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Why Chris Rock’s ‘Tamborine’ Isn’t Spelled ‘Tambourine’

Rock’s publicists have their hands full

Last Updated: February 16, 2018 @ 1:08 PM

Since the debut of Chris Rock’s brilliant new Netflix special, “Tamborine,” his publicity team has had to call a few critics and reporters who accidentally spelled it “Tambourine.”

They, OK, we got the name of the special wrong because “tambourine” is a much more common spelling than the one Rock uses, which drops the letter U.

The instrument, as you probably guessed from the special’s title, is an essential part of the main message Rock delivers during the show. We won’t spoil it, but it’s a lesson about relationships we should all probably remember.

So why the “Tamborine” spelling? Rock explained it in a recent Facebook Live post, in which he gave fans a walk-through of his house.

“It’s spelled that way because that’s how Prince spells it in the song ‘Tamborine.'”

It’s that simple. Prince’s “Tamborine” — which Chad Clark described for The Washington City Paper as “roughly two minutes of threadbare metaphor for masturbation” — is from Prince’s immaculate 1985 album “Around the World in a Day.” (You should read Clark’s entire analysis. It’s good.)

Rock makes no secret of his Prince fandom — he conducted perhaps the greatest interview with him in 1997.

Rock’s “Tamborine” — not “Tambourine” — is now streaming on Netflix. You can watch Rock’s Facebook Live about the special here.