Chris Rock: ‘Grown Ups’ Is Better Than ‘The Artist’

The audience gets the final say, Chris Rock says. He also says that it is getting tougher to develop cutting-edge comedy without offending someone because of the Internet

Comedian Chris Rock wasn’t kidding when he said that “Grown Ups” – the 2010 film comedy he made with Adam Sandler, Kevin Hardy, David Spade and Rob Schneider — is better than the Academy Award winner for best picture.

“Hey, ‘The Artist’ was great. ‘Grown Ups’ is better than ‘The Artist, and it’s better than ‘The Artist’’ cause the audience says so,” he told the New York Times in a Q&A.  “No film critic’s going to say it, but ‘Madagascar 3’ is better than ‘The Artist,’’ and it’s better because it makes people feel better. That’s ultimately what it boils down to.

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“Carrot Top’s better than Mort Sahl. Is he a better writer? Are we going to jot down Carrot Top’s prose 100 years from now? I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is, Carrot Top makes people feel better than Mort Sahl ever made people feel.”

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Rock, who hosted the Academy Awards in 2005, made the comments while in the coastal community of Marblehead, Mass., not far from Boston, where he’s filming the sequel to “Grown Ups” for Sony.

He also addressed the Internet-fueled anger over a recent joke of his and rape jokes by Daniel Tosh.

Rock drew fire after tweeting on July 4: “Happy white peoples independence day the slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.”

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“We just live in a world where the audience gets a say now,” Rock said. “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.

Criticism could have a chilling affect on comedy, Rock said.

“When you’re workshopping it, a lot of stuff is bumpy and awkward. Especially when you’re working on the edge, you’re going to offend. A guy like Tosh, he’s at the Laugh Factory. He’s making no money. He’s essentially in the gym. You’re mad at Ray Leonard because he’s not in shape, in the gym? That’s what the gyms are for.

“The sad thing, with all this taping and stuff, no one’s going to do stand-up. And every big stand-up I talk to says: ‘How do I work out new material? Where can you go, if I have a half an idea and then it’s on the Internet next week?’"

His own work, which typically addresses racial and sexual stereotypes, is a prime example, Rock said.

“Just look at some of my material. You can’t imagine how rough it was and how unfunny and how sexist or racist it might have seemed. “N—– vs. Black People” probably took me six months to get that thing right. You know how racist that thing was a week in? That’s not to be seen by anybody.”