One thing you can count on when you talk to Chris Rock, no matter how unpredictable the dude can be, is that he would rather have you laugh than ask questions. Joking his way through this funny conversation about his third time around with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, Rock mulled the merits of kid hugs and kisses in comparison to making movies, what it’s like to get animated with the whole cast hanging together in a sweaty sound booth, and just how sexy Madagascar 3 costar Frances McDormand can be.
1. Why Madagascar 3? I think this is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in!
2. Are your kids turning out as funny as you are? My kids are dry. Like Wes Anderson. My parents, you know my mother —my dad’s dead— my mother has kind of got a John Witherspoon thing. She’s a little, you know, non-subtle about her comedy. But yes, it all rubs off, you know. And if your kids aren’t funny, you got problems. At least they’re funny now, until they start…getting arrested! Or something!
3. What do you think it is about the Madagascar movies that has made them such a hit? Ben said it’s Chris Rock. Ben Stiller! There you go. Isn’t that nice how we both compliment the other person? But I think it’s fun for the whole family. And they look great. I mean, they’re like these Basquiat paintings, almost. That move. You know what I mean? They look amazing. And the stories are really good. And you like the actors.
4. Do you feel your character Marty has grown up since the first Madagascar? Well you know when Marty came out of the closet, that was a great turning point. But their friendship has been trust, it’s been tested. And I always say, it’s the thing I’m working on in my standup act. Like you’re not even in a relationship until you’ve had to forgive somebody. Like it’s so easy to just go, for everything to be smooth. And these characters have had to forgive each other. And their friendship is stronger because of that.
5. Chris, at the Oscars you mentioned that doing these films is easy work. So how does that work compare to parenting? Parenting is much harder. It changes every day. And who the smartest one is, you or the kids. It is so hard, but so rewarding. You know, the pay. The hugs and kisses pay beats the money pay. Well, maybe not! No, the hugs and kisses pay is far greater than any pay you could ever get doing an animated movie.
6. Which are you more into, animation or acting? Acting. I love animation, though. I think my best movies have been in animation. But I like acting.
7. Would you say you’re anything like your character? Under my clothes, I do have stripes! Yes, they put dark makeup on me every day to cover my stripes. Much like Michael Jackson. Worked out for him. Yeah, that’s how I’m like my character.