SORRY, DAD, YOU SUCK
The 49-year-old comedian and New York sports fan, pacing himself like an aging athlete, directs and stars in a new movie, Top Five. Just don't ask his kids what they think of it.
DAN PATRICK:Do you have a man cave to watch sports?
CHRIS ROCK: I got a little bit of one. A couple of TVs. Nothing crazy. Not like a sports bar. I got my NFL package. I got my NBA. How much of a man cave can you have with two kids under 12? When your kids are teenagers, you can really get your man cave—when they don't want to be around.
DP:Do your kids think you're funny?
CR: My kids do not think I'm funny. My kids are like, How are we going to have money for college when America finds out you suck? My kids are like, Dad, Kevin Hart, now that's comedy. What are you doing?
DP:How has your approach to comedy changed as you've gotten older?
CR: You have to acknowledge your age. I think it's the same with athletes. You have to acknowledge that it's going to take longer to get into shape. It used to take me three months to get ready to go on tour. Now I better give myself six months. When you're a young athlete in the off-season, you don't work out at all. When you're older, you have to stay in shape all year.
DP:When you're hanging out with other comedians, is it competitive?
CR: It's not competitive; it's the language they speak. When we're around other comedians, it's like, Man, I get to speak my own language. Ever see a Spanish-speaking ballplayer? A guy like Robinson Cano. When they get interviewed by an American journalist, they're very slow and deliberate. But if you ever watch [a Latin American player] on a Spanish station, he's got all this personality. I'm like, Wow, I want to meet that guy.
DP:What has the reaction been to your social commentary in the media?
CR: It's been mixed. I just answer whatever people ask me. I'm not hanging out with Chuck [Barkley] and trying to rabble-rouse. I'm out here promoting a movie, and people ask me questions. I'm going to answer them honestly. Some things will piss people off. I don't think anyone can call me a liar.
DP:Do you feel pressure to use your platform to discuss social issues?
CR: At the end of the day I'm a comedian, I'm not a big leader guy. It's nice to have the platform.
DP:You took on Hollywood a little bit.
CR: They asked me, Do you think Hollywood is too white? Yeah, Hollywood is white. That's like saying quarterback is a black job. Have you noticed that? That's not controversial. There's not a lot of white quarterbacks. Where did they all go? There used to be a lot of white quarterbacks.
Jaguars rookie QB Blake Bortles told me it took him a while to adjust to getting calls in his helmet from the offensive coordinator. "The first couple of preseason games," Bortles said, "he would say something, and I would talk back. But he can't hear me." ... Grant Hill said he understands why Bulls star Derrick Rose paces himself to protect his long-term health. "I'm the poster child of someone not being paced," Hill said. "The scars mentally and emotionally from being out for those two years ... to think he can snap his fingers and play with reckless abandon—it's not going to happen." ... Matt Leinart told me to be careful in predicting how college QBs will do in the NFL: "No matter what type of athlete you are, it still comes down to where you're drafted—the team around you, the players and a coach who will accommodate your skill set."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
STEVE SANDS/GETTY IMAGES (ROCK)
MICHAEL LOCCISANO/ GETTY IMAGES FOR ESPN (BORTLES)
MICHAEL LEBRECHT/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (HILL)
MICHAEL TULLBERG/GETTY IMAGES (LEINART)