We now know at least one thing that won’t suck about 2017. Chris Rock is going on tour. The comedian announced last night on Facebook Live that he’ll embark on an 18-date tour starting in February. It’s exciting news, yes, but it’s not necessarily a surprise considering in October, Rock signed a $40 million deal with Netflix for two new stand-up specials.
“The Total Blackout tour is coming to your town in 2017… First time in nine years, haven’t done it in awhile. Been a little busy, you know, writing Pootie Tang 3 and everything. But hey, it’s time.”
This is how Chris Rock decided to word his announcement. After making sure there wasn’t a Pootie Tang 2 I missed because Pootie Tang brings me so much joy, I went back to the last time we saw Chris Rock. It was the post-election SNL skit with Dave Chappelle where Dave and Chris watch the results come in with their white friends.
That skit was so timely and so on-point, exactly what you would expect from Rock and Chappelle. When I wrote about Chappelle’s comeback on SNL, I mentioned that we needed his comedic relief. Dave Chappelle and Chris Rock are not the same but they are similar in the way that they are both unapologetically confrontational and they both don’t care if their sh-t makes you uncomfortable. They both use their views on race as a punch line and a wake-up punch in the gut. Chris Rock will be touring across America in the Trump era, in a lot of red states. It’s going to make people uncomfortable. He’s going to be that funny guy from Madagascar or Pootie Tang, the one who appeals to the masses while also insulting them. But he’s also going to be the brutal, divisive and scathing comedian we know him to be. And he’s going to be that guy in a stadium in North Carolina.
The general assumption is that the name of Chris Rock’s tour stems from this tweet Rock posted right before he hosted last year’s edition of #OscarsSoWhite.
If you remember Chris Rock’s monologue, he called Hollywood racist in a room full of the people who perpetuate those unequal ideals. He didn’t let up. He fired shot after shot and dropped unrelenting truth-bombs while celebrities looked on with nervous giggles or uproarious laughter. He wasn’t perfect. He largely ignored or offended the other non-black ethnicities erased from the Oscars as well. And he deserved to be checked on it. Hopefully he will have changed from it. But Rock’s strength is speaking from his clear stance as a black man in America. On the surface, the race problem in Hollywood isn’t funny. 2016 hasn’t been funny. The bullsh-t America is going to have to face in 2017 won’t be funny. But Chris Rock has a way, like Chappelle, of finding the comedy in tragedy. I can’t wait to see him do that in front of thousands of people in post-Trump America.
Here's Chris at Madonna's charity event for Malawi on Friday.