Chris Rock is an American comedian, actor, writer, director and film producer. Best known for his irreverent, boundary-crossing comedy routines, Continuing his standup career into the 1990s, he broke through when he became a member of the legendary revolving cast of Saturday Night Live in 1990, remaining with the show until 1993.
After a steady diet of bit parts in movies from the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, Rock finally landed in increasingly visible supporting roles in movies like Beverly Hills Ninja and Lethal Weapon 4. He received his first starring role in the Louis C.K.-directed 2001 film Pootie Tang.
Rock’s film career took off into the 2000s, guaranteeing him a steady stream of revenue generating appearances through the latter half of his 30s and into his early 40s. As one of the most influential comedians of the 2000s, Rock's career continued on an upward trajectory into the 2010s and he continued to develop his career further into film and television during that period, adding an increasingly confident body of work as a filmmaker and director.
Chris Rock is an American actor, comedian, writer, and filmmaker whose net worth as of 2022 is estimated at around $60 million. Prior to his 2016 divorce from Malaak Compton-Rock he was richer, at around $70 million, however Compton-Rock’s split from him, due to his infidelities during their marriage, cost him more than half of his estimated fortune at the time, losing him more than $40 million.
Rock’s public slapping by Will Smith at the 2022 Academy Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles, CA was a significant boost to his fortunes. Rock’s annual salary since 2018 has been approximately $10 million per year.
Chris Rock married Malaak Compton in the mid-1980s, and their acrimonious divorce in 2016 cost the actor over $40 million when it was all said and done. About his divorce, Rock said, “When guys cheat, it’s like we want something new. But then you know what happens? Your woman finds out and now she’s new. She is never the same again. So now you have new, but you had a bad new.” Perhaps it would have been a better and less expensive lesson to learn from other stars who went through the same tumult.
In the divorce, Compton won primary custody of the couple's children and a very expensive settlement for Rock. The $40 million figure commonly cited in the press appears to only encompass alimony and not ongoing payments to either his ex-wife's or his children's support. Rock found his net worth devastated as a result of his actions.
Rock’s losses in his divorce were so severe that later, appearing on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, he told John Mulaney he should use Malaak’s divorce attorney in his own divorce. He joked, “This is how much money I lost in my divorce – I recommended my ex-wife’s divorce lawyer.”
As with most comedians, Rock began his career as a club standup comic, working the New York comedy scene from his childhood home in Bedford-Stuyvesant, New York City. As a New York-based comedian, Rock had access to many legendary comedy clubs, and they honed his act through his youth. In 1987, Rock made his standup debut on Joan Rivers’ Late Show.
Rock’s starring film debut was in the 1991 film New Jack City, a crime drama also starring Wesley Snipes, Ice-T and Mario Van Peebles. Continuing from this debut, Rock continued to make television and film appearances through the early 90s before earning his first Comedy Central special in 1994. His 1996 special Bring the Pain and its accompanying album brought him his first taste of critical success, earning him two Grammy awards.
After the COVID-19 pandemic, Rock’s career saw something of a renaissance, driven by the desire of audiences to return to live events after various containment restrictions had been lifted, and then a sympathy boost following the slapping incident at the Oscars. Rock is likely to continue being a major comedy draw in the years to come.
Rock is one of the richest comedians in the United States. While his net worth is nowhere near that of many professional athletes, Rock’s sound investing strategies have paid off for him. Rock is estimated to have an annual salary in the neighborhood of $10 million, which is mostly driven by his sales of comedy specials both present and past, his development of films and television shows, and appearances as an actor in film and TV.
Chris Rock’s most recent TV and movie projects include hosting the Oscars in 2016 and 2022 (in the latter of which he was infamously slapped by fellow star Will Smith), the four-episode TV series Sidetracked and film Spiral, a sequel in the Saw series. Rock co-starred in Spiral with Samuel L. Jackson.
Chris Rock has a long-running endorsement deal with Nike. His income from this endorsement isn't public. He also has a deal with Netflix for an estimated $40 million per special. Rock’s film work includes the work of production house Compton-Rock, named for Rock and his former wife. His project development through this production house included the standup comedy series Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.
As a young comedian, Chris Rock idolized legendary comic Robin Williams, seeking him out and learning the craft from the man that he later described as being the first man he knew of who was funnier than Bugs Bunny. Chris Rock’s influence has spread from his humble beginnings to be a mentor to younger comedians like The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, Kevin Hart, and Aziz Ansari.
Rock is identified by Variety Magazine as one of the 500 most influential celebrities in the world for his long career in live entertainment, television, film, and production. Because of this, likely many more comedians and actors consider him a creative mentor than he has personally mentored in his career.
Chris Rock is a charitable celebrity. Rock’s causes include abuse, adoption, AIDS and HIV, at-risk and disadvantaged youths, and cancer. He specifically supports charities including Project (RED), the Andre Agassi Foundation, and he has organized several Comedy Central benefit specials for multiple causes, including 9/11 responders.
Rock is a supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), having made millions in donations over his lifetime. Rock was criticized in 2022 by the charity Alopecia UK for making a joke at Jada Pinkett-Smith’s expense during the Academy Awards incident that resulted in him getting slapped by Pinkett-Smith’s husband, Will Smith.
Chris Rock is a versatile comedian, actor, producer, and speaker. His career has spanned 35 years since his television debut in 1987 and even longer if we include his standup comedy origins in New York City. His net worth of $60 million has seen considerable rebound since the more than $40 million divorce judgment found against him in 2016. He is continuing to be a force in film and television, and will likely continue to dominate both media for years into the future.
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Written by Allen Lee
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