Veteran comedian says comic material is now “too situational.”
Are today’s comedians better now than yesteryear? Director Judd Apatow asked Chris Rock, and his response was, “Hell f****** no!”
In an email interview with Apatow published by Vanity Fair, Rock shared his thoughts on the present state of comedy. And when comparing the current comedic lot with the likes of George Carlin, Bill Cosby and Joan Rivers, the veteran comedian says today’s comics are cursed with being too “situational.”
"Show me one guy or woman as funny as Rodney Dangerfield or as good as George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby or Joan Rivers," Rock wrote. "There are a lot of good comics out there, no doubt, but as far as the quality of the comics goes, I think what you have is a bunch of situational comics."
"What we have now is Black comics that work only Black crowds,” Rock continued, “Gay comics that do only gay crowds, and Southern comics that only work down South, and so on with Asian, Latino, Indian, midgets, etc. The previous generation's comics were better because they had to make everybody laugh. Richard Pryor could do The Ed Sullivan Show and play the Apollo."
So who are the comedians that come close to this standard? Rock has a couple of names.
"Seinfeld can work any crowd. Ellen [DeGeneres] can work any crowd. [George] Lopez can work any crowd," Rock concludes. "And a few more, but the rest of them are just situational comics."
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(Photo: MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters /Landov)