Chris Rock: 5 Career-Defining Stand-Up Routines

Meredith Jenks

Here's the 'Top Five' director at his finest

Chris Rock has managed to stay relevant for decades — with his critically loved comedy Top Five the latest in his string of achievements. But whether it be Saturday Night Live or film work, his stand-up is what started it all. Here are five of his all-time greatest bits. It should go without saying, that most of it is NSFW.

"I was born a suspect" (1988)

Rock's first comedy album, Born Suspect, was recorded in 1991, but he began writing material for it much earlier. Here he works out a signature bit about how even as a baby he was considered a suspect for any crime within a three-block radius. The video comes from the 1988 comedy concert film The Dirty Dozen, which also featured Tim Allen and Bill Hicks.

Read more Chris Rock Pens Blistering Essay on Hollywood's Race Problem: "It's a White Industry"

 

Black People vs. N-----s (1996)

This bit from his 1996 special, Bring the Pain, is among his most iconic and most controversial — so much so that he said he was retiring it for a very specific reason. "I've never done that joke again, ever, and I probably never will," Rock told 60 Minutes in 2005. " 'Cause some people that were racist thought they had license to say n-----. So I'm done with that routine." 

 

"You don't need some gun control … we need some bullet control." (1999) 

Rock's gun control message from 1999's Bigger and Blacker is his most memorable from the special — making its way into Michael Moore's Oscar-winning doc Bowling for Columbine.

 

"You can be married and bored, or single and lonely." (2004)

Rock's routine from Never Scared might make you look at marriage (and baseball) a little differently.

 

Jobs vs. Careers (2009) 

Rock's been big-time for decades, but he started off at restaurants like McDonald's. So the man knows what he's talking about when he describes the tedium of minimum wage.

What's your favorite Rock routine? What did we leave out? Let us know in the comments.

Email: Aaron.Couch@THR.com
Twitter: @AaronCouch 

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