Comedy Hype contributor Nika Hughes recently made her way to Los Angeles’s Laugh Factory with Dane Cook as the headliner, and while there she had a chance to shadow Tony Rock for the night. Her experience with Rock through out the night points out that comedy is accepted by all, beyond just color.
Hughes retells her night:
I’ve been trying to see Dane Cook for a couple weeks now. So after wrapping up at a fashion show, I Googled The Laugh Factory line-up and not only was Dane Cook performing but some other very funny comedians I like.
I pulled up to the valet and the line is around the corner! The marquee reads nothing but headliners; Finesse Mitchell, Alonzo Bodden, Tony Rock and Dane Cook. One white guy? Yes!…and no this wasn’t “Chocolate Sundaes,” Pookie Wiggington production Sundays at The Laugh Factory. As Dane Cook jokes in the green room, the growing crowd is out to see him.
All black comedians opening for a non-black mainstream headliner? Some may only look at it like that but the lesson I got from my conversation with Tony Rock is, “Comedy Is Comedy!”
Always smiling and humbled, I see Tony Rock as I’m waiting for valet;
“Hey ma’! You coming in?” (Tony)
“I’m trying but it don’t look good.”
“I got you. Let me get a pic of this line; this is great!” (Tony)
As we make our way to the green room, Tony’s greeting folks and shaking hands like walking into the office; another day at work. You can tell he loves his job! Getting comfortable in the green room, he begins to eat into his sandwich from the shop next door.
“This is what it’s about! Comedy at the Laugh Factory on a Tuesday or Saturday night, three sold out shows, lines around the corner…this is what it’s about! And not everyone makes this kind of stage.,” says Rock.
“Comedy is Comedy. Funny is Funny. If ya funny…ya funny; it doesn’t matter the crowd.” explains Rock. This statement definitely proved factual tonight!
Not only did he himself give an excellent set that had the sold-out crowd roaring with laughter but fellow “urban” comedians Finesse Mitchell and Alonzo Bodden held their own as well.
When you think about it, this was a crowd who came out to see headliner Dane Cook. On the surface of ignorance, it could be stereotyped that the different cultures won’t get each others jokes but like Tony said, “Comedy is Comedy” and that was definitely evident this night!
Some comedians will fall on the differences of people and backgrounds as to why their comedy doesn’t work on certain comedic stages but is that a true statement or a cop-out for their comedy?
When you think about comedians that make it across the board; Seinfeld, Martin Lawrence, George Lopez, Chris Rock, Kevin Hart…their comedy is just that, comedy! It’s funny to all and all can appreciate it. Even when it’s controversial, it’s still funny to all.
Tony Rock set the stage on fire! No disrespect to Dane Cook, whose Showtime special recently aired with great reviews but Tony gave a headliner quality show to a mainstream crowd. The place was truly entertained.
Rock has been on the comedy scene since 2001, booking his first comedy series within six months of his career, is a respected comedian in the comedy game. Currently he has been hosting Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital comedy show weekly at Hollywood and Highland’s known ‘Inside Jokes’.
Our conversation continued and we began discussing different comedic techniques. “I hate when comedians try to make the joke funny by laughing at it. N*gga it ain’t funny!” says Rock. “Move on to the next joke. “Don’t make me laugh”; no one’s laughing. If it’s funny, they’ll laugh.”
We later moved on and talked about the word “N*gger” and the recent controversy of white comedians using it on stage.
“The word usage doesn’t offend me but if those who choose to use it, they have to be prepared to deal with what may come. Not all people are Tony Rock.” he expressed about the word he admits to using in his comedy, and doesn’t plan on omitting from his dialect.
Just as he came in, he left; another day at the job. Speaking as he walked out and patiently waiting for his vehicle with the fans. The same humble spirit and professionalism he showed up with, for a job well done. No ego; just a comedy student who graduated and putting his education to work.
– Nika Simone