On Cars Getting Coffee with Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Seinfeld are pulled over by the police for speeding while Seinfeld was driving. In the episode Rock admits to Seinfeld:
If you weren’t here, I’d be scared. Yeah, I’m famous – still black.
In 2015, Rock had been pulled over three times in the first three months of the year. Each time Rock posted a selfie of the incident, without further comment about reason for the stops.
Rock hosted the 77th Academy Awards ceremony in 2005. Rock hosting the awards was thought to bring an “edge” to the ceremony, and to make it more relevant or appealing to younger audiences. Jokingly, Rock opened by saying: “Welcome to the 77th and LAST Academy Awards!”
During one segment Rock asked: “Who is this guy?” referring to Jude Law who seemingly appeared in every film Rock, making a joke about filmmakers rushing production when unable to get the actors they want, quipping: I
If you want Tom Cruise and all you can get is Jude Law, wait to make the film!.
A defensive Sean Penn took the stage to present and said, “In answer to our host’s question, Jude Law is one of our finest young actors.” Law was not the only actor that Rock poked fun at that evening, yet he joked about himself, saying, “If you want Denzel Washington and all you can get is me, wait!” Older Academy officials were offended by Rock’s performance and was also criticized for referring to the Oscars as “idiotic”, and wisecracking that straight guys don’t watch them.
Still, in 2015 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked Rock back to host the 88th Academy Awards. When the acting nominations turned out to include no racial minorities, Rock was called upon to join a boycott of the ceremony. Rock stated at the ceremony that it would have accomplished little since the show would have proceeded anyway, with him simply replaced. Instead, Rock spoke of his concerns about the lack of diversity in the Academy several time during the show and closed the broadcast by saying “Black Lives Matter”.
It was the second consecutive year that all the acting nominees were white, giving birth to the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Even President Barack Obama commented on the controversy saying:
I think when everybody’s story is told, then that makes for better art. That makes for better entertainment. It makes everybody feel part of one American family. So, I think, as a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody.