Rock Action

Interviewing comics can be tricky: some fall back on canned schtick, while others are self-consciously dour offstage. But I’ve interviewed Chris Rock three times in the last five years and he’s never disappointed. Rock’s not a rat-a-tat joke machine; he’s always seemed more interested in answering my questions thoughtfully. He just says incredibly funny things along the way.

Since we’re roughly halfway between Rock’s recent Kill the Messenger HBO special (solid, but not helped by the odd decision to edit shows from three different continents together) and his upcoming voiceover work in Madagascar 2 (already a hit with the two-year-old in my house, based just on the posters), this seemed like as good a time as any to put my interviews with him up in the archives. The first one is from 2003 and was pegged to his hosting the MTV Video Music Awards. It’s full of then-topical references, but remarkably little has changed in the world in the past five years. (Johnny Cash died, Beyonce and Jay-Z got married, Rock hosted the 2005 Oscars–I’m sure you can figure out the rest.)

The article also had a sidebar where Rock discussed some of the songs being nominated for awards, which I will share with you here:

50 Cent, “In Da Club”
It captures the club right now. It’s like “Teen Spirit.” Every song’s got a key line that makes it a hit. Here, it’s “I’m into having sex / I ain’t into making love.” Okay, now you got a hit. You take that line out of the song, you got an okay record.

Justin Timberlake, “Cry Me a River”
It’s the kind of song a man doesn’t want to admit he likes, but it’s a great Timbaland track. There’s something about a falsetto, man, that captures people. I always liked N’Sync more than Backstreet, because they embraced being a boy band instead of trying to be tough.

The White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army”
Love this song, love this album, love the last album. I love anybody with a uniform–it makes your life so easy when you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear. Albert Einstein wore the same brown suit everyday. He didn’t want to waste his brainpower on clothes.

Missy Elliott, “Work It”
Missy is one of the only rappers who seems to be having fun. I love her whole album, it’s like a hip-hop Cyndi Lauper record or something. If a hard record had that many good cuts on it, it’d probably get more notice. Plus we’re used to her making good records–every year, she makes the best record of the year.

posted 22 October 2008 in Archives, Articles and tagged , , , . no comments yet

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