After 19 years of marriage, Chris Rock has finally settled his bitter divorce from ex-wife Malaak Compton-Rock, which is among the topics he discusses in a candid interview with Rolling Stone.
The RS piece includes some of Rock’s stand-up routines he tested out at an NYC comedy club last year while working out material for his upcoming Netflix special, when his comedy was laced with unvarnished anger toward his ex.
“If someone wants 52 per cent custody, you know they want to kill you,” joked Rock before going into a bit about realizing he was paying for his lawyer, his ex’s lawyer and even the court reporter.
“Everyone woke up today and said, ‘I’m billing Chris Rock,'” he said, adding: “Would I ever get married again? Not if it would cure AIDS.”
In the interview, Rock jokes about why he hit the road for a stand-up comedy tour before taping his special. “It’s the alimony tour,” he quips. “I’ve got to make some money first.”
Rock is reminded of a line from one of his movies: “Marriage is so tough, Nelson Mandela got divorced. … He got out of jail after 27 years of torture, spent six months with his wife and said, ‘I can’t take this s*** no more.'”
Admits Rock: “Some of it was a prophecy. I wasn’t a good husband a lot of the times.”
The interview also finds Rock reflecting on his divorce. “A woman breaks up with you, the first thing she says is ‘I don’t need this s***.’ She doesn’t say, ‘I don’t love you,’ she says she doesn’t need you.”
Rock admits that he thought he could get away with bad behaviour in his marriage because of his fame and money, but has since come to realize the truth.
“That actually goes the other way,” he says. “My faults are magnified. Your significant other, if they really love you, has a high opinion of you. And you let them down.”
Looking back at his edgier onstage material, Rock appears to have mellowed during the intervening months. “You might have caught me just coming out of court,” he tells the interviewer of his angrier material, admitting he’s not in the same place that he was then.
“I asked myself, ‘Do I want to be angry for a year?’ It’s not a cool place to be. It’s not healthy. I’m not Sam Kinison — I loved Kinison, but that’s not where I want to hang out every night.”
In fact, Rock admits he’s toned down his material significantly since then. “It’s not fair,” he says. “I have a mic, she doesn’t. God forbid people are bugging her in the supermarket. That’s not cool. I’m going to have to see her at weddings and graduations.”
You can read the full interview with Chris Rock in the latest issue of Rolling Stone.