Here's The Thing (Mary Ellen Matthews)

Episode #4

Chris Rock

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Monday, December 05, 2011


Chris Rock says he "wanted [his] acting to grow." So what did he do?  He took a job on Broadway. Alec goes backstage with Rock after a matinee of The Mother F**ker With The Hat to hear about what it was like for Rock to be in his first play. Rock says rehearsal was the hardest thing he's ever gone through in his life.

Chris Rock and Alec talk about the play, the movie business and Rock's career in stand-up.

Alec asks Rock about how the people in his life respond to his stand-up -- which as Alec says, can "filet them on stage."  "I'm like a lawyer," says Rock; "it would all hold up in court."  That said, he admits that everybody is uncomfortable.

READ | Interview Transcript


Chris Rock

Hosted by:

Alec Baldwin

Produced by:

Emily Botein and Kathie Russo

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Comments [39]


RP from SYD : what an ungracious poster, YOU are. can't you all see,that this is a conversation that is complete with built in casualness. what a bunch of stiffs. "oh he interrupts too much". you people are tone deaf.

Oct. 05 2013 02:06 AM
RP from Sydney

While you're tapping on the window I'll be off doing the real thing? And continues to labour the point. Such an ungracious interviewer. Also too many questions in quick succession. Please just chill. Let people talk.

Sep. 07 2013 08:50 AM

Chris Rock is very talented. I agree with him about reality tv, the worst. Alec seemed very curious about him and you could feel that.

Apr. 07 2013 03:27 PM
Mitch from Rye, NY

This interview, like every AB interview I have listened to, is amazingly entertaining, intelligent, informative, humorous and educational. Thank you so much! Makes me very proud to be a WNYC supporter.

Sep. 10 2012 10:07 PM
Denise from Los Angeles

My friend Christian turned me on to this podcast. I love how easy it is to navigate. Just click the button and hear the interviews. I'll be listening to them throughout the day, only complaint, they should be longer.
Mr. Baldwin on a nutritional note, because I know you love the subject.- give up grains. Grains are for birds. eat, meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and some seeds.

Sep. 08 2012 03:12 PM
Samuel from Raleigh

I love this podcast. Alec has a wonderful voice and really strikes a conversational tone that disarms the interviewee. It's pleasent to listen to.

My only complaint is that Alec will get really excited, ask a very interesting question, and then just as the answer gets really thoughtful, Alec will interrupt him with another question or personal antecdote.

I love the questions, and Alec's antecdotes, but I would like to hear the answers too.

It's like listing to a interview with a ADD interviewer.

Aug. 17 2012 08:58 AM

Great interviews Alec, you have great rapport with all your guests (I've listened to 3 podcasts so far) and the level of enquiry is great, from philosophical to trivial, and behind it all a real interest in the people and their stories and ideas.

You let your interviewees speak (something a lot of interviewers forget) and you really listen and have a good in depth conversation.

Excellent job sir.

Jul. 15 2012 07:22 PM
Lilly Lamonte from Brooklyn

Love it! Old people like me need to hear voices like yours and Ed Rollins!
Keep bring them in! Please!

Jul. 09 2012 06:25 PM
david troman from Manchester, United Kingdom

A truly brilliant interview! Have you ever thought about a highbrow talk show, not centered around product promotion? BIG FAN!

Apr. 06 2012 12:08 PM
Morgan from Chicago

Alec, I am a fan, have been a fan a long time. Your interviews with Chris Rock and Lorne Michaels were the bomb! On point and insightful. Keep em coming please.

Apr. 02 2012 10:08 PM
John from Montreal

Please hold Letterman to his promise. I feel he will do it for you.He doesn't like many people, but you two go way back.

Feb. 23 2012 03:47 PM
Scott Forde from Salt Lake City, Utah

Alec, it you happen to read this, at the end of your interview with Michael Douglas you said to go to your site to recommend potential guests for your program? Where? Here? If so, then I found it, but you seemed to infer that it would be obvious?

My comment about your show, "great, but double the length."

My initial guest suggestions: #1- Mickey Rooney (knew everyone in early american film, and has stories you would love.)

#2- Werner Erhard. A brilliant man who knew so many in Hollywood, who had a great impact on American philosophy in the 70's. Just a fun, brilliant man.

#3-James Cann.... Great storyteller.

#4-Dustin Hoffman - perhaps the greatest living American storyteller vis a vie Hollywood.

#5- Tom and Dick Smothers.... Fabulous lives, great stories, brilliant commentaries on American politics.

#6-Dan Ackroyd on the topic of Ghosts

#7-Whoopie Goldberg on politics and Hollywood, and everything else too. A brilliant, complex woman.

All of these would be wonderful, but they all need at least 40 minutes.


Scott Forde

Feb. 22 2012 05:42 PM
Julie Sunstein from Ann Arbor

Laughed going to work today. Great Podcasts, interesting life experiences, glad you are doing these Alex.

Feb. 17 2012 09:24 AM
Jennifer from KY

I have always respected Alec for being a great actor but after listening to this new podcast, I love him! He is so thought provoking and his interviews show a different side to his guests that we wouldn't otherwise get to see. Lately, Alec has shown a side to celebrity that it proves many of them are just regular people at their core, him included. Great concept, great show, great host. Keep'em coming!!

Jan. 10 2012 09:52 AM
Dan Miles from Phoenix, AZ

A very entertaining and at times thought provoking interview. My only criticism is the length. I wish it was longer. As an interviewer myself I don't have any problems with AB's style. I've had guests on my show who gave short, succinct answers and guests who gave twelve minute answers to every question I asked. You have to base your passiveness or assertiveness on what makes that particular guest comfortable and I think AB does this naturally. I have definitely encountered interviewers who butt in too much and try to keep the focus on themselves and personally I would NOT put AB in this category. Can't wait to hear his Steve Martin episode! (hint hint)

Jan. 05 2012 12:51 PM

Phenomenal interview and I didn’t at all feel you were – as some had alluded – putting words into Chris's mouth; rather you seemed to keep the repartee sharp and on target. Given that Chris is both verbally adept and as capable as the best of them of leading the banter into a 'safe repertoire' (i.e. as likely as any comic is of straying into a riff or rehearsed response) - I think it was fine to push the sort of comments that forced him into addressing specific issues. Though some purists would hold that the interviewer’s personality should remain utterly transparent, that isn’t the reason the same audience goes to see a Werner Herzog or even Errol Morris documentary. We do expect their presence. So please, keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe drop the schtick about “unique impromptu odd locations” since that seems a bit contrived and not an artifice that is deployed to any particular advantage… But otherwise, love the stuff! Forget more polish and just keep hammering away in that slightly frightening but charming manner you seem to have mastered.

Dec. 30 2011 07:51 PM

Phenomenal interview and I didn’t at all feel you were – as some may have thought – putting words into his mouth but rather keeping the conversation sharp and on target. Given that Chris is both sharp and capable of banter - and as likely as any comic into straying into a riff or rehearsed response – I think it was fine to push the sort of comments that forced him into addressing specific issues. Though some purists would hold that the interviewer’s personality should remain utterly transparent, that isn’t the reason we go see a Werner Herzog or even Errol Morris documentary. We do expect their presence. So please, keep doing what you’re doing. Maybe drop the schtick about “unique impromptu visits to odd locations” since that seems a bit contrived and not an artifice that is deployed to any particular advantage… But otherwise, love the stuff! Forget more polish and just keep hammering away in that slightly frightening but charming manner.

Dec. 30 2011 07:42 PM

Liked the interview. However, I wish you wouldn't put words in the guests mouths or answer your own questions. Just ask a question and...WAIT....they will come up with their own words. Very distracting!!

Dec. 18 2011 07:11 PM
Phyllis from Chicago

Loved this one. Great job, Alec. Can't wait to hear more. Makes me want to hear more and even more Chris Rock in casual conversation.

Dec. 13 2011 11:45 AM
Elsie from NYC

Oh Alec, one more notch on your belt toward perfectly delicious. Esp the denouement. (And who would have thought: a sweet Chris Rock. ..)

Dec. 10 2011 08:34 PM
Aliseo from Staten Island NYC

Here'sTheComment...Great conversation that brought together two GREAT minds from two radically different worlds, yet you, through great insightful questions, demonstrated that the performing arts and entertainment world is judged not based on race, but talent, hard work and balanced with human intelligence and frailty and perseverance...Excellent demonstration of why you call the show “Here’s The Thing”- Chris Rock was the first guess you had so far that got to say the words "here's the thing" not once, but twice! ... Yesterday it was 30 Rock...Today Chris Rock... Tomorrow?... Here'sTheThing....

Dec. 09 2011 07:49 PM

Reality is not all black and white___ I love Chris Rock and Mayor Baldwin is a treasured and loved by millions___ so what is the thing with thinking you are above the rules??? Maybe next podcast you will answer questions and not interrupt so much!

Dec. 09 2011 11:22 AM

I am a big fan of Alec & Chris, but this was a little too #firstworldpains or rather #menofthe firstworldpains for me. It was, however, interesting to listen to a knowing discussion of race in the entertainment industry. You do lose me when you laud Woody Allen, especially for a third of the interview. Good luck Alec, I'll listen to future podcasts.

Dec. 09 2011 11:10 AM

Thanks for sharing...
Love you both..

Dec. 07 2011 09:11 PM
bocheball from nyc

Loved the interview and would've preferred to hear more of Chris and less of Alec, who interrupted a bit much for my taste. Still, the questions were good.

Dec. 07 2011 04:47 PM
Bryan from Chicago

Hey Alec, love the show. Just recently started listening and its now a new favorite! Thanks for doing it!


Dec. 07 2011 01:00 PM
Annam from Brooklyn

Enjoyed listening to this. Alec Baldwin, you're a man of many talents. Really found Chris's comments on race admirable and I concur with his perspective.

Dec. 06 2011 08:36 PM
Danielle Notaro

Saw MFer With The Hat- Chris was awful-man, quality actors who DO have experience would have died to fo that part AND get paid- this is how fame sucks

Dec. 06 2011 07:24 PM
Chris Braun from Silicon Valley

Nice work with Chris Rock...You painted the picture well with him...the dressing room, family interaction and I was surprised about the Woody love...(my bro still has his 12" B & W TV from his trailer shooting Zelig : )

Dec. 06 2011 02:15 PM
Don Neal from Chicago, Illinois USA

Good interview. I also like the name of the program. Chris must have said it during the interview at least three times. I really enjoy Chris's work and would love to see the play next time I'm in NY.

Dec. 06 2011 01:42 PM

Great Interview! Alec just being Alec! Thank you!

Dec. 05 2011 08:51 PM

Great interview. The first R-rated flick me and my buddies snuck into was Red October. Keep 'em coming.

Dec. 05 2011 07:29 PM
Joannie from LI, NY

Thank you, Alec, for a Fantastic interview with Chris Rock. Very interesting and entertaining! I enjoyed it Tremendously!!! I highly recommend it to everyone! It ended much too quickly! I can't wait for the next Here's The Thing podcast from WNYC with host Alec Baldwin.

Dec. 05 2011 03:31 PM
Duey Baab from The Moon, Baby!

Nice conversation; I love that Rock tries out new material in Palm Beach! Alec asks pointed questions and you can hear his absolute interest in his guest. When will Woody be on...?

Dec. 05 2011 03:01 PM
George Myers from The Bronx, NY

I enjoyed this podcast from these two SNL alumni (plug here for Steve Martin on Jimmy Fallon NBC tonight, who'll be on that show more?). Glitch on cable TV yesterday had listed the synopsis of the original "Fun with Dick and Jane" (George Seagal and Jane Fonda) instead of what ran, the remake with Alec Baldwin ("Jack has got your back") and Jim Carey and Tea Leoni. As the credits ran thanking Enron, Worldcom, Tyco and others sort of a 10th anniversary which I later thought of to agree with you "60 minutes" seemed to be remorseful of the lack of courage of the SEC and Justice Dept. $17 million in energy had to be found for US Fort Hamilton, ironically Alexander Hamlton, a Federalist was the first Secretary of the Treasury. Pres. G.W. Bush fired the head of the US Army, who was also on the board of Enron. Chris Rock always reminds me of "Rocky" the African American kid in the family on the 1st floor, us on the 2nd in the Patterson Houses South Bronx projects we left for the 'burbs. That you Rocky?

Dec. 05 2011 12:14 PM
Barbara F. from NYC

I enjoyed this. Chris is a funny guy. Happy that Chris got to meet Woody Allen and happy to learn you are in his latest movie. Always enjoyed Allen's work.

Dec. 05 2011 09:26 AM
Robin Smith from Rochester Hills, MI

1 thing, guess you have to be an actor, but as the Audience and critic! I don't, never have!!! liked Woody Allen, as a producer, director, actor, or human being! the guy sucks!

Dec. 05 2011 09:16 AM
Lee from NYC

Baldwin is able to do anything. Don't tell him.

Dec. 05 2011 08:28 AM
TheDiva2 from Brooklyn

I really enjoyed this podcast and look forward to listening to many more. Who knew that Alec Baldwin would be a great fit with WNYC.

Dec. 05 2011 07:52 AM

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