Chris Rock set the record straight Tuesday about Jimmy Fallon’s resurfaced blackface impersonation of him from a 2000 “SNL” sketch, saying that he has no bad feelings toward his fellow comedian in an interview with The New York Times.
“Hey, man, I’m friends with Jimmy. Jimmy’s a great guy. And he didn’t mean anything,” Rock told the Times. “A lot of people want to say intention doesn’t matter, but it does. And I don’t think Jimmy Fallon intended to hurt me. And he didn’t.”
He also addressed the recent uptick in demands to erase movies and television shows from the past that have used blackface.
Asked whether he feels the “wider push to expunge blackface” has been taken “too far,” Rock responded, “If I say they are, then I’m the worst guy in the world. There’s literally one answer that ends my whole career. Blackface ain’t cool, OK? That’s my quote. Blackface is bad. Who needs it?”
“It’s so sad, we live in a world now where you have to say, I am so against cancer,” he continued. “‘I just assumed you liked cancer.’ No, no, no, I am so against it. You have to state so many obvious things you’re against.”
Fallon apologized for the blackface sketch back in May soon after it was resurfaced, calling the decision “unquestionably offensive.”
“In 2000, while on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface,” Fallon wrote. “There is no excuse for this. I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”