The great Chris Rock turns 51 years old on Sunday, and sure, we should’ve made a bigger deal of it last year – but better late than never, especially if it gives us an excuse to share some of our favorite nuggets from the ever-quote-worthy comic, social commentator, and filmmaker. So here are some of his most memorable bits of wisdom from his stand-up act, his book, and his interviews through the years.
“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.” [New York]
“Who’s more racist, black people or white people? It’s black people! You know why? Because we hate black people too! Everything white people don’t like about black people, black people really don’t like about black people.” [Chris Rock: Bring the Pain]
“Nothing more racist than a old black man, you know why? ‘Cause the old black man went through some real racism. He ain’t go through that ‘I can’t get a cab’ shit. He was the cab! White man just jump on his back: ‘Main Street!’” [Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker]
“A black C student can’t do shit with his life. A black C student can’t be a manager at Burger King. Meanwhile, a white C student just happens to be the President of the United States.” [Chris Rock: Never Scared]
“If you’re black, America’s like the uncle that paid your way through college — but molested you.” [The Guardian]
“I live in a place called Alpine, New Jersey. My house costs millions of dollars – don’t hate the player, hate the game. In my neighborhood, there are four black people. Hundreds of houses, four black people. Who are these black people? Well, there’s me, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z and Eddie Murphy. Only black people in the whole neighborhood. So let’s break it down: me, I’m a decent comedian, I’m a’ight. Mary J. Blige, one of the greatest R&B singers to ever walk the Earth. Jay-Z, one of the greatest rappers to ever live. Eddie Murphy, one of the funniest actors to ever, ever do it. Do you know what the white man who lives next door to me does for a living? He’s a fucking dentist. He ain’t the best dentist in the world, he ain’t going to the dental hall of fame, he don’t get plaques for getting rid of plaque. He’s just a yank-your-tooth-out dentist. See, the black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to.” [Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger]