The Fox Theater. It's where one goes to enjoy culturally relevant events. I personally I am not a frequenter of Fox Theater events, but when Chris Rock came to Atlanta I just had to go. I haven't attended a live comedy show recently and especially not any major headlining comics. I must say, Chris Rock cemented himself as one our greatest modern comics with this show in my book. It's very possible the material will be used in his upcoming Netflix special, so I am reluctant to reveal his specific bits. Instead, let's talk about the overall experience.
The line was out of the door and around the building. And using a magnetic pin and phone pouch, all smartphones were placed into a locked bag and we were checked for any recording devices; I was asked if my smartwatch had any recording capabilities for example. Again, given that Netflix paid Chris Rock so much for his upcoming special, it makes sense to avoid any pirating. The other brilliant aspect of having all of us carry our phones in a pouch? It forces everyone to be disconnected from our phones and be present for the show. No snaps or selfies during the show. It was evident after the show seeing everyone have their heads staring at their phones while bumping into others that we needed phones taken away..
After a my phone was in the pouch and a quick trip through the metal detectors, it was a walk to the seats where the audience was treated to opener Roaster Jeff Ross. Some volunteers came on stage and he let off a flurry of jokes but keeping it light. At this point, the crowd was in stitches. The Roastmaster General was as funny as ever.
Next to stage, Yvonne Orji from "Insecure" whom I did not know performed stand up comedy. She offered her own self reflective comedy and also had the crowd dying laughing. Men should pay attention to her comedy because she provided great insight to the female perspective.
After this was a brief intermission to allow for a rest room break, grab a drink or two, or what have you.
Then Rock came to the stage and absolutely killed. Watching him was less about seeing a comedian but more so seeing a journalist; a facilitator of truth and breaking down issues to a bite sized level of profoundness. Great comics leave us walking away with a sense of empowerment and ability to see something different. Katt Williams joking about garlic injected cows is a criticism about today's genetically modified foods. Kevin Hart talking about his father's mannerisms is really about being able to be successful despite less than ideal childhood environments. Even Bill Burr's rants about women and divorce is a criticism of being a man in a family court and how one can lose half of one's wealth. Comedians are what I consider to the final defender for society; this is why satire is so successful within the news format. The Daily Show, Colbert, John Oliver, and Larry Wilmore. Where lies comedy, lies truth which is why it's funny when these comics are our news reporters. When Chris Tucker does the bit about Michael Jackson being a pimp, it's funny because of the absurdity and actual plausibility. When Chappelle talks about grape drink, the unfortunate reality is many of us did grow up consuming nonsense foods and had to learn about proper nutrition when we were older making his bit spot on.
I realize I cannot see a Chris Rock everyday (nor could afford it!), but perhaps I can go to smaller shows more often at least and support up and coming comics. Comedy in my opinion is one of the greatest art forms we have today and I'd implore us all to support it by watching the specials and seeing comics live.