Chris Rock is always one to tell it like it is. Mixed in with his comedic genius is his uncanny ability to reveal some harsh truths about America and the entertainment industry while still making us laugh. Recently, he’s been making the rounds to promote his film Top Five sharing his thoughts on race, Hollywood, and his career in a way only he can—with hilarious sincerity. Here are our top five quotable observations from Chris Rock:
1. On Black progress:
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. There’s been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship’s improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, “Oh, he stopped punching her in the face.” It’s not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner’s relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn’t. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. 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.”
2. On Black women in film:
There are almost no black women in film. You can go to whole movies and not see one black woman. They’ll throw a black guy a bone. OK, here’s a black guy. But is there a single black woman in Interstellar? Or Gone Girl? Birdman? The Purge? Neighbors? … I go to the movies almost every week, and I can go a month and not see a black woman having an actual speaking part in a movie.
3. On racism in Hollywood:
Hollywood pretty much decides to cast a black guy or they don’t. We’re never on the ‘short list.’ We’re never ‘in the mix.’ When there’s a hot part in town and the guys are reading for it, that’s just what happens. It was never like, ‘Is it going to be Ryan Gosling or Chiwetel Ejiofor for Fifty Shades of Grey?’ And you know, black people fuck, too. White women actually want to fuck black guys, sometimes more than white guys. More women want to fuck Tyrese than Jamie Dornan, and it’s not even close.
4. On expectations of Black celebrities:
The whole ‘Be a role model to people’ [idea] is kind of racist when you think about it … It suggests that my behavior is not natural. It’s like, ‘Hey I don’t beat my wife because I don’t beat my wife, not because I’m trying to help the race out.’ Know what I mean? I read because I want to read. It’s like, you have a negative image of your people as a whole if you’re putting all of your eggs in my basket.
5. On Barack Obama:
I’m trying to figure out the right analogy. Everybody wanted Michael Jordan, right? We got Shaq. That’s not a disappointment. You know what I mean? We got Charles Barkley. It’s still a Hall of Fame career. The president should be graded on jobs and peace, and the other stuff is debatable. Do more people have jobs, and is there more peace? I guess there’s a little more peace. Not as much peace as we’d like, but I mean, that’s kind of the gig. I don’t recall anybody leaving on an up. It’s just that kind of job. I mean, the liberals that are against him feel let down because he’s not Bush. And the thing about George Bush is that the kid revolutionized the presidency. How? He was the first president who only served the people who voted for him. He literally operated like a cable network. You know what I mean?
And these honorable mentions:
I don’t care if I have to play a whip, I’m going to be in a Steve McQueen movie. —The Hollywood Reporter
Nat Turner’s a f***ing nerd. He gets taught to read and write by his white massa, and he gets sold, and now he has to go out in the fields like everybody else, and he’s so not equipped for this shit … It’s, like, ‘Oh, shit! Everything I’ve been taught is bullshit!’ And he organizes guys and has this bloody fuckin’ takeover. I’d love to do that movie. —The New Yorker