At age 18, Rock was discovered by Eddie Murphy at New York’s Comedy Strip. A small role in Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987 was Rock’s film debut. Rock also starred in Keenan Ivory Wayans’ I’m Gonna Get You Sucka in 1988, which exploited racism in a comedic manner.
In 1990, Rock followed the footsteps of his idol, Eddie Murphy, by joining the cast of Saturday Night Live. A year later, he released his first comedy album, Born Suspect. He also undertook the more dramatic role of playing Pookie, a drug addicted informant, in Mario Van Peebles’ feature New Jack City in 1991.
After spending three seasons on SNL, Rock left to pursue other career opportunities. In 1993, Rock appeared on FOX’s In Living Color for a handful of episodes prior to the shows cancellation.
1996 marked a turning point in Rock’s career. His talents were recognized by HBO, and the cable network produced a comedy special starring Rock, titled Bring in the Pain. The comedian won two Emmy Awards and wide critical acclaim for the show. In 1997, Rock began hosting his own television show on the HBO Network, The Chris Rock Show, which earned him two CableACE awards. During this high point in his career, Rock also appeared in Sgt. Bilko (1996), Beverly Hills Ninja (1997), and Lethal Weapon 4 (1998).
Rock also received two Grammy Awards for his spoken comedy albums Roll With the New (1997) and Bigger and Blacker (1999). In 1999, he appeared in the irreverent big-screen comedy Dogma, alongside such hot young stars as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Salma Hayek. He had another big screen role in 2000, playing a hit man in the black comedy Nurse Betty, starring Renee Zellweger.
More recent films include Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Bad Company (2002) costarring Anthony Hopkins, and the voice of Marty in DreamWorks’ Madagascar (2005).
In 2005, Rock debuted a sitcom on The CW Television Network called Everybody Hates Chris, a spoof on the perennially popular Everybody Loves Raymond. The show was inspired by Rock’s teenage years growing up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of New York City. The show quickly became the second most watched comedy on the network.
Rock’s fifth HBO special, Kill the Messenger, premiered on September 27, 2008, and won him another Emmy for outstanding writing for a variety or music program.
In October 2010, The New York Times reported that Rock will be performing on Broadway in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play The Motherfucker with the Hat in the spring of 2011.
At age 18, Chris was discovered by Eddie Murphy at New York”s Comedy Strip.