Today's comedians need to step up their game, according to Chris Rock.
Compared to greats like George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Bill Cosby, they just aren't bringing the funny. When they do, the laughs are entirely too "situational."
The veteran headliner shared his thoughts on the condition of comedy with Judd Apatow in an email interview published by Vanity Fair. And with seven HBO stand-up specials under his belt, it's safe to say Rock knows what he's talking about.
In response to Apatow's inquiry if "comedians are better now" than those who inspired him, the "Saturday Night Live" alum flat out says, "Hell f---in' no."
"Show me one guy or woman as funny as Rodney Dangerfield or as good as George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, or Joan Rivers," Rock wrote. "There are a lot of good comics out there, no doubt, but as far as the quality of the comics goes, I think what you have is a bunch of situational comics."
"What we have now is black comics that work only black crowds, gay comics that do only gay crowds, and southern comics that only work down South, and so on with Asian, Latino, Indian, midgets, etc," he continues. "The previous generation's comics were better because they had to make everybody laugh. Richard Pryor could do 'The Ed Sullivan Show' and play the Apollo."
So who, if anyone, can make every audience laugh out loud? Only a famous few.
"Seinfeld can work any crowd. Ellen can work any crowd. Lopez can work any crowd," he concludes. "And a few more, but the rest of them are just situational comics."