6 Memorable Moments From Chris Rock's 'Tamborine'

10:59 AM 2/14/2018

by Zoe Haylock

Chris Rock returns to stand-up with his first Netflix special, in which he talks about police brutality, Trump and marriage.

Chris Rock: Tamborine Still - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Netflix

Chris Rock's Netflix stand-up special, Tamborine, has arrived after being mostly shrouded in secrecy until the streaming service announced yesterday that it would be dropping just a few hours later.

The title eliminates the "u" from the name of the musical instrument Netflix used to tease Rock's first televised stand-up show in 10 years, leaving fans speculating as to the reasoning behind the spelling. While Guardian speculates the title is a reference to minstrel shows, the outlet also points to a 1985 Prince song with the same name.

Rock, himself, confirmed that the title was spelled after the Prince track in a Facebook Live video he posted on Wednesday.

"Tamborine. People say to me, 'Chris why is it spelled that way?' It's spelled that way because that's how Prince spells it in the song 'Tamborine.'"

A lot has happened since Rock's last special, 2008's Killing the Messenger, and the comedian has plenty to say. Between his insights about politics, race relations, and growing up in Bed-Stuy, Rock revealed his new perspective on relationships. He goes into detail about his public divorce from his wife of 16 years, Malaak Compton-Rock, talking about cheating on her and his porn addiction.

Check out some of the most memorable moments from the hour-long program, which is now streaming.

  • "I want to live in a world where an equal amount of white kids are shot."

    Chris Rock opened Tamborine with a joke about police brutality. The topic might be heavy, but Rock's comedy has always focused on the black experience––good and bad. 

    "You would think the cops would occasionally shoot a white kid, just to make it look good," he starts. "I want to live in a world with real equality. I want to live in a world where an equal amount of white kids are shot every month."

    In his scenario, there are "white moms on TV, standing next to Al Sharpton, talking about 'We need justice for Chad!'" 

  • "People say young black men are an endangered species."

    From the 1988 book Young, Black, Male in America: An Endangered Species, to recent conversations about police brutality, Rock comments on the comparison between young black boys and endangered animals.

    "That’s not true," he says. "Because endangered species are protected by the government." 

  • "Trump might work out."

    Don't get him wrong, Chris Rock thinks Trump is horrible. But Rock is pretty optimistic for the future. Look at it his way: “Bush was so bad, he gave us Obama.”

    At this rate, Rock says, “Trump’s so bad, he gon' give us Jesus!” 

  • "Sometimes you sing lead and sometimes you're on tambourine."

    After filing for divorce in 2014, Chris Rock comes back to stand-up with words of wisdom about relationships.

    "When you're in a relationship, you're in a band and when you're in a band you have roles that you play in the band," he explains. Someone has to be lead singer and someone has to stand in the back and play the tambourine. But you can't be competitive or jealous, he says.

    "If you're on tambourine, play it right! Play it with a fucking smile. Nobody wants to see a mad tambourine player," he jokes. "Play it like Tina Turner!"

    Rock was "not a good husband," he says.

    "It's my fault, because I'm a fucking asshole," he says of their split. "I didn't listen. I wasn't kind. I had an attitude, I thought, 'I pay for everything; I can do what I want.' That shit don't fucking work! I just thought I was the shit."

    The comedian admits he slept with three women while he was on the road.

    "It's fucked up. When guys cheat, it's like we want something new. But then you know what happens? Your woman finds out, and now she's new. She is never the same again. So, now you have new, but you have a bad new," he says.


  • "I was married for 16 years. That's a long run."

    "Hamilton won't last that long!" 

    In the age of cell phones, Rock believes his 16 years with his ex-wife add up to more time spent together than his parents were with one another in their 40 years of marriage.

    "My father used to leave for work at 6:30 in the morning and come home at 8:30 at night and during the day him and my mother had absolutely no contact at all," he exclaimed. "The kids could've been dead and he wouldn't have find that shit out until he got home!"

    But "you can't miss nobody in 2017." 

    "Soon as you go somewhere, you get a fucking text, you get a ping, you get a beep," he ranted. "And then, later on, your woman goes, 'You act like you don't wanna talk.'"

  • "'Drake helped me with my homework!'"

    "I know I said you're not supposed to compete in a relationship," Rock admits, "But after you go through that, I'm going hard every time I have my kids." 

    The "tambourine" rules are all off after a divorce, Rock says, especially when it comes to making his kids happy. 

    "I make sure they go back to her with a story. Like 'Mama, mama, Drake helped me with my homework. Lady Gaga made me a grilled cheese sandwich.'" 

    To everyone who doesn't believe, Rock simply says "Check my Instagram."