Chris Rock has some interesting words for his fellow comedians: cater to your base, and worry about broader audiences later.
“I think everybody should be funny to the people that look like them first. If you can’t make people that look like you laugh, something’s wrong,” Rock said during a panel at Produced By: New York, an annual conference from the Producers Guild of America.
Rock was asked how, in a producing role, he decides who is right for a project and how he determines what is funny. Rock cited his recent work directing Amy Schumer, and late night host Samantha Bee, as examples of his thesis.
“Some people aren’t making comedy for me. Like Samantha Bee. Okay, this is not for me particularly, this is for a certain group of women, and I got to, like, kind of defer,” he said of the “Full Frontal” host.
For his Emmy-nominated Schumer collaboration, “Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo,” Rock said he gravitated toward the material he didn’t understand as a sign of what was funny — like yeast infection jokes.
“It was like almost doing a special in reverse. If I knew what she was talking about, I’d cut it. I wanted all the s–t I didn’t know about, you know what I mean? It’s like, oh, this thing about the yeast infection. Let’s keep that because I don’t know s–t about yeast infections,” he said.
“If I’m laughing at it, it’s not good,” Rock concluded.
It’s no surprise Rock is pontificating on what makes a good standup — last year’s Oscar host recently announced he’ll film two stand-up specials for Netflix, the first to tape in 2017 during a world comedy tour.
“Chris Rock is a beloved actor and director, and his remarkable stand-up makes him comic royalty. There is no one like him, and Netflix offers the global platform and creative freedom that will serve as a perfect home for someone with his incredible talent,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer, said at the time.
Other notable appearances at Produced By: New York included Tina Fey, who discussed the political bent of her former stomping ground, “Saturday Night Live.”
J. Clara Chan contributed to this report.