He didn’t overstay his welcome. He gave us a glimpse into his undeniable talent over two decades ago. From stand up to movie big shot, and back to comedy, Hollywood veteran Chris Tucker returns to his first love, cracking up live audiences with side splitting, raw comedy.
Tucker, who kept a low profile in recent years, allowed fans to miss him. And that we did. Laying low, the Georgia native, who was reportedly the highest paid actor in 2007 for the wildly successful Rush Hour 3 blockbuster, is back and better than ever. But don’t call it a comeback. Wittier. Refined. Seasoned. Tucker has the resume to back it up. Freshly charged, the Silver Linings Playbook actor is ready to show what comedy has been missing. First up, the famous Chicago Theater.
The 45-year-old, who also participated in ABC’s TV special “Taking to the Stage” for the National African-American Museum of History and Culture, took comedy by storm in the cult classic Friday, which celebrated it’s 20th birthday in 2015, as the irresponsible, yet loveable stoner Smokey. Since then, the comedian, equipped with an unmistakably striking tone and a knack for impersonations and attention stealing story telling, made him a household name and fan favorite.
His latest projects, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a war drama based on Ben Fountain’s novel of the same name, which initiated the actor’s return to the big screen, and Chris Tucker Live, a Netflix released stand up showcasing his comedic chops, filmed in his hometown of Atlanta, puts Tucker back on the map. And rightfully so.
The Source magazine caught up with Tucker in Chicago as he talked about his new projects, President Obama and the last time he cried. – Angela Wilson
The Source: Congratulations on your comedy tour! Do you get nervous?
Chris Tucker: Not really, I get excited about the preparation- I do a little bit but not really. I’m used to it, and once you get on stage, you’re good to go.
And a lot of people don’t know that you started doing standup…
I started in stand up and I never let it go.
When fans attend a Chris Tucker show, what can they expect?
Everything! I talk about my life, my experience- I took a lot of time off from doing movies and I traveled the world and made a lot of friends. A lot of things has happened since I appeared on Def Jam 20 years ago. I talk about what’s going on now in the world, a lot of stuff.
And you attended President Obama’s speech in Chicago…
It was unbelievable- it was history! I didn’t realize how big and how important it was to be there. It was spiritual.
It made me feel so proud for him to be so positive. I feel like he really does love this country and he said to include everybody- he said so many things to keep his work going and he did so many great things and he’s worried about the country, hoping those things don’t get destroyed.
And he [Obama] told us to not depend on him for change…
That’s right! We can do it for ourselves as we hold our leaders accountable. Then they’ll have to come to us asking what can they do to make things better. The power is in our hands.
Friday celebrated its 20 year anniversary in 2015! Take me back to 1995.
1995 – I was just a happy kid! I was just happy to get a movie, I was doing stand up for years! Friday was a gift because I wanted to do another movie- I did House Party 3, a small part, but that got me bigger parts including Friday.
Did you think the movie was going to turn into a classic decades later?
Nah, we never knew! But I was making sure I was prepared because it was my big shot to keep me going. But nobody knew. It took a life of it’s own and it’s a blessing.
What’s something fans would be surprised to know about Friday?
It was a small budget movie, it was independent, they shot it for 2 million dollars. Then New Line picked it up after the money ran out and next thing you know. Ice Cube label- the movie division initially put up the money for it.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love?
Spent a lot of money- not that much, not that much! *laughs*
When’s the last time you cried?
When my dad died. He died last January, around this time. We had him for a long time- age 69, although he was young. He was a fun father, that was my buddy. And I know that my dad would want me to live life to the fullest, be happy and have fun because he was all about fun.
What you got going on besides your tour- Dave Chappelle will be joining you on a few stops?
Yes! We got four shows in New Orleans, me and Dave decided to do a big show for All Star weekend. He’s a good friend of mine and I’m looking forward to working with him because that just brings the bar up.
I’m writing and producing and looking into some new movies I’m about to start shooting, they’ll be coming out real soon.
See when Chris is coming to a city near you here.