DETAILS: In your latest film, 2 Days in New York, you talk to a cardboard cutout of Barack Obama. Got any election-year thoughts for the real president?
Chris Rock: I mean, if I want to talk to him, I can call him. Dude, being the first black anything sucks. But the country was in shambles, and he's cleaning it up. If you properly clean a room, it gets dirtier before it gets cleaner. Ever come back to your hotel room before the maids are finished? My God! Republicans are complaining. Romney's complaining. But Romney's rich. He doesn't know shit about cleaning.
DETAILS: Is it too soon to make George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin jokes?
Chris Rock: There's no joke there, unfortunately. It's sad. When you get old, it's like, "Damn it, I've seen this." I'm from Bed-Stuy. I marched for Yusuf Hawkins, you know? I don't totally agree with Bill Cosby. He said it wasn't racial, it's a gun issue. Well, it's a gun-racial issue. You know what makes you approach a six-foot-three black guy in the middle of the night? A gun. Paul Blart's not supposed to have a gun.
DETAILS: You're working on a documentary called Credit Is the Devil. Why that topic?
Chris Rock: Because credit is the devil. Dude, I'm rich—and I live in fucking Jersey. I had two cars in 1996, and I got two cars now. I live way below my means.
DETAILS: Lorne Michaels once said to you, "Everyone loses their first money. And if you're talented, you'll make more." Was that true in your case?
Chris Rock: Yeah. My first year on SNL, I made $90,000 dollars. And I bought a red Corvette for $45,000 dollars. I'm thinking, "I've got 45 grand left!" Taxes didn't even come into my equation. At the end of the first year of making 90 grand I was 25, 30 in the hole. We live in this baller, spend-money culture. But they never show you the outskirts of Vegas or Atlantic City. That's what most of the country is becoming.
DETAILS: Everybody Hates Chris was based on your childhood. Were you bullied?
Chris Rock: Yeah. I was bused to a school in Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn in 1972. I was one of the first black kids in the history of the school. There were parents with signs: nigger go home. For all intents and purposes, the United States had been practicing apartheid until '68. I was spit on every day. I had water balloons with piss thrown at me. I was fucking Carrie.
DETAILS: Is that where the comedy comes from?
Chris Rock: No, other people in my family are funny. I'm not pro-bullying. But people who are bullied tend to make shit happen. Is there a DreamWorks without bullies? No. Is there an Apple without bullies? No.
DETAILS: Before playing a recovering crack addict in New Jack City, you lived through the dawn of crack cocaine in Bed-Stuy. How did you keep from going down that path?
Chris Rock: I never did crack, but my friends did. It was the craziest shit. This was the dawn of the VCR. People were filming everything. It was not a weird thing for a friend to put on a videotape of some girl who lived next door, like, blowing eight guys for crack. One summer, me and a friend had a plan to sell crack. It was no different than getting a paper route or my aunt who sold Avon.
DETAILS: What happened to the plan?
Chris Rock: My friend got hooked.
DETAILS: That's sad. What did you think when you heard about Whitney Houston's death?
Chris Rock: I'd known Whitney a little bit. She's not dead because she was an addict. She's dead because she was an addict who kept getting money. Chris Farley's dead because he was an addict with 50 grand in his pocket.
DETAILS: Do you miss Farley?
Chris Rock: All the time.