Chris Rock Dismisses His Own Nasty July 4 Tweet

Comedian Chris Rock was lovingly interviewed by Dave Itzkoff of the New York Times. “I haven’t done any dirty work in a while...I’m ready to curse. I’m ready to really, really be a bad boy. I’m ready to actually be Chris Rock.”

When Itzkoff asked him about his sneering "Happy White People's Independence Day" tweet on July 4, he said it was no "big whoop," that if "you're a fan of mine, that joke's not even a single. It's a B-side that never gets released." But if you're not a fan, you're somehow not allowed to judge it:

Q. On July 4 you tweeted: “Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.” Were you surprised at the outrage that stirred up?

A. That’s the kind of joke I would have told on Letterman. We just live in a world where the audience gets a say now. My actual belief? Only fans should be allowed to criticize. Because it’s for the fans. When I hear somebody go, “Country music [stinks],” I’m like, well, country music’s not for you. You’re just being elitist. Only a fan of Travis Tritt can say the record [stinks], because he’s got every one. Same thing with jokes. You’re a fan of mine, that joke’s not even a single, it’s a B-side that never gets released. It’s no big whoop.

Q. Whether it’s your tweet, or Daniel Tosh joking about rape, or Tracy Morgan saying he’d kill his son if he came out to him, does it seem like the Internet is just adding more fuel to these fires?

A. Are they real fires? Or are people just reacting to something? Just because there’s an alarm going doesn’t mean it’s a fire. And I think that people are confusing the two. It’s only a fire when it offends the fans, and the fans turn on you. Tosh has fans, and they get the joke. If you’ve watched enough Tracy Morgan, you let the worst thing go by. When did Tracy Morgan become Walter Cronkite? You have to mean something to me to offend me. You can’t break up with me if we don’t date.

That's bizarre logic. If -- and this is not a desirable example -- there was an unrepentant racist stand-up comedian, would it be right for him to say Chris Rock can't judge his work if he's not a fan?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis