How Chris Rock works out new material in a small club

I got bumped from my set at Stand Up NY last night...but for a damn good reason: Chris Rock showed up to do a 45-minute set. He's getting material ready for a tour in the fall (and I heard him mention on TV recently that he's doing a New Year's Eve show at Madison Square Garden too). There were only about 30 or so people there so it was a loose vibe. He did all new material and glanced at his notes on a yellow legal pad pretty frequently.

He came out and mocked some guy who was trying to film the set and then pretended to stop by putting the camera on the table. Chris said, "I've made fucking movies! You don't think I know when I'm being filmed!?"

Some of the bullet points for the night:
* He hates rich kids so now he kinda hates his own kids
* Kids are cruel ("You don't need to be taught to hate, you need to be taught to love.")
* Walmart is the AIDS of retailers
* Hip hop is weak nowadays
* Hot chicks are always in debt because they think someday a man will come and "clean up the mess"
* Women "can never go back" financially, men can never go back sexually

Of course, it was all about the delivery. He didn't get that preacher vibe going very often but it came out in spots. There were 5-10 lines during the night that were just ridiculously good. Like lightning bolts. My sense is that he starts with these bolts and then writes around them.

Like "Walmart is the AIDS of retailers." He talked about how Walmart kills off all other stores and how Walmarts are so big they're like a town (security guard tells him: "You were by frozen foods? You really shouldn't be near there after 11pm.") Then he'd glance over at his legal pad and say, "No unions." Then just start ranting about no unions or health care for the employees there.

It was tough to tell how much was prepared and how much was just ranting on the spot. He even commented on some of the bits halfway through. "This needs to be fleshed out more if it's gonna make it. It's just you don't want to hack it up with the whole 'Walmart's a town' thing...etc."

He did hardly any crowdwork. Why bother? It's not like he's gonna be able to use that on HBO. He wasn't there to play, he was there to get material together.

Crowd was pretty much in awe. Random tourists from Amsterdam and North Carolina got way more than they bargained for. And then there was the bunch of comics in the back just soaking it up. A few more showed up as word got out via text messages.

Chris didn't stick around afterwards. He got off stage and then headed out (and I heard later he went and did another set at The Cellar).

Update: Chris Rock and I "share" a bill again

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