Comedian Rock brings his humor to the literary state in 'Rock This!'

by Shelly-Ann Scott | 11/25/97 6:00am

Comedian Chris Rock's debut literary effort, "Rock This!," is a provocative, controversial and hilarious collection of the author's opinions on topics ranging from the black experience in America to keeping a marriage.

Rock (his real surname) has a lot to say and he's not shy about it. He starts the book off talking about the relative position of whites and other ethnic groups in America. As a statement of fact, he pronounces the country's attitude on immigration: "Since the Indians got swindled for some beads, nobody in America has been too excited about newcomers," he writes.

That same matter-of-fact tone prevails throughout the book. He is not an angry black man or a hustler, but he has his own strong beliefs. He simply sounds like a man who has been fortunate enough to make some money doing what he enjoys when the odds were not stacked in his favor, and so, instead of writing just to make people laugh, he is enjoying the chance to say his piece.

Do not be afraid, "Rock This!" is not a preachy book arguing one side of every issue, just a lot of humorous and astute observations with some conviction thrown in. Caution, if you take offense easily, then this book may not be for you!

Highlight topic: The O.J. Simpson trial. I like Rock's summary of the country's reaction to the verdict: "Black people were too happy. White people were too mad."

So what does Rock think really happened? He's unequivocal about this. O.J. got away with murder, he says. In typical matter of fact fashion, he figured that Nicole should have moved far away from O.J. to collect her alimony. No point hanging around letting other men drive the Ferrari he bought her and tormenting the man. He says, "I'm not saying he should have killed her, but I understand."

On men and women, and, of course, sex, Rock is no less opinionated. He thinks that everyone has to know what they look like when dealing with the opposite sex. Don't think that you can get away with the same stuff as your good looking friends, because you can't. Your friend Al can wear a T-shirt and jeans all day because he has bulging biceps, but Rock says, "My skinny ass has to put on a suit!"

In this area, the book definitely has a male's perspective. Translated, a man telling other men how to figure out what a woman has on her mind, but he's got some advice for women too.

"Women, if you've been over to a guy's house four times ... and you haven't met anybody, he doesn't think you look that good. How many women out there are going right now, "I thought he really just liked keeping me all to himself ... "

Clearly, I'm not Chris Rock but you see my point.

The book is not the dating guide of the future but he has some good advice for men, and women need to read it so they know what the men do! Believe it or not, Rock is married. He seems to recognize that marriage is difficult and he wants to keep his wife happy.

In particular, he would like to provide her with "her other husband," the type of guy who actually likes taking his woman to see the "English Patient." That way the first husband can stay home and watch the game. Does the other husband get to have sex with the wife? Grudgingly, Rock says yes, but husband #1 has pre-emptive rights.

Go out and get this book. I will not give away anything more, but I will guarantee that while you may not agree with him all the time, Chris Rock will make you laugh anyway. In your room, all by yourself, in the middle of the night. (So now my neighbors will finally understand what was going on when they heard those funny noises).

Treat yourself.