floating moments show why he's in elite company

floating moments show why he’s in elite company

Aware Super Theatre, August 13

Moments into his new show, Chris Rock addresses the elephant in the room: “I’m OK”. With that, he’s away, riffing on his sheer incredulity at unwittingly being one half of that headline-hogging Oscars slap. “He’s bigger than me! He has played Ali!” he relates, eyes boggling with the ridiculousness of the whole thing. “I couldn’t even play Floyd Mayweather!” It’s a bright spot in a slow opening stretch that sees Rock offer meandering thoughts on the general craziness of the times.

Moments into his new show, Chris Rock addresses the elephant in the room: that Oscars slap.Credit:AP

The 57-year-old has authored some of the most dazzlingly original and expertly provocative stand-up comedy ever, but, at times, ego-death relies on his still sublime delivery to sell material that tends to the anonymous.

There are familiar takes on the dangerous buffoonery of Trump, the illogic of anti-vaxxers, how ancient Joe Biden seems, and the irksome phenomena of self-appointed virology experts. More distinctive are the reflections on his wealth and how this shaped his daughters’ upbringing. There are amusing detours into what a trip to Disneyland looks like for the kids of a Hollywood A-lister. One section on a private school threatening to expel his daughter is overlong but eventually arrives at a satisfying conclusion.

Other times, he delights in wrong-footing the audience, explaining that he’s pro-choice but for somewhat unexpected reasons. He also explores his life as a single man and expresses his cynicism about monogamy and paranoia about dating in the #MeToo era.


the show is preceded by a montage of stand-up greats: Carlin, Kaufman, Pryor, Rivers. There are moments here, floating but undeniable, when he’s stalking the stage in that classic feline prowl or building up to a crescendo of exasperation, that you get a glimpse of why Rock belongs in that elite company.

Chris Rock: Ego Death is at Qudos Bank Arena on August 15.