Comedian and actor Tony Rock is no stranger to stages. Whether he’s on the bill of a stand-up show or hosting; Tony Rock brings the house down every time. Now, Tony Rock is adding to his résumé, as the host of “All Def Comedy Live”, a new stand-up show produced by the Russell Simmons media company, All Def Digital. Tony sat down to talk with Comedy Hype about his career, future plans and what we can expect as he takes on hosting, “All Def Comedy Live”.
By Corey Tate
CH: You’re the host of the new All Def Digital show, “All Def Comedy”. You’re no stranger to hosting. You’ve hosted televised shows like, “The Apollo”. Will the energy that you’re bringing to “All Def Comedy Live” be different than other shows you’ve hosted?
TR: With this project, I want to reach the same level of energy that “Def Comedy Jam” reached. I want to see audience members jumping up out of their seats with laughter and I want to make viewers from home feel like they’re actually at the show. Just like back in the day, when Martin Lawrence hosted, you knew what to expect. You knew Martin was going to kill it every time. With “All Def Comedy Live”, I want to be the new ringleader of providing that kind of energy.
CH: On social media, whenever you mention “All Def Comedy”, you follow it up by saying, “The real is back”. Can you elaborate on what that means?
TR: I feel that there’s been a void in the urban comedy market. Def Comedy Jam” set precedent for other black comedy shows to exist. Such as “Comic View”. It also opened doors for urban acts, to the point where networks and comedy clubs began calling urban acts. I feel like “All Def Comedy Live” is the resurgence of the raw, urban feel, that “Def Comedy Jam” once provided in comedy culture.
CH: Who was your favorite host of “Def Comedy Jam”?
Hands down, Martin Lawrence. Whenever you think of “Def Comedy Jam”, you think of Martin Lawrence. Martin was the original host and the best host of “Def Comedy Jam”.
CH: Being that Martin Lawrence was the best host of “Def Comedy Jam”, do you feel the pressure to emulate exactly what Martin Lawrence did?
TR: Definitely not. I’m not going out there on stage attempting to be Martin Lawrence was. Only Martin can be Martin. And only Tony Rock can be Tony Rock. We all have our strong suits and advantages. As a host and as a comic, those are the things that make us special.
CH: Thanks to “Def Comedy Jam”, a lot of careers were launched. Many of those careers are still going strong today. Do you feel that “All Def Comedy” will have the same effect?
TR: Absolutely. All of the hottest comics were on “Def Comedy Jam”. Martin Lawrence, Cedric The Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, Bernie Mac. You name them, they were on “Def Comedy Jam”. I believe “All Def Comedy Live” will have the same effect for the new generation of comics. I believe that you will find your new favorite comics on “All Def Comedy”.
CH: You’re currently on the “Rock The Mic” tour. Usually, when comedians tour, it’s because they’re molding material, in preparation to release a stand up special. Are there any plans to release a stand up special?
TR: The “Rock The Mic” tour has many purposes. Number one, it allows me to do what I love every night and spread laughter throughout the country. The tour also allows me to bring other comics out on the road, to help them get recognition and stage time. As far as doing a comedy special, I’m always ready. But as to when I do a special, is more-so dictated by networks. In this industry, you have to build you own momentum up and when networks are interested, they’ll call. I’m ready for it, whenever it happens.
CH: You also have a new show titled, “The Warm Up” on NBA TV. Can you tell us more about “The Warm Up”?
TR: I’m super excited about “The Warm Up”. NBA TV was aiming to add more content their channel, so they reached out to me. It was perfect because I love to talk sports. When I’m in the barbershop, we talk about sports all time in a loose manner. This is no different. This show will feel the same way, but it’ll televised. It’s a fun show and I’m really excited about it.
CH: You’re hosting “All Def Comedy” and “The Warm Up”. Your work ethic is incredible. Hard work seems to run in the family, because your brothers also work really hard. Chris is gearing up to do two new stand up specials at Netflix, your brother Jordan is on the Netflix show, “Love” and he also just signed on to do his very own pilot at Comedy Central. Were you guys raised to believe in the value of hard work?
TR: The value of hard work was always instilled in us. We were also taught to follow our dreams. We were taught to find the things you love, run towards them and work hard at it. If you work hard, good things will happen for you.
“All Def Comedy” premieres Saturday, November 12th at 10pm ET on HBO
By Corey Tate