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Solid as a Rock

Lynda Moyo attends the return of Chris Rock

Written by . Published on January 8th 2008.

Solid as a Rock

“Chris Rock is in the building man,” a member of the audience shouted as the shiny suit himself took to the stage at the Apollo last night. A small framed freaky looking man in person, all eyes were on Rock as that familiar, whiney yet charismatic voice bellowed across the theatre.

His edgy, taboo bashing style had even a reserved British crowd in stitches

“I hope I give y’all a good show tonight, otherwise they might take my kids like they did to Britney Spears”. Not one to miss a trick in current affairs, Rock expressed his disbelief of how one bad MTV performance had decided the fate of Britney Spears. He even laid into the fallen superstar’s newly pregnant 16-year-old sister- a predicament Rock described as ‘very ghetto’ as well as the value of his American dollars in UK shops. “I gave him $3000 and he gave me a loaf of bread”.

Scanning the crowd at the Apollo, it was difficult to identify the event as a Chris Rock comedy show. After all if there’s one thing Mr Rock likes to home in on, it’s racial issues. But the sea of mixed faces even provoked comment from the main man himself as he beamed, “we’re all out together tonight”. A defining moment for Rock, who clearly feels very strongly about his black heritage, as shown in the array of Jet and Ebony magazine artworks on display on the screen before he took the stage - a homage to his beloved community who have followed his career from small-time standup in New York in the 80s, to the Emmy award winning Chris Rock Show with critics crediting him as the funniest man in America.

His edgy, taboo bashing style had even a reserved British crowd in stitches. This after all was Rock’s first date of his first official UK tour (he made a surprise appearance at the Comedy Store in London last year to try out new material).

There were parts of the performance which were clearly written for his American audience (in particularly a skit about steroids and baseball player Barry Bonds) but Rock is quick and clever enough to go with the audiences flow, as well as his own. In fact it’s hard to accept that this is a scripted performance as Rock’s conversational matter-of-fact style is seamlessly tied together. He owned the Apollo.

Rock is opinionated and he isn’t afraid to hold back, following controversial and often political jibes with the cocky line, “Yeah, I said it”. Sometimes it’s not what a comedian says, but the way in which they say it and that is why Rock can get away with repeating staple lines he’s been saying since the early nineties: another one being “Women, women, women. What do y’all want? Everything”.

For long-standing Rock fans, the show was reminiscent of the prolific Bigger and Blacker tour of the nineties. The same topics were covered: race, women, relationships, elections, politics and celebrities: obviously to Rock some things never change. Women will always be confusing creatures, politicians will always be corrupt and racism will always be apparent. Nevertheless, despite the underlying social issues it was an unforgettably funny experience. Black people will always love him, but more importantly for Rock, white people have come to love him too and for Rock that’s some achievement.

Chris Rock is at the Manchester Apollo for one more night tonight. For ticket enquiries please call 08444 777 677

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Lee AllumJanuary 8th 2008.

I'm white, female and English and I've loved Chris's work for years. He's not afraid to say black people are just as racist as white people and, apart from those American references we don't know about, I find his humour completely accessible and right on the money. I missed this show so I hope he returns.

AnonymousJanuary 8th 2008.

Chris Rock is a very funny man! And he is right about the American dollar. It amounts to nothing in this day and age. He takes the truth and makes it funny,hilarious even. That is why he is a great comedian.

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