Exclusive Betty Interview! Chris Rock: “There are Never Enough Funeral Comedies”
The comedian and father of three on babysitting, if guys can ever grow up, and why funerals are funny.
His world is being rocked.
On a typical weekday afternoon at the New Jersey mansion Chris Rock calls home, the mayhem factor is strong.
He is on full stay-at-home, between-movies Daddy duty and it’s not for the faint of heart. Things are falling; children are yelling and his wife is out having a lovely day off while the man voted the Funniest Comedian in America tries to deal with it all.
“I’m on the phone. But do you have a kiss for me?” Rock, 45, asks his daughter Zahra, 5 while his other little girl Lola Simone makes a crashing noise from the other room.
Zahra puckers, but voices a complaint. “Everyone is on the phone!” she gripes. Rock just sighs and yells for someone named Tommy to not turn over the couch. It’s hard to be a working Dad and still fit in movies including Death at a Funeral, which opens this weekend, and this summer’s much-awaited Grown Ups.
Has the recession even affected comedians? Is that why you’re home baby-sitting?
It’s bad out there, man. I’m sitting here with two movies coming out this year and I’m a lucky man. I have Death at a Funeral and Grown Ups. But right now I don’t have a job. Of course, it’s fine. I know other people out there have far more serious problems. And, I mean, I’ll figure something out. I could always go on Dancing with the Stars.
So you do babysit? Can we call you and what’s your hourly rate?
(Laughing): I’m a house daddy pretty much of the time now. The girls have friends over, so it’s a lot of “Don’t tough that. Put that glass thing down.” Right now. I’m not available for outside babysitting. It’s too exhausting. It’s easier to make movies.
You star with a great cast in Death at a Funeral including Avatar’s Zoe Saldana, James Marsden, Luke Wilson, Martin Lawrence, Danny Glover and Tracy Morgan. How did you decide to remake the 2007 British movie starring Matthew Macfadyen and revolving around chaos and dark secrets at a recently deceased patriarch’s funeral?
It was one of those times when I had a meeting about what I would do next movie-wise and I really had nothing. I had to think of something on the way to meeting my agent who sets up meetings. Again, I really had nothing. Literally, as I’m walking into the restaurant, I thought, “How about Death at a Funeral?” It was one of those movies you could do again. I loved the original, but knew that a lot of people hadn’t seen it.
Are funerals funny?
Comedy is best served with a serious backdrop. You can’t get more serious than a funeral. I’m actually amazed that there’s not a great Marx Brothers funeral movie. It’s the ideal setting. I mean, why are there so many wedding comedies? But there are never enough funeral comedies. Maybe the answer is every movie title gets tested to death these days and I can’t imagine the word funeral testing too high.