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TAMBORINE, a Chris Rock special directed by Bo Burnham

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Specials are a few moments away from becoming a subgenre in the docu-fiction realm, in my opinion. After seeing Judah Friendlander's America is the Greatest Country in the United States, and now Chris Rock's Tamborine, I can honestly say that watching a poorly directed special is a bummer.

"Chris Rock: Tamborine is the first of two specials the legendary comedian signed up for back in October 2016 as part of a $40 million deal with Netflix. It’s also the subject of those tambourine you might have seen on social media in the last couple weeks (so much for those Choose Your Own Adventure theories). Tamborine was directed by Bo Burnham, whom we recently saw in The Big Sick, and was filmed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. There’s no teaser for the special yet, but we can expect Rock’s signature mix of cutting humor and social commentary." (A.V. Club)

"In a comedy landscape with rapidly changing standards of taste, new stand-up specials from elder statesmen of taboo-poking humor arrive with a faint sense of queasiness. Whether they’ll break with propriety to challenge the status quo or jam their foot in their mouth is anyone’s guess, and Chris Rock likes keeping his audience in suspense. During his latest special Tamborine(and that’s not a typo), he comports himself like a man who knows his audience is hanging on his every incendiary word, even going so far as to tease with a “Yeah, I said it!” on two occasions. And yet the two moments in which he drops that boast – the first being a bit advocating for punching black sons to keep them humble, the second being a defense of Donald Trump’s presidency by suggesting it would lead to the coming of Jesus Christ just to bring about balance – are far from those most likely to raise eyebrows. Those keeping track of possible offenses can take their pick of the litter. After he swaggers onstage with a big smile and black T-shirt, the first joke out of Rock’s mouth goes, “You would think cops would occasionally shoot a white kid, just to make it look good.” He compares a state of desensitization in bed to “sexual autism,” throws in a pair of prison-rape one-liners, and endorses a staunchly pro-bullying personal philosophy. [...] While Rock’s lingua franca has always been racial commentary, and there’s plenty in Tamborine to go around, he’s got the most to say about the politics of love. He doesn’t like the guy who slept around while touring, a man removed from the present Rock by a whole lot of spousal fights and one grueling custody hearing. He knows more now than he did then, chiefly that paying for everything doesn’t give a person the right to act like a cad. Things are dark, both for America and for a newly solo Rock, but he’s moving forward with the intention of being a better partner, father, and man." (The Guardian)

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"All comedians worth talking about refine their material so that they pause for laughter in the right place and for just the right amount of time. But the greats go the extra kilometer, thinking not just about the content of the jokes but the shape of the language itself: the sound of the words, the rhythm of the sentences. Rock is as good a writer as it’s possible for a comedian to be without sounding written. He’s in fine form in Tamborine, and you can hear it in his delivery of a punch line in a bit about the inconceivability of real gun control in the United States. Riffing on “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and the corresponding idea that murderers use knives, too, Rock concludes, “If 100 people ever got stabbed at the same time, in the same place, by the same person, you know what that would mean? Ninety-seven people deserved to die.” Along the way, he slips in an acknowledgement of how guns and the cult of machismo are inextricably tied together by recounting the time his grandfather took him hunting in South Carolina, after he shot a squirrel and cried. “He called me a faggot,” Rock reports, then his eyes brighten and he adds, “And he’s a preacher!”" (Vulture)

Watch the trailer below.

Tags:   news, comedy, stand up, film news, Chris Rock, Tamborine, Netflix special

Related:   Chris Rock: Bring The Pain, Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger


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