Rockin' in Wallingford
Many months ago, I woke up at 9:58am on a Saturday to spend $128 on two tickets to see Chris Rock in Connecticut.
Last night was the show.
If you don't bother reading beyond this sentence, then here is the take-home: see Chris Rock live if you have the chance.
The show was at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, CT (population: 17,509). The Oakdale is accessible by a road that has one lane in each direction, which led to Rock opening with this bit: "Wow... Wallingford, Connecticut. Wall-ing-ford. Thanks for coming tonight--I'm impressed that you made it to the show with all the other things to do in Wallingford. You've got the mall... and the other mall..." Poignantly observed, Chris.
That's the only full bit I'm going to regurgitate--I won't even try to be the guy Eddie Murphy makes fun of in Delirious, who tries to tell Murphy's jokes the next day at the office ("...and then he said 'Goonie goo-goo!'").
Rock's material was timely--he ripped on Janet and Michael Jackson ("Remember those debates in the 1980s about who was better, Michael or Prince? Well, Prince won!")--and incisively observant. He talked about how patriotism in the USA has turned to xenophobia ("you think you're better than someone in Iraq because you [were born] in Detroit?!"), encouraged people to think about the issues instead of labelling one's self a Democrat or Republican and blindly following a party's stance ("I'm conservative on some issues and liberal on others. On crime, I'm conservative. On prostitution--liberal."), and riffed on being married for 7 years and about having a baby daughter ("Your only job as a father is keeping your daughter off the pole. If she becomes a stripper, you know you f'ed up.")
He also did two hilarious bits about hiphop. The first was about how it was easier to defend hiphop back in the day when the politically movated lyrics of Public Enemy and Run-DMC were common, versus now, when the lyrics lack a social conscience ("See, he's got this bitch in his way, and he wants her to get out the way.") The second bit was about women who don't care about misogynistic lyrics as long as the song has a good beat... that's all I'm going to say about it, but this bit had Geneve and I in tears.
There was less race-related humor than I've heard in his previous tours, and it's probably due to Rock's maturation as a person (he's 39!) and as a comedian.
He is a terrible actor, but after following his previous tours and seeing the show last night, I think Rock currently holds the title of The Funniest Man Alive (held by Eddie Murphy in the 1980s and Seinfeld in the 1990s). See his show if you get the chance, and be sure to be on-point getting tickets: the show in Wallingford sold out in about 10 minutes.