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In 2010, Rock appeared on the big screen opposite Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Salma Hayek in the comedy GROWN UPS, as well as DEATH AT A FUNERAL; an urban reworking of the British comedy, on which he also served as producer and co-writer. With Neil Labute directing, this was the pair’s first reunion for a film since their initial working together on the dark comedy NURSE BETTY, in which Rock co-starred alongside Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger, and LaBute directed.
Rock competed at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival as first-time documentary filmmaker for his film, GOOD HAIR, a comedic and insightful look into the immense African-American hair industry. The critically-acclaimed film won the Sundance “Special Jury Prize,” the NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Documentary” and was named “Top Five Documentaries of 2009” by the National Board of Review.
In 2008, Rock kicked off his first stand-up tour in over three years – NO APOLOGIES – featuring all new material. The tour kicked off in New York and then headed to the United Kingdom where Rock performed for his first time ever overseas. He immediately sold out his original set of 2008 U.K. tour dates, and to satisfy the fervent demand, an additional week-long overseas leg was added. Rock’s tour returned to the United States in early February, where it lasted through May, with additional international dates following in Australia, South Africa and Europe before returning the tour to the US throughout the summer. On May 23rd, Rock broke the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for the largest audience ever at a comedy show in the UK by selling out the O2 Arena on 2 consecutive nights with an audience of 15,900 each night.
Coinciding with the tour, Rock also released his first “best-of” album, CHEESE AND CRACKERS: THE GREATEST BITS, through Geffen Records. Featuring 19 tracks of Rock’s most notorious moments, CHEESE AND CRACKERS: THE GREATEST BITS showcases the Brooklyn-raised comic’s insight on everything from race relations, politics, sex, and the infamous “N-word.”
Serving as both co-creator and narrator, Rock’s television series “Everybody Hates Chris,” about a black kid in a mostly white school in 1980’s, was inspired by Rock’s own life. Upon its debut on UPN in 2005, it was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “top new series,” making it the most-watched comedy in UPN’s history. In 2006 the show earned both a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Writers Guild Awards nomination for Best New Series.
Rock made his directorial debut with HEAD OF STATE, in which he also starred alongside Bernie Mac. His feature film debut was in BEVERLY HILLS COP II with Eddie Murphy. He went on to write, create, star and produce the rap comedy CB4 in 1993, a satire of the world of hardcore rap, which opened #1 at the box office. Other film credits include BOOMERANG, with Eddie Murphy; PANTHER, directed by Mario Van Peebles; NEW JACK CITY with Wesley Snipes (a film marking Rock’s dramatic debut as a desperate crack addict); and I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA! with Keenen Ivory Wayans. The summer of 1998 saw Chris Rock co-star in two $100-million-plus grossing films: LETHAL WEAPON 4 and DR. DOLITTLE. Rock starred in Kevin Smith’s DOGMA, which also featured Ben Affleck, Salma Hayek and Matt Damon. He also starred in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced BAD COMPANY opposite Anthony Hopkins; the romantic comedy DOWN TO EARTH co-directed by Paul and Chris Weitz and co-written by Rock; In March of 2007, Rock starred in I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE, a film which he also wrote and directed and THE LONGEST YARD with Adam Sandler, a remake of the 1974 classic. In 2009 Rock starred with Ben Stiller and Jada Pickett Smith as the voice of Marty in DreamWorks Animation’s MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA. Already grossing over $515 million worldwide, the film is the sequel to the 2005 blockbuster MADAGASCAR, in which Rock also starred.
After gaining early success as a stand-up comedian, Rock joined the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live in 1989. In 1993, he taped his first HBO special CHRIS ROCK: BIG ASS JOKES, which was honored with a CableAce Award. Rock served as the sole 1996 presidential campaign correspondent for the acclaimed “Politically Incorrect,” then on Comedy Central, and received an Emmy nomination for a shared writing credit in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program for the show. Rock’s true emergence as a celebrated talent can be traced to his next HBO special, BRING THE PAIN, which was honored with two Emmy Awards for Best Writing and Outstanding Special in 1997. BRING THE PAIN was released as a home video as well as a Grammy Award-winning CD. Rock went on to host the acclaimed “Chris Rock Show,” which began airing on HBO in 1997. Rock and his popular talk show were honored with several Emmy nominations for both writing and best host. The show then received an Emmy Award for Best Writing in 1999.
His next HBO stand-up special, BIGGER & BLACKER, taped on the stage of Harlem’s fabled Apollo Theatre, earned three Emmy nominations for Rock, while the CD went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Spoken or Comedy Album. In 2003, Rock embarked on his North American stand-up tour, entitled the “BLACK AMBITION TOUR” that ran in 64 cities with over 80 shows through March of 2004. Rock’s following HBO special, Never Scared, aired in April 2004, and was nominated for two Emmys. Its CD also earned the Grammy for Best Comedy Album. In 2008, Rock returned to the Apollo Theater in New York for his latest HBO stand-up special KILL THE MESSENGER, which also taped in London and South Africa. The special earned Rock his fourth Emmy award.
Rock hosted the 77th Annual Academy Awards in 2005, as well as the MTV Video Music Awards in 1999 and 2003. Rock’s debut book, Rock This, spent time on both The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.