Chris Rock combines comedy, culture and division

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | Chris Rock was a celebrity of the 1990's, but returned to the spotlight after last year's Academy Awards.

Aaron Duke | Staff Writer

March 9, 2023

On March 4, Chris Rock created a full-circle moment for both the streaming community and stand-up comedy, as he became the first to deliver a comedy set live on Netflix.

His live stand-up act was available exclusively for subscribers before finding its permanent home in the Netflix library for fans who wished to revisit his set.

Since then, the special has been deemed the no. 1 TV show on Netflix for the week of March 5.

The comedy show took place in Baltimore, as Rock spoke about the division in America, the spoiling of kids and one of the biggest talked-about moments in recent pop culture: the slap he received during the 94th Academy Awards last year.

Throughout the set, Rock laced his crude and irreverent comedy with traces of life lessons and more somber pieces of culture.

Rock talked about how there are serious problems in America, from the polarization of political parties to the younger generations’ constant yearning for attention, focusing largely on social media usage. He explained how so many people will do anything to get validation.

A lot of people, according to Rock, have what he calls “selective outrage.”

Rock defined this selective outrage as conveniently choosing when to take a stand against a certain issue and the act of “canceling” someone, which can depend on who the person is and their popularity.

He went on to say that this can cause a problem with people who find themselves the victim of someone who likes to victimize themselves.

Not only does he believe that this can cause people to suffer, but he also believes that this selective outrage is one of the causes of the division seen in America.

Rock also talked about his personal experiences in parenting. Rock told a story about his daughter Lola who was caught for underage drinking in her school, despite giving his children the best opportunity that he could by sending them to the best schools and providing whatever they needed to do extracurricular activities.

He told viewers how he would do anything for his children. But when he noticed his daughter being snobby and showing a lack of remorse for what she had done, Rock said he ended up getting his own daughter kicked out of high school.

Although he had spent more money on a lawyer to try to prevent his daughter from getting kicked out of the school, Rock explained how he wanted to teach his daughter a lesson. What resulted from this action was a lesson learned according to Rock: His daughter never got into serious trouble again.

Lola had to explain her actions to every college she applied to and explain her mistake. In the end, she was able to go to Paris for culinary school.

In another segment of his routine, Rock talked about racial discrimination with a story about how his mother, who wasn’t allowed to see a white dentist.

Instead, she had to face the embarrassment of going to a vet office for dental procedures. Now, though, she is now able to fly to Paris to see her grandchild. Again, Rock showed his capability for providing important lessons to his stories and jokes.

The last subject that Rock discussed was “The Slap” that occurred at last year’s Academy Awards. He talked about how he adored Will Smith and all that he had accomplished, until the actor assaulted him on stage. Rock says that Smith is one of the leading examples of selective outrage today.

Rock continued to make hits toward Smith and his relationship to Jada Pinkett Smith, and how he himself was raised better than to retaliate against the actions toward him.

This comedy special summed up a lot of current social issues seen in America today while also adding Rock’s own satirical twist, which entertained those from a more mature audience.