Published Sep 16, 2020Following a summer filled with numerous blackface scandals and subsequent call-outs, takedowns and apologies across the greater comedy community, Chris Rock — who was the subject of one such tasteless impersonations by Jimmy Fallon — has responded to his depiction and to the criticism lodged against the late-night talk show host.
In a new interview with the New York Times, Rock spoke at length about racism in America, including Fallon's depiction of him in a resurfaced SNL skit dating back to the year 2000.
"I'm friends with Jimmy. Jimmy's a great guy," Rock said. "And he didn't mean anything. A lot of people want to say intention doesn't matter, but it does. And I don't think Jimmy Fallon intended to hurt me. And he didn't."
When asked if he thinks the widespread move for streamers to scrub old blackface sketches from TV shows has gone too far, he gave a slightly more hardline response.
"If I say they are, then I'm the worst guy in the world," he said. "There's literally one answer that ends my whole career. Blackface ain't cool, OK? That's my quote. Blackface is bad. Who needs it?"
He continued: "It's so sad, we live in a world now where you have to say, I am so against cancer. 'I just assumed you liked cancer.' No, no, no, I am so against it. You have to state so many obvious things you're against."
Fallon had previously apologized for the clip, which he called an "unquestionably offensive decision." Back in May, the comedian thanked followers for holding him accountable for his actions.
Beyond Fallon's SNL sketch, multiple blackface scandals rocked the entertainment world over the summer, resulting in Netflix pulling The Mighty Boosh, The League of Gentlemen and four Chris Lilley shows. Artists, comedians and actors including David Byrne, Jimmy Kimmel, Howard Stern and others have issued apologies for wearing blackface in the past.
Chris Rock is set to star in Fargo Season 4, which will arrive on FX on September 27.