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Chris Rock On Life, Marital Strife and Loving His Wife

Chris Rock is a wealth of hilarious observation on all aspects of life. His stand-up routines have discussed gang violence, the economy and, of course, the battle of the sexes. Now he’s bringing that discussion into his films too. I Think I Love My Wife is almost like Rock‘s visual essay on marriage.

As a family man (Rock) becomes bored with his inattentive wife (Gina Torres), he must resist temptation from a hot new seductress (Kerry Washington) who invades his life. Full of asides on the nature of attraction and relationships, Rock says a lot through the film. But he said even more to us. Amid reports that his own marriage is failing, reflective of the movie, Rock shared even more witty observations about film, family and faux pas at the Oscars.

On His Inspirations for Family Material: “I’m from a family. I’m from a two-parent household in Brooklyn and I grew up with a pop and all that stuff. Got a bike. I had a pretty normal childhood. It’s rich because nobody’s doing it pretty much. It’s one of those things that’s an evergreen topic, but most of the comedies, especially the movies anyway are just so high concept. This movie’s got a simple, simple plot. He’s got his marriage, seven years, hits a rough patch, girl walks in, try not to sleep with her. No studio, they want big stupid ideas.”

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On Taking Ideas From His Own Family: “It’s not like they do something crazy and it ends up in my act. It’s just somebody does something typical and it ends up in my act. It’s never like my wife did something and now I’m talking about it. It’s like my wife did something, I told a friend, he told me his wife did the same thing and somebody else’s wife did it so five wives have to do it for it to be in the act. It’s never like one thing she did. It’s just something she did like a bunch of other women.”

On Big Studio Comedy Ideas: “They wanted me to do this movie where a NASCAR driver is hurt, he dies and they’re trying to figure out who’s going to drive this car that’s so expensive. They turn on the TV and they see this black guy being chased by police and that’s me. ‘He’ll race our car!’ That’s a real concept. I got offered lots of money to do that and I elected to do this.”

On Playing a Grown Up in I Think I Love My Wife: “I want to play an adult. I want to be a man. I want to have man problems in a movie. I want to be grown already. Most comedies are about guys that won’t grow up. So I wanted to play a guy who’s grown. The movie’s like a grown person’s horror flick.”

On Ignoring Social Pressure in Movies: “I’m an artist. I do what I do. I’m not Picasso but I’m sure he didn’t worry about getting the floor dirty. ‘I need a drop cloth!'”

On Why Married People Stop Having Sex: “I don’t know. I’m not Dr. Phil or anything. It’s not just marriage. People in the United States especially, a country where we’re not worried about our food or our shelter, people are bored with everything. All you guys got this job and loved it when you first got it, couldn’t wait. Now, every now and then you go, ‘What? They’re flying me where? I gotta sit with who? Sidney Poitier? Okay, I guess so.’ People you used to be excited just a couple years ago, excited. Marriage is just another relationship. With every relationship you have, you’re going to get bored with it in this land of milk and honey. In the poor places, they don’t have time to get worried. To get bored when you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to eat, you don’t have time to get bored with your mate.”

On Sprucing Up His Own Marriage: “How do you spruce up anything? Artificially. So you go places and you do things. Nothing lives forever. Only artificially.”

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On Dealing With Tabloids: “You’ve got to realize this when you’re in show business. If you accept the good, you have to accept the bad too. So I can’t sit here and go, ‘Oh, man, that was a great review. You were so right’ and then get pissed. So when they switch the tables, I’ve got to take it like a man sometimes. Because it ain’t really true that I’m great either. It’s like, ‘He’s the funniest man in America.’ I ain’t the funniest man in America. But I come out and wave every time they say it. So it just goes with the turf. You can’t be happy that fire cooks your food and be mad it burns your fingertips.”

On How an Oscar Host Should Handle Eddie Murphy Walking Out: “You’ve got to realize too a lot of stuff’s not on camera so he’d have to walk out while on camera if you’re going to make a joke about it. I’m sure he stayed, he lost, whatever. He didn’t lose. Another guy won. How do you lose? You just don’t win an Oscar. But yeah, if you didn’t have a mic here, how long would you be here? If they just took your mic, your mic just got cut off, how long would you hang out and watch them interview me? You’d be like, ‘This party’s over for me.'”

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