We were privileged enough to get the invite to attend a taping of Chris Tucker’s SiriusXM Unmasked interview. DJ Ron Bennington (of Ron & Fez) sat down with Tucker in the main lobby room for an hour-long Q&A with the comedian. It’s a special occasion since Tucker does very little press and isn’t one to go out often and have conversations with people. so we sat in on the conversation and here are a few things we learned.
He got his start in comedy in his teens
Born into a family of ministers and preachers and influenced by the likes of likes of Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy, Chris began his stand-up career while as a teenager by conning himself into comedy clubs that he wasn’t old enough to get into. He got so good that he moved to Los Angeles around 1992 about 2 years out of college.
Chris first TV appearance was on Def Comedy Jam
… and it was the infamous first appearance of Bernie Mac when he pulled his infamous “I ain’t scared of you” routine. The comedian before him was boo’ed of stage so Mac took the stage like a beast declaring that he wasn’t scared of the crowd and proceeded to pummel. This overshadowed Tucker’s first appearance but that show is one of legend.
He’s returning to his stand-up roots
Chris spent the last 2 years in clubs and theaters developing a new stand-up routine. He just taped the new special in Atlanta and plans to put it out in 2013. But if you are looking for a foul mouthed Chris Tucker this time around, you won’t have it for he’s stated his comedy has evolved over the years and prefers to make people laugh through ideas rather than just cursing.
He prefers to travel and offer good will aid to other countries
Chris works closely with other leaders like Bill Clinton and Bono (who he considers friends) to help with causes in third world countries. When he first met Bono, he called him “bone-oh”.
He nearly started a riot in Ghana by accident
While on one of these trips Tucker was in a Ghana market, Tucker wanted to purchase a handmade drum. He only had $100 bill on him so he gave the merchant the bill. Trying to get a big payday too, others saw this and started to follow him around. The pushing and shoving got so large that a riot nearly broke out.
He’s turned down a lot of money for movies
He once sent $1 million dollars back to producers of a film he agreed to do because he decided it wasn’t a right fit for him. Director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) once stated that Tucker has passed up nearly $100 million in movie role offers over the years. Tucker stated, “when you put it that way is sounds worse than it really was!”
Tucker first met Ratner through Heavy D
Heavy D caught Tucker’s stand-up set at The Comedy Store in LA and wanted him to be in his video for “Nuttin’ But Love” the director of that video was a young Brett Ratner.
He works with who he likes to work with
Since being a movie star isn’t his biggest priority, Tucker wants to work with people/scripts that are interesting to him. He made 3 Rush Hour flicks because of the instant rapport he felt with Jackie Chan. In the long run Tucker would like to model his movie career after Sidney Poitier, who is respected by everyone and doesn’t make many mistakes that are embarrassing to himself or those he loves.
Chris Tucker’s “Unmasked” interview will air all week long on SiriusXM on both the The Opie & Anthony Channel and Raw Dog Comedy channels. Chris is also in the new film Silver Linings Playbook which is in theaters now.