In 1996 (I called this 1997 because he won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program in 1997 for it) Chris Rock gave us some things that have lasted forever during his Bring the Pain set. The one I think most people remember is the divisive and often misunderstood “black people vs. niggas” bit.
It got co-opted by a lot of white people as a sort of; See! That’s what we’ve been saying! thing. Of course it wasn’t what white people were saying at all. White people didn’t make the distinctions Rock did because, then, like now, white people really don’t know anything about black people at all. Look at this year’s Oscars. Look at Congress. Hell, look anywhere but a concert or a (not hockey) game.
The reason that what Rock was saying was so significant is because was and is so goddamn smart. Look up pretty much anything he says and you won’t find a more reasoned, nuanced and biting person around. Bring the Pain was filmed in front of an almost all black audience in Washington, D.C. and he started the bit by asking them how the hell they RE-elected Marion Barry the crack smoking mayor.
How you supposed to teach kids not to get high when you elect a crack head mayor? You can’t tell your kid: don’t get high or you’ll never be anything. He’ll just say: I can be mayor!
Just listen to the special. If you’ve never heard it, you will love it. If you have, you will love it again. And if you are the right age, the O.J. jokes will kill (ha!) And be happy that he is rich enough that he doesn’t care that the whole thing is on YouTube when you are supposed to buy it on DVD.
Enjoy the special. After it I left a bonus. You can decide if one guy telling jokes for an hour is funnier than a bunch of guys telling one joke at a time on Twitter. Rock’s more talented, but the tweets are pretty funny. Some of them are DAMN funny.
And now: Black Twitter.