Chris Rock is back. After taking an extended hiatus from standup to sort out his life following a difficult divorce, the in-your-face comic is back on the road, and Rolling Stone's Stephen Rodrick joined him for a few gigs to profile Rock's life and work. Here are five things we learned from Rodrick's tour of duty with Chris Rock.
1. Running Away with Eddie Murphy
Chris Rock's career began the usual way: he ran away with Eddie Murphy one night. You didn't see that one coming, did you? But it's true.
"Murphy saw him at a New York club in 1986 when Rock was 21, told him he liked his set and invited him to see 'She's Gotta Have It' the next day and meet then-first-time director Spike Lee," Rodrick wrote. "That night, Murphy invited Rock to fly to Los Angeles with him the next morning. Rock said his dad would have never given him permission, but he was working late that night. In the morning, Rock was on a plane for his first time."
So if Chris' dad Julius Rock had the night off, his son's career might not have taken off so fast.
2. Saving Louis C.K.'s Career
If it weren't for Chris Rock, most of us wouldn't know who Louis C.K. is. The two comics became friends back in the mid 90s, when C.K. began writing for 'The Chris Rock Show' (1997-2000). But Rock wasn't happy with C.K. working behind the scenes instead of taking the spotlight.
And when Louis resisted the push to go out on his own, "Rock even threatened to break off their friendship if C.K. didn't stop writing for other people and write for himself," according to Rodrick.
So we have him to thank for classic bits like C.K.'s misadventures with marijuana.
There was no shortage of mourners when pop icon Prince passed away in April 2016. But Chris Rock has taken his fandom to new levels by bringing a shrine to The Purple One with him on tour.
"In his dressing room, a few candles burn next to a framed portrait of Prince," Rodrick wrote. "Rock's crew is responsible at each stop for putting a new photo of the legend in a place of honor. Rock won't say he and Prince were close, but they talked, and Rock loved his music."
The two also met up a few times over the years - including a 1997 interview in which Prince told Rock why he turned down the chance to make 'Bad' a duet between him and Michael Jackson.
4. Predicting Trump's Triumph
Rock was one of the few people who predicted that Donald Trump would win the 2016 presidential election. He later explained that the "it's my turn" candidates like Hillary Clinton and John McCain never win against politicians like Barack Obama and Trump, who tap into the moment better.
"Presidential politics is like show business, it doesn't give a fuck – 'Whoever's hot,'" Rock told Rodrick. "'Ooh, you paid your dues. We don't give a fuck. Migos has the Number One record, fuck you.' "
5. Rock's Rocker Crush
"I love Bono," Rock told Rodrick while recalling that he bought U2's album 'Rattle and Hum' (1988) on the same day as his father's funeral. He's so gaga over the Irish rockers that he actually submitted a video query during the band's recent Q & A to promote their upcoming tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of 'The Joshua Tree' (1987). Check it out.
And for more on Rock's life and work, check out Rodrick's article.