Chris Rock Netflix Special Review

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Chris Rock Netflix Special Review

It’s been a shitty few years for America, years when Chris Rock’s hilarious outrage was not only needed, but necessary. While we haven’t seen much of him—he’s been dealing with a messy divorce recently—he has been around in subtle ways. He appeared in an essential post-election SNL sketch detailing that infamous November night in 2016. He helped Aziz Ansari craft a powerful SNL monologue, and he made a few late-night appearances softening our Trumpian reality.

But Tamborine, his surprise new Netflix special, gets everything out that’s happened to Rock and the country recently. It’s more of a therapeutic release than anything else, and if you’re in the mood to just release it all with a grin, then Tamborine is crucial.

After a fitting and brief opening to Thundercat’s “Them Changes”—”Nobody move, there’s blood on the floor”—Rock makes his statement immediately. Here’s his opening joke:

You would think cops would occasionally shoot a white kid just to make it look good. You would think that every couple of months they’d look at their dead nigga calendar and go, “Oh my god, the 16th—we gotta shoot a white kid quick.” “Which one?” “The first one you see singing Cardi B.”

Then he continues: “I want to live in a world with real equality. I want to live in a world where an equal amount of white kids are shot every month. I want to see white mothers on TV crying.”

You can see the Fox News headlines already.

He talks about gun violence: “If 100 people ever got stabbed at the same place at the same time, you know what? Then 97 people deserve to die.”

He touches on the justice system and black men getting harsher sentences for the same crimes as white men: “The American justice system should be just like Walmart. If you can find a lighter sentence, we’ll match it.”

And he even rationalizes why Trump might—in the long run—actually be good for this country: “Bush was so bad he gave us Obama. You forget that shit, don’t you? Bush was so bad that people said, ‘Hey maybe this black guy has the answers.’ I think people forget George Bush’s contributions to black history … Trump is so bad he’s going to give us Jesus.”

But the bulk of Chris Rock’s Tamborine is more confessional than political.

Netflix

At one point, he jokes, “On one hand, I’m a black man who’s like, ‘Fuck the police.’ On the other hand, I own property, so when my house gets broken into I’m not calling the Crips.” Parts of this stand up are Rock coming to terms with his own identity as a black man and also a wealthy family man, as Chappelle did in his new special and Jay-Z did on 4:44. And more like Jay-Z, Rock’s special largely focuses on a personal analysis of his own infidelity.

The subject takes up a bulk of the later part of this special, and often it seems strangely timed, given the environment of the entertainment industry and beyond. But when he asks the questions, he asks the right ones: “What the fuck is wrong with men? I know a bunch of women in this room are thinking that right now.”

We just needed Rock to say it.

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