Ahead of the release of his new film Top Five, the comedian Chris Rock has offered a wide-ranging critique of contemporary America with acerbic takedowns of the Republicans, race relations in the US and perceptions of Barack Obama’s presidency.
In a conversation with New York Magazine op-ed columnist and former New York Times journalist Frank Rich, the comedian commented on everything from Bill Cosby to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson.
Speaking about Ferguson and the media reaction to the event, he said: “Here’s the thing. When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.”
“So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he’s the first black person that is qualified to be president. That’s not black progress. That’s white progress,” he said.
His most caustic criticism came when Rich brought up Barack Obama and the progress his election was supposed to represent.
“There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years … There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let’s hope America keeps producing nicer white people.”
The comedian who wrote,directed and stars in Top Five, also offered his thoughts on the reaction to his Saturday Night Live sketch about the opening of Freedom Tower, which he referred to as the Never Going In There Tower. His comic assessment of the structure drew the ire of Fox New presenter Peter Johnson Jr, who said: “When you resort to that kind of comment in an insane, overblown, horrific way, then you’re doing a disservice to comedy.”
Rock also spoke about how comedians are often the targets of criticism which they wouldn’t receive if they were working in another medium.
“Honestly, it’s not that people were offended by what I said. They get offended by how much fun I appear to be having while saying it,” he said.
“You could literally take everything I said on Saturday Night and say it on Meet the Press, and it would be a general debate, and it would go away. But half of it’s because they think they can hurt comedians.”
Rock also recently split opinion in the music world by declaring that Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was the best record of the last 30 years, adding that it was better than Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Watch Rock's SNL momologue below:
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