A few days after the “slap heard ‘round the world” at Oscars, I just had to buy a ticket to see Chris Rock. I had seen him on his Tambourine tour at Richmond, Virginia’s Altria Theater with Drew/Brometheus, Maggie, and Sherrie (RIP) and found it funny and insightful, so I figured why not? I had never gone to a comedy show solo, but there’s a first time for everything.
DAR Constitution Hall is a regal venue with stylish carpeting and architecture. I don’t have pictures because we had to lock our cell phones in cases (no videotaping!). Usually, when I’m solo, I’ll read articles on my cell phone or read a book. But, no bags either, so no books. I did settle for writing in my notepad and making observations. I did see a nice diversity of cultures there, including a group of what appeared to be Indians. And they were enjoying the show. I did see one other solo person, a young woman in glasses and ripped jeans who barreled through the couples and groups to get to her seat. The way I look at it, when traveling solo, you’ve gotta be dominant.
I didn’t care for Rick Ingraham. While insult comedy is his specialty, I didn’t like the stereotypes of Asians he presented (“you’re all engineers, right?”) and his calling out of the dude there by himself as “creepy,” even if they were audience plants. But that’s comedy, so what can you do?
Chris Rock immediately followed, and his shows seemed to follow a structure. He starts with political humor, riffing on current “wokeness” and “victimhood.” The selfishness of non-maskers came up, as did the idiots who stormed the capitol on 1/6/21. From there, he got into the personal, like with parenting, and I love that story on how he told his daughter’s school to expel her for breaking an important rule, and how, as a result, she became less entitled. While I’m adamantly childfree by choice, I wish the parents of some of my students would follow Rock’s example.
When he got into relationships (the typical closing routine of his act), I couldn’t disagree more. Men are supposed to pay for everything? I can get on that in situations where the gender pay gap applies (men do still make more than women, and if that’s the case in the relationship, the scales should be balanced), but in some situations only. Why do men have to be the pursuers/hunters in relationships? And do all women want to be pursued? Do some want to do the pursuing? Are men less than men if they don’t have to pursue? When Rock said that “women want to be taken care of,” there was a smattering of applause.
In a previous blog, I shamed Rock for chiding his audience to “settle down” when he seemed to be unhappy in his marriage, and indeed, he did divorce from his wife in 2016, largely due to his cheating and pornography addiction. In his Tambourine special, he embodied regret and essentially told his audience, “Do as I say, not as I did in order to maintain your relationships.” He mentioned that he’s single again, and he stated one line, “Women say all the time ‘I don’t need a man’ but you never hear a man say ‘I don’t need a woman.’ I need a relationship!”
I love to analyze people. So, here’s my “pop psychological” take on the roots of that statement: Chris was born in 1965. He was probably raised with the idea that “you need a spouse.” In his 1996 special, Bring the Pain, when he was just marrying his wife, Malaak Compton, he said, “You gotta settle down.” Eight years later, in Never Scared, he said “You’re either married and bored or single and lonely.” My guess is that he had grown bored of his married routine, hence the pornography and the cheating.
Now he’s single again. A few minutes after stating “I need a relationship,” he said, “There are times when I don’t want a relationship and sometimes I do.” Is it possible that Chris Rock is a Single Person at Heart and unaware of it? Perhaps he “needs a relationship” because that’s what he’s been taught? He does go to movies solo. While that doesn’t necessarily categorize him as a SPAH, I wonder if he’s just wired for singlehood.
Maybe we’ll find out on his next tour.
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.