In our cover story, Chris Rock riffs as only he can about life after divorce, his return to stand-up after nearly a decade, his prediction of the Trump presidency and much more. Here are 15 things Rolling Stone’s Stephen Rodrick learned – surprising revelations about Prince, Eddie Murphy and Simply Red – hanging out with the other Rock.
1. The comedy vet’s entourage is in charge of placing a different framed picture of one of his heroes, the late Prince, in his dressing room at each tour stop.
2. Rock thinks Rolling Stone should do a cover of the sometimes-unpredictable Lauryn Hill, “but it’s just her elbow because she got there late to the photo shoot,” he suggests. “‘We would’ve had her face but she didn’t make it in time for the deadline.'”
3. The Top Five director thinks “Octavia Spencer in a period film is like Vin Diesel with a gun.”
4. The Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn native once owned a gun and it went off – putting a hole in his mattress. Things happen.
5. The actor credits producer and collaborator Scott Rudin’s tenacity for his debut Broadway performance (in 2011) in The Man in the Motherfuckin Hat for ratcheting up his thespian skills: “Whenever you’re doing a movie, very seldom is it like ‘cut.’ It’s like, ‘No, we can do more, there’s more here,'” says Rock. “I never had that before Scott. I never had anybody push me like that, he got me to run at a speed I didn’t know I could go.”
6. He once thought Louis CK was wasting his talents by writing for other people. He threatened not to be his friend any more if Louis didn’t start writing material for himself. The rest is history.
7. The 52-year-old says his appearances in Adam Sandler’s Grown Up series is because the films are “a good hang.”
8. The comic is proud of his days palling around with Eddie Murphy during his prime in the Eighties. “I got to hang around the real Eddie Murphy,” says Rock. “Not Dr. Doolittle. Leather suits every day Eddie. Elvis.”
9. At a recent joint appearance in New Orleans, Dave Chappelle jokingly ripped on Rock’s divorce lawyer, wondering how Rock lost his house in the divorce.
10. The future superstar was the only black kid in his Brooklyn school. The white kids sometimes threw bags of urine at him, he says.
11. He’s one of the few comedians who does a soundcheck. Rock describes himself as an “anal little bitch when I’ve got to do a gig. Meanwhile, Chappelle can get off the plane and like tumble into 30,000 seats and blow everybody off the stage.”
12. Holding back the years: Rock is somehow aware of the marketing strategy of the British band, Simply Red.
13. Back in October 1988, on the day of his father Julius’ funeral, Rock had to decide if the casket would be open or closed. But he also made time to buy U2’s Rattle and Hum on its release date.
14. The multi-millionaire likes nothing better than a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
15. His Blacked Out tour deals with his quest for peace after his 2016 divorce from wife Malaak Compton-Rock after 18 years. “That’s my fucking U2 song.”