Chris Rock: Funny, Frank, and Famous

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To call Chris Rock funny just might be the grandest understatement of the decade. When you hear the name “Chris Rock”, gut-busting stand-up comedy routines probably come to mind. But when you take a careful look at the famous comedian’s career from the time he popped onto stages in 1984, you’ll find a deep-rooted pattern. Clawing through tons of bit TV and movie roles (“Miami Vice”, I’m Gonna Get You Sucka), Rock slowly but surely gathered a following and solidified his celebrity brand.

By the time “Saturday Night Live” claimed him as a regular cast member, the world had already become acquainted with his politically incorrect spiel. Rock is notorious for his painfully accurate vocal observations about all the stuff that people are afraid to talk about. Sex, politics, and parenting are just a few of the topics into which he’s injected his controversial twist. Even though he’s parlayed his comedic slant into a lucrative film career, it is by far his monstrous stand-up collection that has earned him multiple Emmy Awards, Grammys, and nominations.

Nike executives were definitely onto something when they attached Rock’s voice to an animated puppet of NBA star Penny Hardaway in 1996. More than a decade later, fans were again treated to his voiceover work. But this time, his distinctive banter was used to describe his own childhood, in the CW network smash “Everybody Hates Chris” (a sitcom created by the comedian.) Throughout the program, Rock touched upon a number of the topics that he’s addressed in his hilarious stand-up shows—many of which were specific to African American communities everywhere.

One very prevalent topic, black women’s relationship with their hair, was tackled in his brutally candid (yet charming) documentary, Good Hair in 2009. It would be easy to say that Rock is popular merely because of his touchy approach to world issues. But of all the hundreds of comedians on the entertainment scene, Chris Rock has managed to successfully spin his edgy persona into a recognizable brand. Perhaps it is his slight air of humility, or his dedication to speaking the truth, that has made him a fixture in pop culture. In any case, Rock confirms that you really can build a brand empire making people mad enough to laugh.

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