In his first visit to the U.K. in over 10 years, comedic legend Chris Rock returned to London’s 02 Arena as part of his Total Blackout world tour. With a star-studded opening line up, featuring Michelle Wolf, Anthony Jeselnik and host for the night Jeff Ross, a sold out 02 Arena were in for a special treat.
Michelle Wolf opened the show and set the mood for the night by delivering a stellar performance in which the audience showed their appreciation by giving her a standing ovation. Following an amazing opening act is always a tough ask but Anthony Jeselnik by giving what was an interesting, to say the least set. Jeselnik delivered one of the darkest sets I’ve ever witnessed as he spoke about his joy of dropping babies, hearing the “great” news of his father’s passing and his intrigue with murder-suicide. It was difficult not to laugh, but at the same time I could not stop saying “WTF, this is dark”. Jeff Ross opened his set by inviting several members of the audience onto the stage and put them to the sword by delivering an outrageous speed roasting session. He called one of the members a Somali pirate which had the crowd in hysterics. In response to a female member of the audience who said that she worked in recruitment, Ross responded: “Oh so you’re a prostitute” which had the audience in shock but unable to contain their laughter.
The crowd was well and truly warmed up and ready for Chris Rock to grace the stage. At the age of 52, it is no surprise that the comedic legend delivered arguably the most personal and reflective show of his illustrious career. From speaking about Donald Trump and US Politics, police brutality on black people in America to touching on his growing teenage daughters, the challenges of marriage and divorce and he even shared a ridiculously funny story about when he tried to flirt with Rihanna at a party. The show was full of energy, coherent and hilarious from minute one right through to the end.
Rock even mentioned his time passing through “Totem” (Tottenham), as part of his God doesn’t usually make mistakes skit, and refers to Tottenham as one of God’s mistakes. He even went on to say that Tottenham looks like the place where ‘The Wire’ was filmed.
The latter part of his show was dominated by his material on his divorce with his ex-wife. “I’m an asshole. I cheated”, the standout quote. He essentially explains his failings as a husband and admits that he cheated “only” three times in 16 years. After explaining the struggle getting custody of his daughters and the financial toll that it has taken, Rock speaks to the audience on a more sincere level by offering advice that if their relationship is rocky losing its spark, having sex as often as possible will make couples more accepting of the things that they despise each other.
As the show drew to an end, I couldn’t get enough and this tour just goes to show why Chris Rock is arguably the greatest of all time. Even though he discussed issues that have clearly had an emotional toll on him in recent years, his charisma shone through and had 20,000 people lapping up his every word. What a night.