Who Is Chris Rock
Chris Rock is a stand up comedian and professional actor who has climbed the industry ladder without skipping a single rung. After becoming successful in his stand up, he moved on to Saturday Night Live, working alongside SNL greats such as Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, and David Spade, then scored supporting roles in moderately successful Kevin Smith comedies, and finally became the movie star with rockstar level status that we know today. Along his journey, Rock has accrued hundreds of millions of dollars by taking part in billion dollar franchises and creating one of the most lucrative TV shows currently in syndication today.
Why is he so famous?
Though he dropped out of high school and worked menial jobs at fast food restaurants including McDonald’s, Rock grafted late nights and became a phenomenon on the stand up circuit. After six long years of testing jokes on the stage, he was recruited by the coveted and long running live comedy show, Saturday Night Live, in 1990. As there was a crossover of Rock, Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Rob Schneider, and David Spade all working on the show at the same time, a bond between them was formed and the five became known as the Bad Boys of SNL.
With the success of Rock’s sketches on SNL, he struck when the iron was hot and released several stand up specials on HBO between 1994 and 2008, with most of them winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Stand Up Comedy and the Grammy Award for the Best Comedy Album.
In the 2000s, Rock’s brand grew exponentially, scoring bigger roles and working with Sandler in a bunch of movies such The Longest Yard, a comedy remake of the classic Burt Reynolds film, Grown Ups, which was so successful it went on to spawn a sequel, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, one of the more outlandish Sandler vehicles. But it was the basket in the form of television where Rock put most of his eggs, and it massively paid off. Parodying the title of Everybody Loves Raymond, Rock created, produced, and narrated Everybody Hates Chris, which was based on the comedian’s life growing up as a black kid in America in the early 1980s. The show was critically acclaimed and starred major actors including Terry Crews.
When did Chris Rock make it?
The comedian famously made $47 million in 2009 alone thanks to signing a lucrative syndication deal for Everybody Hates Chris and a sold-out stand up tour. Though it won’t quite be tens of millions of dollars, syndication sales is something that Rock will continue to be paid for yearly. Eight years later, the actor finally beat the $47 million figure by making $57 million in 2017. That year, Rock changed the world of comedy by inking a deal with Netflix that earns him $20 million per stand up special. This opened up the floodgates and after the unprecedented deal, Netflix went on to pay many other comedians tens of millions of dollars, most notably paying Dave Chappelle $20 million per special. Chappelle took advantage of the deal more than any other comedian by releasing five specials in insanely quick succession.
Most of rock’s salaries for his movies are undisclosed. However, it doesn’t take much investigation to figure out that he makes millions per role. The Madagascar series features four movies including the spin-off, Penguins of Madagascar, and has grossed a total of $2.2 billion. Rock played Marty the Zebra in three of the movies, with each one being more successful than the last, culminating with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, grossing almost $750 million. The three movies Rock starred in have grossed more than $1.8 billion worldwide, and as money talks, it’s strange as to why a fourth proper entry of the series has yet to be green lit. However, as the movies each make a minimum of half a billion dollars, it’s safe to assume that being an irreplaceable voice actor, Rock earns a salary of millions and maybe even gets a percentage of the take home profit.
What makes him so successful?
What makes Chris Rock so endearing more than anything is his ecstatic voice and the delivery of his dialogue in movies is animated in itself. The way he yells his lines in such a hilarious way has helped him score a tone of roles in animated movies, not just the Madagascar series, but also in Bee Movie, the Jerry Seinfeld helmed animated movie, and Osmosis Jones. His energetic voice hasn’t just afforded him roles in animated films, but also in live action such as voicing a robot in the Steven Spielberg directed AI: Artificial Intelligence, and voicing none other than a guinea pig in the 1998 remake of Dr. Doolittle.
Rock’s distinct hosting style has gotten him a lot of work including hosting the Academy Awards not once, but twice, and the two shows can teach valuable lessons in hosting as he set a precedent each time. His first time hosting was The 77th Academy Awards in 2005, which is seen as paving the way for Ricky Gervais’ hugely controversial and antagonistic style of hosting the Golden Globes, as Rock severely roasted the celebrities in such a way that hadn’t been done before. The ceremony had gotten an average of 42 million views on the night, exposing Rock to anybody who didn’t already know who the comedian was. Rock returned 11 years later to once again host at the 88th Academy Awards, and this time he took a more political approach, often mentioning throughout the ceremony the lack of award nominations for minorities. He closed out the show with the last words, “black lives matter.”
With an outrageous voice and a contagious laugh, Chris Rock has yelled his way through countless animated movies to find a net worth almost as ridiculous as the idea of a talking Zebra. The comedian is sitting on a fortune of $100 million and that’s likely to increase exponentially in the coming years. As Rock’s deal with Netflix included two stand up specials, we still have one more to look forward to. But until then, Rock has a mammoth slate as he will be starring in the upcoming ninth installment of the Saw series, Spiral, and he will also feature in the new adaption the Roald Dahl novel, Witches. Not just that, but on ABC, the actor will be proving he has dramatic chops in the new season of the esteemed crime drama, Fargo.