Chris Rock, one of the funniest stand up comedians of all time, has been making America laugh for decades. In addition to being an award-winning actor, comedian, and filmmaker, Rock uses his platform as a vehicle to shed light on a range of social issues, including poverty, white privilege, and politics. The comic, who turns 52 today, even criticized the Oscars in 2016 while hosting the ceremony, after the Academy failed to honor or acknowledge the work of African Americans in the film industry via a nomination in any category.
Rock cleverly uses humor to push audiences to ponder, process, and question the complex societal issue that most find difficult to articulate clearly, and he does so in a way that resonates equally among diverse audiences. His signature, blunt honesty, coupled with his innovative creativity, and poignant critiques of society have sealed his status as a fearless comedic legend on par with greats like Richard Pryor or Eddie Murphy.
In honor of Chris Rock’s birthday, here are eight more of the funniest, most insightful, and memorable quotes Chris Rock has made throughout his career:
1. “I love being famous—it’s almost like being white.”
2. “Black people have been qualified to be president for hundreds of years. George Washington Carver could have been president. I could go on with a list of black men that were qualified to be the president of the United States. So, the Obama victory is progress for white people.”
3. “I live in a neighborhood so bad that you can get shot while getting shot.”
4. ” I’m severely overrated. I’m just above a hack. That should be the name of my new DVD: Chris Rock: Slightly Above Hack.”
5. “Right now, my job is that I’m like an ambulance chaser. I’ve got to look for movies with white guys falling out of them.”
6. “Every town has the same two malls: the one white people go to and the one white people used to go to.”
7. “If you’re black, America’s like the uncle that paid your way through college—but molested you.”
8. Excerpt from Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger:
“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 f–king 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.”
Jordan P. Willard contributed to this piece.