Not one to shy away from uncomfortable topics, comedian Chris Rock has built a career dissecting the hard issues while putting a clever spin on them. Topics that many of his peers are simply too afraid to touch. Sitting down with New York Magazine recently he did just that, voicing his opinion on a number of topics including America’s history with racism, the “I didn’t own slaves my ancestors did” argument, President Obama, the loss of Robin Williams as well as the ongoing Bill Cosby scandal.
Below you will find a few excerpts from the interview, now available via Vulture.com.
Up next for the industrious funny man is his upcoming film Top Five, available in theatres December 5.
[On race relations in America]
“… the thing is, we treat racism in this country like it’s a style that America went through. Like flared legs and lava lamps. Oh, that crazy thing we did. We were hanging black people. We treat it like a fad instead of a disease that eradicates millions of people. You’ve got to get it at a lab, and study it, and see its origins, and see what it’s immune to and what breaks it down.”
“When we talk about race relations in America or racial progress, it’s all nonsense. There are no race relations. White people were crazy. Now they’re not as crazy. To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.”
“Owning their actions. Not even their actions. The actions of your dad. Yeah, it’s unfair that you can get judged by something you didn’t do, but it’s also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn’t work for.”
[On Robin Williams & Bill Cosby]
“Comedians kill themselves. Talk to 100 comedians this week, everybody knows somebody who killed themselves. I mean, we always say ignorance is bliss. Well, if so, what’s the opposite? Some form of misery. Being a comedian, 80 percent of the job is just you notice s###, which is a trait of schizophrenics too. You notice things people don’t notice.”
“I don’t know what to say. What do you say? I hope it’s not true,” he said. “That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan and we kind of lost Cosby.”
[The Obama Effect]
“So, 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.”
“I always say (Obama’s,) cooler than most politicians, not as cool as actual cool people. He’s not cool like Jay Z’s cool. He’s not Eddie Murphy. But in a world of politicians …