You don't like that movie? "CB4"?
ROCK: I was young, I was young.
KING: You were young, you were innocent.
ROCK: I was young, innocent.
KING: What did I know?
All right, before we talk about some other things, now let's talk about...
ROCK: More Jerry Lewis.
KING: No, let's talk a little bit about "Down to Earth." Why did you do
that's been done?
ROCK: OK, you got to understand this.
KING: This is guy who dies, comes back to Earth.
ROCK: Guy dies, comes back to Earth, takes a new body. I take the body
old white guy and try to win the girl. So...
KING: Wait a minute, wait a minute. You don't come back as a football player.
ROCK: I don't come back as a football player.
KING: Or a boxer?
ROCK: Or a boxer. No, no, no, no.
KING: What do you come back as?
ROCK: I come back as an old white guy. I come back as a guy like you.
KING: First and last appearance.
ROCK: An older -- an older -- well, don't be mad. Old white guy -- old
guys run the world.
KING: I'm not mad. I'm an old white guy. Hey, you're not kidding.
KING: So wait a minute.
ROCK: Who's got it better than you?
KING: When you die...
ROCK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is an old white guy, open up the door.
KING: When you die, you were a comic?
KING: You were a bad comic?
ROCK: Yeah, I was horrible.
KING: OK. So how do you die?
ROCK: I get hit by a truck.
KING: That's where that truck came from. OK...
KING: And you go to heaven, and who's your guide back?
ROCK: Chazz Palminteri.
KING: Great actor.
ROCK: Incredible actor. Helped me out a lot.
KING: So how do you play a white guy, though?
ROCK: Well, in Warren Beatty's one, you never get to see what he really
like so you just see him.
KING: That's right.
ROCK: In my version, you see me most of the time, but every now and then
a comedic effect you see this old white guy. So I come back as an old white guy.
KING: We'll -- let's show a clip.
ROCK: Let's show a clip.
KING: OK. This is from "Down to Earth." The world premiere is tonight.
opens Friday everywhere. It was known as originally Dr. -- Mr. Jordan and...
ROCK: "Here comes Mr. Jordan," "Heaven Can Wait."
KING: And "Heaven Can Wait." And now it's...
ROCK: Now "Down to Earth."
KING: "Down to Earth," watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "DOWN TO EARTH")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, the white guy is a comic?
ROCK: No, no, no. You barely see him. He's like Bill Gates or something.
KING: OK. He's a big man.
ROCK: He's a big man.
KING: So then what are you doing when he's on Earth? I mean, where is --
you in the movie?
ROCK: I'm in his body.
KING: So you talk when he talks.
ROCK: I talk. Yeah, you see me the whole movie, but every now and then,
see the old white guy. And it's really funny, Larry.
KING: Is -- if you're in it, it's funny.
ROCK: I'm in it.
KING: You also wrote it.
ROCK: Wrote -- co-wrote with some guys from the "Chris Rock Show," Ali
LeRoi, Lance Crouther and Louis C.K.
KING: You're an exec producer?
ROCK: Produced, yeah. So you know, it's "The Chris Rock Show" crew doing
KING: Who's the love interest?
ROCK: Regina King, the lovely Regina King from -- she was Cuba Gooding's
wife in "Jerry Maguire."
KING: Oh, yeah.
ROCK: And she's great. It was like -- it was like I was on a 3- month date
KING: Are you a movie star now?
ROCK: No, no. Tom Cruise is a movie star, Eddie is a movie star. I've just
in some movies.
KING: That's all you consider yourself, I've been...
ROCK: You know, it's a big difference.
KING: Well, but...
ROCK: You know what, movie star -- a movie star can put out a piece of
and people actually go to see it. I can't do that. I got to do a good movie and
hope, and maybe they'll still go see it.
KING: Oh, so you have to be good.
ROCK: Yeah, I got to be good, and this movie is good, because I know that.
KING: Are you envious of movie stars?
ROCK: No, no, I'm doing fine.
KING: I mean you don't feel that you'd like to be a star-star?
ROCK: I'm fine. I can get tickets to the Knicks game. (LAUGHTER)
I mean, I can get some good seats to the Knicks, what else I do really need?
KING: What else is there in life?
ROCK: What else is there in life?
KING: You've never moved out here. You're a New York kid. You're staying...
ROCK: I'm a New York guy. Yeah, this is -- it's all right. Actually, I'm
good time out here because it's the winter and everything. But you know, I'll
move out here when the Knicks move out here.
KING: You have children?
ROCK: I have no kids. Nothing.
KING: You say that like you're happy. Wouldn't you like to have...
ROCK: I guess some day. You know, I was the oldest of seven -- I have seven
brothers, and I've got six brothers and a sister. So I grew up in a crowded
house, and when my mother was pregnant, she used to like run a day-care
center in my house. My house was crowded. So I love coming home to no noise.
KING: Yeah, I can understand.
ROCK: I -- my house used to be crowded, man. Kids everywhere.
KING: So did you sort of go off in the corner or...
ROCK: Yeah, I'd actually like hide in the tub sometimes...
... just to get some quiet.
KING: We'll be right back with Chris Rock. The new movie is "Down to Earth."
We'll be including your phone calls. This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
KING: That's a scene from "Down to Earth," in which we do get a glimpse
Chris as an old white guy.
ROCK: See. You see me and you see the guy.
KING: I see how it works. See you, see the guy.
ROCK: Yeah, it's very complicated.
KING: Good idea. What's your perception of heaven?
ROCK: In this movie, heaven is a disco.
KING: You don't walk on clouds?
ROCK: No, no. There's some clouds in there, but it's a disco, and it's
to get in unless you're a really hot woman, then you get right in. Everybody else...
KING: There's guys at the door...
ROCK: Yeah, yeah. It's a velvet rope. Everybody else has to earn it, unless
you're hot. Then, ooh, come right in.
KING: Do you think that, on a serious note, that the black performer is
equal in Hollywood?
ROCK: Now equal...
KING: By equal, I mean in other words...
ROCK: I mean, we are equal. Do we get treated equal?
KING: That's what I meant.
ROCK: No, not yet.
KING: There's still...
ROCK: I mean, it's easy to get treated equal at the top, if you're Eddie
you're Denzel. Yeah. But until the middle gets treated equal, then there's no --
there's no equality. Until a black guy can suck like a white guy...
... then there's no equality.
KING: So in other words, the block guy has to be great.
ROCK: The black guy has got to be incredible. It's like -- it's like baseball
be. No black utility infielders.
KING: That's correct. No black -- that was true. You couldn't be...
ROCK: Right. Every brother had to knock in 85 runs at least.
KING: Do you ever miss "Saturday Night Live"?
ROCK: Not at all.
KING: No, you didn't...
ROCK: I miss the camaraderie of hanging out with my friends. I miss, you
know, every day me, Adam Sadler, Chris Farley, David Spade, you know, Tim
Meadows, we used to share an office. So I miss hanging out with the guys. But
I don't miss the drain and the pressure of going live once a week every Saturday
and competing with people and all that stuff.
KING: That was a lot of pressure.
ROCK: That's a lot. That's a lot. And you've got to deal with like your
You -- every time you go out there, you've got the ghost of Eddie Murphy and
the ghost of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and all these guys just hovering
around. You've got to be that good.
KING: Why did you drop the HBO show?
ROCK: You know what, it was time. It was-- I started the show with my
friends. And it's -- we call it "The Chris Rock Show," like the Larry King show
-- it's me and other people. And for mere, you know, we got some success and
those people started leaving. You know, we won an Emmy and people started
getting hired for other shows. Then the next thing you know, I'm coming to
work and I don't know people. You know, who's that guy? What's his name
again? What's her name?
That's not fun. So I wanted to get out on top.
Remember, when Sugar Ray fought Macho Camacho like a year ago?
ROCK: I didn't want you to see me like that.
KING: Willie Mays striking out.
ROCK: Yeah, Willie Mays striking out, missing that fly ball.
KING: Go out on top.
ROCK: Go out on top, like Michael Jordan. Hit the shot, see you.
KING: So now what are you doing standup? You're going to do a tour?
ROCK: I'm going to tour probably in the fall. Probably in the fall.
KING: Play big rooms.
ROCK: Big, big, big tour. Chris Rock, "Black Ambition Tour." Huge.
KING: The Black Ambition...
ROCK: Yeah. It's going to be a big tour.
KING: You're going to have an opening rock act, or it's just you.
ROCK: No, no, no. It's just going to be me, maybe some more comedy. But
yeah, I'm going to do a big one this fall.
KING: And now this exec produce thing, does this mean now you're going to be a mogul?
ROCK: I don't want to produce things. I don't want to write a script. I
want to do all these things.
ROCK: But right now, where I am in Hollywood, I get scripts after Eddie
Murphy, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Chris Tucker. I mean, Adam
Sadler, Mike Meyers. Do you know how bad the scripts I get must be?
KING: Yeah. What kind do you see?
ROCK: Yeah, I get like the worst scripts, man. So I've got to write, I've got to produce.
KING: Give me an example of something...
ROCK: A typical script for me is what like I call...
KING: Your agent said, Chris, here, read this.
ROCK: They're what I like to call "The keyless black men scripts," because
young black men in movies never need keys. They're always like, hey, the door's
looked. Ooh, well, give me a toothpick. You know...
Oh, no. How do we get in this car? Give me a hair brush. So you know...
I always start a movie -- the typical script is I rob people.
I do some illegal activity in the beginning, right. And I -- and I'm not
at doing that illegal activity.
So I'm not even like a master crook, right?
KING: You're a bad thief.
ROCK: Then I meet a white man, and he shows me the light.
Thank God for Whitey. He shows me write from wrong, good from bad, black from white.
KING: We'll be back with phone calls for Chris Rock. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW")
ROCK: Jump a subway turnstile, you might just get off with a warning from
police. But if you jump a turnstile carrying a loaded gun and smoking a joint, then
maybe you need your ass kicked.
We all know what happened to Rodney King. But Rodney wouldn't have gotten
his ass kicked if he had just finished this simple tip. When you see flashing police
lights in your mirror, stop immediately. Everybody knows if the police have to
come and get you, they're bringing an ass kicking with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Chris Rock...
ROCK: I was like an extra in that movie.
KING: "Sgt. Bilko," we find everything.
ROCK: Brian Grazer felt sorry for me.
KING: He gave you a role.
ROCK: Put me in the movie, I guess.
KING: Let's take a call for Chris Rock. His new one premieres -- you're
the premiere tonight, right?
KING: They're all coming. Richard Pryor's coming.
ROCK: Pryor's coming. Eddie's coming. Yeah. Seinfeld.
KING: The movie's "Down to Earth."
Orlando, Florida, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Chris.
CALLER: I think you're the best comedian since Richard Pryor...
ROCK: Thank you.
CALLER: ... and I'm wondering, who inspired you to get into this business?
ROCK: Actually probably my -- a lot of people. Bill Cosby early on. When
Cosby used to host "The Tonight Show," nothing was better than that.
Cool -- remember cool Cosby with the cool suits on. So Bill Cosby, Pryor,
Murphy later on. Probably Murphy was like the guy that I looked at and said, oh,
wow, that guy, I can do that. He's like my age and everything.
KING: Were you a funny kid? Were you -- when you were 14, did you crack
ROCK: Not the house, probably the stoop.
ROCK: I was great on the stoop, man.
KING: How about at school, did you kid around?
ROCK: No, I was too busy getting beat up.
KING: That's right. You got beat up a lot.
ROCK: In between beatings.
KING: Did you graduate high school?
ROCK: No, I did not graduate. I dropped out and got a GED, good enough diploma.
KING: When you dropped out, what kind of work did you do?
ROCK: I worked at like a McDonald's and (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And put it this
way, every job I had, if someone threw up, I had to get the mop. So...
KING: Wait a minute.
ROCK: I was mop boy.
KING: Where was your McDonald's? In Brooklyn?
ROCK: My McDonald's was on Fulton and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
KING: Fulton, that's a tough neighborhood.
ROCK: Yeah. Hey, man.
KING: Were you good at McDonald's?
ROCK: I was OK. I pretty much sucked at most of my jobs, because I was
miserable. I didn't...
KING: What was your first paid comedy job?
ROCK: First paid comedy job was a place called Catch a Rising Star. Not
anymore. Went up audition night, and they paid me because I passed the
audition. And I got $5. Five bucks.
KING: Do you remember any of your routine?
ROCK: I did some joke, I said Miles Davis is so black lighting bugs follow him in the daytime.
ROCK: It's the only one I remember.
KING: Do you always do your own material?
ROCK: Yeah, always wrote my own stuff.
KING: So you never depended on writers.
ROCK: No. Early -- now, I mean...
KING: "Saturday Night Live," though, you had to depend...
ROCK: Yeah, you had a bunch of writers at "Saturday Night Live," and when
did my show, there were other writers. But standup wise, I mean, I've got to get
that together. That's, you know -- I can't hire a guy to write about my mother.
KING: That's right.
ROCK: My wife, my...
KING: Has it been difficult to deal with the ego question? I mean, you
when you get a lot of fame -- and you've gotten a lot -- you call yourself...
ROCK: No, I'm no Larry King.
You're not an old white man, that's for... (LAUGHTER)
We'll take a break and we'll be back with more of Chris Rock. The movie
"Down to Earth," and we'll take some more phone calls for Chris right after this.
KING: What's it like working with a Eddie Murphy?
ROCK: Ah, that was cool, man.
KING: Eddie Murphy and you.
ROCK: Eddie Murphy and me, and "Boomerang" is really great, because he
the company and I'm the mailroom guy. And you know what's great about it?
That's our real relationship.
KING: They were filming real life.
ROCK: Yeah, they were filming real life. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and I'm pushing...
KING: By the way, he still can't get over the fact -- I mean, we don't
sure, but apparently Bill Clinton is going to take office space in Harlem. And
when I told it was 400,000 a year...
ROCK: If Clinton -- 400,000? The whole Harlem only costs 2 million.
They got him. If Clinton takes an office in Harlem, I'm taking an office in the same building.
KING: Well, this is a historic night.
ROCK: Yes. If Clinton does it, I'll do it.
ROCK: But Bill, you better really be there. Don't have no side office downtown...
... where you do your real business, you do your real entertaining.
KING: Tallulah, Louisiana, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Chris.
CALLER: How do you feel about your audiences from the South?
ROCK: I love the South. I'm from -- you know, I was born in actually South
Carolina, and my mother lives in a Myrtle Beach right now. So I'm a big -- I love
-- I love playing the South. I love being in the South. I love getting -- I love the
fact that when you go down South the ice tea is sweetened already.
KING: That's true.
ROCK: Yeah, man.
KING: They take to you well there?
ROCK: Yeah. I've always had great shows in the South, especially Atlanta.
real good town for me.
KING: Mountain View, Arkansas, hello.
CALLER: Chris, you're going to the top.
ROCK: Thank you.
CALLER: A guy like you, I've just got to ask, what's your favorite pastime?
What do you like to do for fun?
ROCK: I like going to basketball names, love my Knicks, love music, can
any concert. I probably go in a record store every day looking for records. So...
KING: You like all kinds of music?
ROCK: Sports and music. And I like all kinds of music. If you play, if
I'll get into it.
KING: Like Ricky Martin?
ROCK: He's all right. He's all right, you know. I'd prefer Marc Anthony, but Rick's all...
KING: All right now, Marc -- both of them -- both of them.
ROCK: Marc Anthony is like really, really some good stuff.
KING: Both work for my charity, and Marc Anthony just did a bit for me
Sunday night. He is incredible.
ROCK: Yeah, Marc Anthony is incredible. Ricky's good, too. Ricky's great,
know, but Marc Anthony, I like that a little more.
KING: Do you have any problems -- you use a lot of rough language in your act.
KING: Lenny Bruce got arrested for...
ROCK: Yeah. It's 2001, man. It's -- I mean, I've been fortunate that I
work in cable TV.
I probably wouldn't even exist right now if it wasn't for HBO and the freedom not with just the
language. You can talk about things on HBO that you couldn't talk about on a network.
So I -- I owe much of my success to HBO.
KING: Did they ever censor you?
ROCK: Never. HBO is great. Never, ever, ever. See, HBO is run by
subscriptions. So they really -- it is really a network of the people.
KING: One of the -- our companies, AOL Time Waner.
ROCK: Yeah, yes. So there whole thing is if the people are happy, they
care. When you work on a network, it's the sponsors who think they know what
the people want. So it's diluted.
KING: I noticed you were looking over at the "MONEYLINE" set.
ROCK: Yeah, the "MONEYLINE"...
KING: And you were saying your friends...
ROCK: A lot of my friends lost a lot of money off this Internet stuff.
Yeah, I never believed it for one second.
KING: You never invested in a dot-com.
ROCK: I didn't invest it. No, no. I got -- somebody's trying to sue me
something. But I never put my money into...
KING: Suing you over what?
ROCK: I can't even talk about it, because then they'll sue me some more.
KING: Do you know how do dot-com?
ROCK: A little bit.
KING: You can work...
ROCK: I write long-hand, man. I'm old school. I take a pen, a red pen and
yellow legal pad, I write wry jokes, I write scripts. I write everything long-hand,
give it to somebody.
KING: Now, if you were doing -- if you were going on stage tonight...
KING: ... it would be Bill Clinton in Harlem, right?
ROCK: Oh, man, Clinton in Harlem. Please, he's the greatest.
KING: We'll be back with out -- he loves this.
ROCK: Who's better than Clinton? Who's better than him?
KING: We'll be back with more of our remaining moments with Chris Rock.
movie is "Down to Earth." It opens Friday. Don't go away.
KING: Hope you've enjoyed this. Just two guys from Brooklyn having fun.
haven't seen "Survivor"?
ROCK: You know, Larry, I'm from the hood. That's all the "Survivor" I need.
KING: That's surviving...
ROCK: Yeah, you -- I'll take you to my old block, you -- and now I'm on
Larry King show. You tell me who the survivor is.
KING: Take these 12 people and put them on your old block.
ROCK: Yeah, I take 12 people from Bed-Stuy, and the one who's on the Larry
King show is the survivor.
KING: That's funny. What do you make of the Robert Downey Jr. thing?
ROCK: You know, some people just like cocaine. Some people like strawberry
ice cream. Some people like cocaine. He likes cocaine.
KING: So in other words, why arrest him?
ROCK: As long as you don't hurt nobody -- he likes cocaine.
KING: Why do you think that upsets so many? Because, well, they don't want
children to use it and you don't want -- it's a bad example.
KING: It's a very -- people drink. More people die from alcohol than cocaine.
More people crash cars and all -- alcohol causes much more horrible things.
KING: So you would certainly use Robert Downey Jr. in a movie?
ROCK: Oh, I'm not going that far.
I'm not relying on the coke head.
He's not going to hold up my show.
Man, I'm black, man. People are looking for me to mess up every day. You've
got to be on point if you're on my team.
KING: Las Vegas, last call, hello.
CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, Chris. Got a quick question. Where do you see yourself
in 20 years?
ROCK: Where do I see myself in 20 years?
KING: You'll be 55 years old. What will a 55-year-old Chris Rock be?
ROCK: Hopefully doing the same thing I'm doing right now.
KING: Making movies.
ROCK: Making movies. Hopefully just making people laugh. Hopefully. Yeah.
Hopefully that. Or I could have a show like Larry here.
KING: Would you like this kind...
ROCK: Yeah, it's a great gig. You come on. You interview people an hour,
ain't really an hour. You've got commercials and clips.
KING: You go home -- it's a good deal.
ROCK: Yeah. People don't know, but during the clips Larry got some stripper
giving him a massage.
KING: It's a good job, right...
ROCK: It's the greatest gig ever. You go -- we're back in five, stripper runs away.
KING: Are you excited about the premiere tonight?
ROCK: Premiere, I'm excited about the premiere.
KING: You're a star!
ROCK: Yeah, man.
KING: You're carrying this movie.
ROCK: I've got a movie coming out Friday, and the movie's really good. Really good.
KING: Are you going to get good reviews?
ROCK: I think we're going to get good reviews. So far, the press I've talked
they've liked the movie. The movie's funny. The movie's a romantic comedy.
So if you've got like some Valentine things going on, you want to carry it over.
If you don't want that see a man eat another man's brain...
... then go see the new Chris Rock movie, "Down to Earth."
If you're into brain eating -- and I know some people are -- then go see,
know, Anthony Hopkins go eat some brain.
But if you want to see a funny romantic comedy, you want to relax -- especially
if you've got dinner plans after the movie...
(LAUGHTER) ... you want to see my movie.
KING: Thank you, Chris.
ROCK: Yeah, no brain eating this week.
KING: Chris Rock, the movie is "Down to Earth."
ROCK: And I will not eat a brain!
KING: Tomorrow night, Mary Hart and Bob Goen will be here. For more Q&A
with both of them, you can check out my Web site. I've got a Web site.
ROCK: Slash stripper massage.
KING: Stay tuned for Leon Harris. He's going to host "CNN TONIGHT" tonight.
And don't forget to see Chris Rock Friday night at the movies.
ROCK: At the movies, not eating people, making you laugh.
KING: Good night. Good night.
Say, good night.
ROCK: Good night. Bye, ma.