Chris Rock roasts state of comedy: ‘I can’t say anything offensive and funny anymore’

The joke was made in light of recent backlashes faced by Kevin Hart and other comedians

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 09 January 2019 12:21 GMT
'You have put a lot of things on my mind' Kevin Hart speaks to Ellen after homophobic tweets

Chris Rock has commented on the current state of comedy, believing he can no longer say something “offensive and funny” due to backlash down the line.

The actor was on presenting duties at the 2019 New York Film Critics Circle Awards (NYFCC) when he joked: “If it was five years ago, I could say something really offensive and funny right now, but I can’t do that anymore, so… hey!“

Rock was presenting fellow comedian Bo Burnham with this year’s Best First Film prize for his work on Eighth Grade, which will be released in the UK this April.

He was roasting the fact that many comedians have had their reputations placed on the line for resurfaced jokes they made years ago, with some even going on to lose jobs as a consequence.

The most recent example is Kevin Hart who stepped down as host of this year’s Oscars after decade-old tweets reemerged in which he made offensive comments about the LGBT community.

After turning down the chance to apologise, Hart decided to step down from the role. In a statement, he said: “I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists.“ He also apologised to the LGBT+ community “for insensitive words from [his] past”.

Following the news, Sarah Silverman was criticised by Nick Cannon for old tweets she’d posted containing homophobic slurs – something that saw a number of LGBT+ comedians jump to the Wreck-It Ralph star’s defence.

Rock, who hosted the Oscars in 2005 and 2016, distanced himself from the role during the NYFCC, saying: “Steve Martin should host the Oscars! Because I’m not doing it, goddammit! You’re not getting me.”

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in