Chris Rock Talks Bill Cosby, Robin Williams, and Joan Rivers: “It’s a Weird Year for Comedy”

Chris Rock opened up to New York Magazine in a lengthy new interview
Chris Rock opened up to New York Magazine in a lengthy new interview about comedy legends like the embattled Bill Cosby, and the deaths of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers; plus, he professes his love for Nancy Meyers romantic comedies. Bennett Raglin/BET/Getty Images

Rock solid truth. Chris Rock opened up to New York Magazine in a lengthy new cover story about a variety of topics, ranging from the recent sexual assault claims made against fellow comedian Bill Cosby, to his wealth and his appreciation for romantic comedies, specifically those penned by Nancy Meyers.

Rock, 49, admitted that in the beginning stages of his career, one fellow comic was particularly “disdainful” towards him. “I mean, maybe Cosby early on,” Rock recalled. “But he turned pretty quick.”

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Bill Cosby
NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

As for the current allegations of rape made against the embattled lead of The Cosby Show? “I don’t know what to say,” Rock said. “What do you say? I hope it’s not true. That’s all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it’s not true. It’s a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin [Williams], we lost Joan [Rivers], and we kind of lost Cosby.”

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Rock reflected about Williams’ suicide this past August. “Comedians kill themselves,” he reasoned of the beloved star. “Talk to 100 comedians this week, everybody knows somebody who killed themselves. I mean, we always say ignorance is bliss. Well, if so, what’s the opposite? Some form of misery. Being a comedian, 80 percent of the job is just you notice s—, which is a trait of schizophrenics too. You notice things people don’t notice.”

Mike Myers, Chris Rock, Robin Williams and Billy Crystal
Scott Gries/Getty Images

For Rock, his saving grace was his family, including his wife Malaak and kids Lola and Zahra. “You try to give yourself other things to focus on,” he mused. “I always say, my children saved me from my miserable self.”

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The Top Five writer and director also lauded late comedienne Rivers for her contributions to his field, as well as Roseanne Barr and Jerry Seinfeld for their outlandish senses of humor. “Great person, underrated comedian,” Rock first noted of Rivers who passed in September. “Who the hell’s funnier than Joan Rivers? That whole reference thing: Joan updated constantly… Nobody wanted to follow Joan Rivers, ever. Even in her 80s, nobody wanted to follow her.”

Rock added that comedy was the only marketplace that “smacks Hollywood out of its inherent racism, sexism, anti-­Semitism.” He reflected: “It makes people hire people that they would never hire otherwise. Do they really want to do a show with Roseanne Barr? No, they want a thin blonde girl… She’s just funnier than everybody. I’m not even sure they wanted to do a Seinfeld show, but he’s just funnier than everybody.”

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Rock also got specific in his interview about a specific genre of comedy: the rom-com. “There’s a sprinkle of [Nora] Ephron in there,” he said of his latest film. “Just a sprinkle. I can’t pour on too much Ephron. She and I used to talk about making a movie all the time. She always used to say to me, “Are you ready to walk? That’s the only way we’re going to make a movie. We’re going to have to do a lot of walking and talking.”

Chris Rock and Kerry Washington
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

The comic also spoke fondly about another legendary rom-com writer and director. “I’d love to do a Nancy Meyers movie,” he confessed, adding that he wanted Scandal actress Kerry Washington to star opposite his character. “It can be anybody though. Whoever she likes,” he said of the director who’s known for works like Father of the Bride (1991), Something’s Gotta Give (2003), The Holiday (2006), and The Parent Trap remake starring Lindsay Lohan (1998). “I love her. It’s nice taking your mother to a Nancy Meyers movie. It’s tradition. They should have one every Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

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