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Tucker, Chris

Chris Tucker

1972—

Comedian, actor

Chris Tucker launched himself from stand-up comic to top-billed actor in short order. From his introduction to television audiences in 1993's Def Comedy Jam to his first starring role in 1995's Friday, which became "one of the biggest video rentals in history," according to Lynn Hirschberg of New York Times Magazine, to his star-making performance in 1998's Rush Hour, Tucker quickly became a celebrity, able to command more than $20 million per film. Tucker, however, took his newfound fame in stride: he refused to amass an entourage of bodyguards and managers, took long hiatuses between filming new features, and kept his stand-up skills honed with appearances in clubs throughout the country. The executives in Hollywood "all think Chris is crazy," President of New Line Cinema Michael DeLuca explained to Hirschberg. "He won't jump at an open checkbook, and people out here get frustrated. Chris is picky. They get impatient when they can't get him in their lousy scripts. But Chris is not just another actor for hire. He wants to have a long career."

Honed Humble Roots into Stand-Up Routine

Born on August 31, 1972, in Atlanta, Georgia, Tucker had to create quite a ruckus to make himself heard; he's the youngest of six children. He started trying to make people laugh as a teenager. "My older brother would have a friend over, and I would act a fool just so I could hang with them," he related to Veronica Rowe in Venice Magazine. Clowning around at home led to the more of the same at school. Tucker was given the Most Humorous Award by his classmates.

While in school, Tucker also began participating in talent shows. "When I was growing up," he explained in The Real State!, "I watched a lot of comedians on television: Robin Harris, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor. I was fascinated with the whole art of comedy and watched all their movies. I decided I could do comedy. I just felt like being funny! I love to perform." Apparently he needed to perform, so much so that he snuck into a small, popular comedy club in Atlanta, talked his way on to the stage, and eventually received a standing ovation, "which was quite something at the time considering I was too young to even get into a club," he remarked to The Real State!. Tucker became such a local icon that complete strangers would stop to give him a high five on the street.

Tucker decided to try his hand in Los Angeles, moving there at age 19. He slept on a friend's living room floor in a Sunset Boulevard apartment that had a leaky icebox. "I just kept hustling for work as a comic and started getting fixed up for shows," he mentioned in The Real State!. After making a name for himself around town, Tucker earned himself a spot on Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, a Home Box Office (HBO) cable television showcase for African-American comics. Unlike many of the other comedians on the program, who used explicit language about drugs, sex, and violence, Tucker highlighted his everyday life, without swear words or talk of sex or race. His performance made him "instantly accessible to a wide audience," HBO President of Original Programming Chris Albrecht told Hirschberg.

Tucker held a unique niche in comedy. Todd Williams of the Source described it with Tucker himself making parenthetical comments as "a little bit Richard Pryor (‘he used so many facial expressions’); a smidgen of Robin Harris (‘his quick punchlines’); and some Eddie Murphy to top it off (‘nobody can control an audience like him’)." Williams continued singularly, saying of Tucker, "Whether he knows it or not, he's probably more Jim Carrey than anything." The combination was hilarious. Omoronke Idowu wrote in Vibe "If you haven't heard a joke delivered in Chris Tucker's high-pitched rhythmic drawl, then you've used only part of your laugh muscle." In the same article, Tucker explained, "I don't try to speak that way, but when I'm hyper and on the mike, that's how it comes out." He also told Williams, "Whenever I would have to deal with bill collectors my voice would go up, but I didn't notice. I started doing it on stage, not really for laughs though, and people would love it. They would say, ‘talk in that voice,’ and I would always be like, ‘What voice? What are you talking about?’"

Tucker continued to hone his skills on the comedy circuit until the rapping/acting duo Kid 'N Play caught Tucker's show one night in Los Angeles. They had already made their successful films House Party I and II, and offered Tucker a role in their upcoming House Party III. Tucker had just 90 seconds of onscreen time in the 1994 movie, but in that minute-and-a-half he managed to make a huge impression as the outrageous party promoter "Johnny Booze." "His skill for milking something-from-nothing…turned a brief 90-second appearance into the film's brightest moment," wrote BAM's Victor Everett, just one of the many critics in consensus. Tucker actually received standing ovations at press screenings and was featured in the film's promotional billing.

Breakthrough Performance in Friday

Not long after, rapper and filmmaker Ice Cube happened to be at a club where Tucker was headlining. Cube remembered his performance from House Party and was impressed by Tucker's skills. He decided to take a chance on Tucker and cast him in the comedy motion picture he was making with DJ Pooh about a day in the life of a South Central LA "homeboy." In Friday, Tucker played a guy named Smokey—so named for his constant marijuana use—but he was a bit worried about the potentially stereotypical nature of the character. "[Smokey] isn't a drug addict," Tucker cautioned Rowe in Venice. "I didn't want to portray him as strung out and unable to talk. He acted the same, high or not, smokin' was just a part of him."

According to BAM's Everett, "The critics all agreed: Tucker's on screen performance as the weeded out ‘Smokey’ seemed so natural, it was uncanny. He has had no formal training as an actor, so what filmgoers saw was an honest portrayal from a guy who's still much too green to brown nose." The film was attacked by some critics who suggested Friday was a warmed-over Boyz N the Hood that inappropriately poked fun at the issue of violence. Others, like Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, felt that "at least Friday has energy, and sass, and the nerve to suggest that the line between tragedy and comedy may be in the bloodshot eye of the beholder."

At a Glance …

Born August 31, 1972, in Atlanta, GA.

Career : Stand up-comic, late 1980s-; actor, 1994-; Comedy Café, Atlanta, GA, owner; Chris Tucker Foundation, founder.

Addresses: Agent—Samantha Mast, Rogers & Cowan, 8687 Melrose Ave, 7th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90069. Web—www.christucker.com.

Tucker next landed the role of Skip in Dead Presidents. As directed by twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes—the two men behind the hit Menace II Society—1995's Dead Presidents tells the story of lower-middle-class kids in the South Bronx during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It follows them to Vietnam and back, detailing their trouble on the return home. Tucker was confident in his turn to a dramatic role. "It felt natural to play Skip," he told Idowu in Vibe, "because of the seriousness that's in my comedy. I was glad I got the part, because it will prove to directors I can go in any direction." Although not a huge hit, the movie was well received by audiences and critics. Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker, who gave the film an "A-," remarked that "The Hughes brothers get [a] subtle [performance] from…the stand-up comic Chris Tucker, whose heroin-addicted Skip speaks in a nonstop Richard Pryoresque patter." That comparison surely came as a complement to Tucker, who has cited Pryor as one of his influences.

In 1997, Tucker teamed with Bruce Willis in the science fiction adventure The Fifth Element. As a cross-dressing talk show hostess named Ruby Rhod, Tucker made his presence known on screen. In his big yellow wig and flowing gown, Entertainment Weekly described Tucker as a "kind of interstellar descendant of RuPaul." The Fifth Element was a highly successful film, and exposed Tucker's comedic talents to an even wider audience.

Following his outstanding performance in The Fifth Element, Tucker played a street hustler named Franklin Hatchett in the 1997 film Money Talks. However, the film suffered from a muddled plot and a lack of chemistry between Tucker and co-star Charlie Sheen. Money Talks was panned by critics and moviegoers alike. Tucker finished 1997 with a cameo role as Beaumont Livingston, a small-time drug dealer, in Quentin Tarantino's successful film Jackie Brown.

Fueled Rush Hour Franchise

Tucker scored a box office smash in 1998 with the film Rush Hour. The film featured Tucker as Detective James Carter, a cocky Los Angeles police officer who is given the assignment of hosting a visiting Hong Kong police officer, played by martial artist Jackie Chan. The two men form an unlikely duo as they try to capture a Chinese crime lord and rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Chinese diplomat. Rush Hour grossed more than $240 million worldwide and was a number one hit for several weeks. The comic thrust of Rush Hour and its sequels came from the hilarious coupling of Tucker and Chan, who struggle to understand each other as they pursue criminals. Rush Hour 2 became "the highest grossing comedy of all time," according to Speakin' Out News in 2006. The box office success enabled Tucker to sign a deal with New Line Cinema worth $45 million for two sequels to Rush Hour, putting Tucker among Hollywood's highest paid actors.

Aside from Rush Hour 2 in 2001 and Rush Hour 3 in 2007, however, Tucker limited his film work. He rejected a part in Shaft, dropped out of Black Knight, and began work on his own project, a film about the first black president of the United States. He took time off from all work to travel the world and spent a great deal of time involving himself in humanitarian work in Africa and setting up the Chris Tucker Foundation to provide further help with youth education, HIV/AIDS efforts, and provisions of safe water in African nations.

Tucker credited his time off as providing him with creative fuel. "I observe, I'm curious, I like to learn, and I take that to my stand-up—being educated," Tucker explained to Kimberly C. Roberts of the Philadelphia Tribune. "I think that's part of stand-up comedy, because most stand-up comics are very smart, and they need to be educated to what's going on…." Tucker began touring on the comedy circuit in 2005, prepping for a live concert film he planned to release in 2007, after Rush Hour 3. In the comedy concert film, "I'm back to my roots," Tucker told Roberts. "I started out doing stand-up, and it helped me get to the movies. It's a new show. It talks about what I've been going through the last six years…." Tucker's desire to remain true to his roots despite his enormous box office earnings has endeared him to his fans and kept him in touch with what brought him such success in the first place. Tucker's value as a comedian was aptly noted by DeLuca, who told Hirschberg: "It's great when you find a personality that can break out in a movie…. When you find someone like Chris Tucker, they are worth their weight in gold." While studios pegged Tucker as a box-office winner for comedies, Tucker planned to broaden his roles beyond comedy to "roles that people have never seen me play in movies," he told Roberts. Given his track record for selecting films, Tucker may eventually reveal all aspects of his talent to audiences…in his own good time.

Selected works

Films

House Party III, 1994.

Friday, 1995.

Dead Presidents, 1995.

The Fifth Element, 1997.

Money Talks, 1997.

Jackie Brown, 1997.

Rush Hour, 1998.

Rush Hour 2, 2001.

Rush Hour 3, 2007.

Television

Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, 1993.

Sources

Periodicals

BAM, August 11, 1995, p. 11.

Entertainment Weekly, May 12, 1995, p. 43; October 20, 1995, pp. 45-46; November 6, 1998, pp. 52-53; January 22, 1999, pp. 107-108.

Jet, August 6, 2001, p. 58.

Los Angeles Times, July 29, 2001, p. 1.

New York Times Magazine, September 3, 2000, p. 34.

People, May 8, 1995, p. 24.

Philadelphia Tribune, October 1, 2006, p. 19.

The Real State!, Issue Nine, pp. 17-20.

Savoy, September 2001, p. 58; May 2002, p. 31.

The Source, January 1996, p. 38.

Speakin' Out News (Huntsville, AL), May 17-23, 2006, p. B2.

Venice (CA), May 1995, pp. 36-38.

Vibe, August 1995, p. 114.

On-line

Chris Tucker Official Site,www.christucker.com (July 31, 2007).

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"Tucker, Chris." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Tucker, Chris." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved July 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tucker-chris

Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–

Chris Tucker 1973(?)

Funny from the Start

The Big Time

An Amalgam of Influences

Sources

Comedian, actor

Although comics like Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, and Robin Harris helped break down some of the barriers for African American comedians, very few outlets exist whereupon young up-and-comers can learn the ropes and find an audience. Chris Tucker knew it would be hard making himself heard, but this stand-up was crafty enough to find his way into the spotlight. Since then he, too, has been breaking barriers.

Regarding Tuckers actual stand-up, Omoronke Idowu wrote in Vibe, If you havent heard a joke delivered in Chris Tuckers high-pitched rhythmic drawl, then youve used only part of your laugh muscle. In the same article, Tucker explained, I dont try to speak that way, but when Im hyper and on the mike, thats how it comes out. He also told The Sources Todd Williams, Whenever I would have to deal with bill collectors my voice would go up, but I didnt notice. I started doing it on stage, not really for laughs though, and people would love it. They would say, talk in that voice, and I would always be like, What voice? What are you talking about?

Williams described Tuckers niche in comedy with Tucker himself making parenthetical comments as a little bit Richard Pryor (he used so many facial expressions); a smidgen of Robin Harris (his quick punchlines); and some Eddie Murphy to top it off (nobody can control an audience like him). Williams continued singularly, saying of Tucker, Whether he knows it or not, hes probably more Jim Carrey than anythingsimilarly, Carrey is all of them. This comment came on the heels of Williams question, Whats the problem for black comedians in Hollywood? Tucker replied, There just arent enough black writers out there. They have all these white guys trying to write for us.

Funny from the Start

Born c. 1973 in Atlanta, Georgia, Tucker had to create quite a ruckus to make himself heard; he is the youngest of six children. He started cutting up around age 13 or 14. My older brother would have a friend over, and I would act a fool just so I could hang with them, he related to Veronica Rowe in Venice Magazine.Clowning around at home led to the more of the same at school. Tucker was even bestowed The Most Humorous Award by his classmates.

While in school Tucker also began participating in talent shows. When I was growing up, he explained in The Real State!, I watched a lot of comedians on television: Robin Harris, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor. I was fascinated with the whole art of comedy and watched all their movies. I decided I could do comedy. I just felt like being funny! I love to perform. Apparently he needed to perform, so much so that he snuck into a small, popular comedy club in Atlanta, talked his way on to the stage, and eventually received a standing ovation, which

At a Glance

Born c. 1973, in Atlanta, GA.

Stand up-comic, late 1980s; relocated to Los Angeles, CA, early 1990s; appeared on Russell Simmonss Dei Comedy Jam.Actor, House Party III (1994);Friday (1995), and Dead Presidents (1995).

Addresses: Management Toltec Artists, 11901 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 596, Los Angeles, CA 90025.

was quite something at the time considering I was too young to even get into a club, he remarked to The Real State!.Tucker became such a local icon that complete strangers would stop to give him a high five on the street.

Tucker eventually decided to try his hand in Los Angeles. He slept on a friends living room floor in a Sunset Boulevard apartment that had a leaky icebox. I just kept hustling for work as a comic and started getting fixed up for shows, he mentioned in The Real State!.After making a name for himself around town, Tucker got himself a spot on Russell Simmonss Def Comedy Jam, a Home Box Office (HBO) cable television showcase for African American comics.

Two years and many gigs later, the rapping/acting duo Kid N Play caught Tuckers show one night in LA. They had already made their successful films House Party I and II, and offered Tucker a role in their upcoming House Party III.Tucker had just 90 seconds of onscreen time in the 1994 movie, but in that minute and a half he managed to make a huge impression as the outrageous party promoter Johnny Booze. His skill for milking something-from-nothing turned a brief 90-second appearance into the films brightest moment, wrote BAMs Victor Everett, just one of the many critics in consensus. Tucker actually received standing ovations at press screenings and was featured in the films promotional billing.

The Big Time

Not long after that, rapper and filmmaker Ice Cube happened to be at a club where Tucker was headlining. Cube remembered his performance from House Party and was impressed by Tuckers skills. He decided to take a chance on Tucker and cast him in the comedy motion picture he was making with DJ Pooh about a day in the life of a South Central LA homeboy. In Friday Tucker played a guy named Smokeyso named for his constant marijuana usebut he was a bit worried about the potentially stereotypical nature of the character. [Smokey] isnt a drug addict, Tucker cautioned Rowe in Venice. I didnt want to portray him as strung out and unable to talk. He acted the same, high or not, smokin was just a part of him.

According to BAMs Everett, The critics all agreed: Tuckers on screen performance as the weeded out Smokey seemed so natural, it was uncanny. He has had no formal training as an actor, so what filmgoers saw was an honest portrayal from a guy whos still much too green to brown nose. While the film was attacked by some critics who suggested Friday was a warmed-over Boyz N the Hood that inappropriately pokes fun at the issue of violence. Others, like Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, felt that at least Friday has energy, and sass, and the nerve to suggest that the line between tragedy and comedy may be in the bloodshot eye of the beholder.

Next Tucker earned the role of Skip in Dead Presidents.As directed by twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughesthe two behind the hit Menace II Society 1995s Dead Presidents tells the story of lower-middle-class kids in the South Bronx during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It follows them to Vietnam and back, detailing their trouble on the return home. Tucker was confident in his turn to a dramatic role. It felt natural to play Skip, he told Idowu in Vibe, because of the seriousness thats in my comedy. I was glad I got the part, because it will prove to directors I can go in any direction. Although not a huge hit, the movie was well-received by audiences and critics. En tertainmen t Weeklys Ken Tucker, who gave the film an A-, remarked that The Hughes brothers get [a] subtle [performance] from the stand-up comic Chris Tucker, whose heroin-addicted Skip speaks in a nonstop Richard Pryoresque patter. That comparison surely came as a complement to Tucker, who has cited Pryor as one of his influences.

An Amalgam of Influences

Because black comedians have not had a great many outlets, Tucker stays true to the places that gave him his breaks. Even with all his new-found fame, Tucker still hosts the Comedy Act Theaterthe first black-owned comedy clubthree nights per week. Not many comedians would go back to the hard audiences of South West LA once finding success on a grander scale, but Tucker is in his element improvising on their stage. As The Real State! declared, The rare energy of a genuine entertainer comes out of him when he performs. For Tucker, the live stage is where his comic side and his serious side blend seamlessly. I talk about real, everyday stuff, he told Venices Rowe, describing his act as edgy realism. I will always do stand-up even if my acting career takes off. Stand up is my life.

Tucker knows exactly what he wants of his career. In addition to a new HBO special filmed in Atlanta and a comedy album, Tucker wants to tour more, write movies, and even travel around talking to kids in schools. He definitely wants to make more movies, and already is. And hes working on more dramatic roles. Tucker has proven from the beginning that he can take care of himself and make it on his own. Having once talked his way onto the stage as a kid, he will keep talking his way to the top.

Sources

BAM, August 11, 1995, p. 11.

Entertainment Weekly, May 12, 1995, p. 43; October 20, 1995, pp. 45-46.

People, May 8, 1995, p. 24.

The Real State!, Issue Nine, pp. 17-20.

The Source, January 1996, p. 38.

Venice (CA), May 1995, pp. 36-38.

Vibe, August 1995, p. 114.

Joanna Rubiner

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"Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tucker-chris-1973

"Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved July 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tucker-chris-1973

Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–

Chris Tucker 1973(?)

Comedian, actor

Funny From the Start

The Big Time

Continued Rise to Stardom

Sources

Although comics like Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, and Robin Harris helped break down some of the barriers for African American comedians, very few outlets exist whereupon young up-and-comers can learn the ropes and find an audience. Chris Tucker knew it would be hard making himself heard, but he was crafty enough to find his way into the spotlight. Since then he, too, has been breaking barriers.

Regarding Tuckers stand-up routine, Omoronke Idowu wrote in Vibe, If you havent heard a joke delivered in Chris Tuckers high-pitched rhythmic drawl, then youve used only part of your laugh muscle. In the same article, Tucker explained, I dont try to speak that way, but when Im hyper and on the mike, thats how it comes out. He also told The Source s Todd Williams, Whenever I would have to deal with bill collectors my voice would go up, but I didnt notice. I started doing it on stage, not really for laughs though, and people would love it. They would say, talk in that voice, and I would always be like, What voice? What are you talking about?

Williams described Tuckers niche in comedy with Tucker himself making parenthetical comments as a little bit Richard Pryor (he used so many facial expressions); a smidgen of Robin Harris (his quick punchlines); and some Eddie Murphy to top it off nobody can control an audience like him). Williams continued singularly, saying of Tucker, Whether he knows it or not, hes probably more Jim Carrey than anythingsimilarly, Carrey is all of them. This comment came on the heels of Williams question, Whats the problem for black comedians in Hollywood? Tucker replied, There just arent enough black writers out there. They have all these white guys trying to write for us.

Funny From the Start

Born c. 1973 in Atlanta, Georgia, Tucker had to create quite a ruckus to make himself heard; hes the youngest of six children. He started trying to make people laugh as a teenager. My older brother would have a friend over, and I would act a fool just so I could hang with them, he related to Veronica Rowe in Venice Magazine. Clowning around at home led to the more of the same at school. Tucker was even bestowed The Most

At a Glance

Born c. 1973, in Atlanta, GA.

Career: Stand up-comic, late 1980s; relocated to Los Angeles, CA, early 1990s; appeared on Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam, Appeared in the films House Party III, 1994; Friday, 1995; Dead Presidents, 1995; The Fifth Element, 1997; Money Talks, 1997; Jackie Brown, 1997; and Rush Hour, 1998.

Addresses; Agent United Talent Agency, 9560 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 500, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Humorous Award by his classmates.

While in school, Tucker also began participating in talent shows. When I was growing up, he explained in The Real State!, I watched a lot of comedians on television: Robin Harris, Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor. I was fascinated with the whole art of comedy and watched all their movies. I decided I could do comedy. I just felt like being funny! I love to perform. Apparently he needed to perform, so much so that he snuck into a small, popular comedy club in Atlanta, talked his way on to the stage, and eventually received a standing ovation, which was quite something at the time considering I was too young to even get into a club, he remarked to The Real State!. Tucker became such a local icon that complete strangers would stop to give him a high five on the street.

Tucker eventually decided to try his hand in Los Angeles. He slept on a friends living room floor in a Sunset Boulevard apartment that had a leaky icebox. I just kept hustling for work as a comic and started getting fixed up for shows, he mentioned in The Real State!. After making a name for himself around town, Tucker got himself a spot on Russell Simmonss Def Comedy Jam, a Home Box Office (HBO) cable television show-case for African American comics.

Two years and many gigs later, the rapping/acting duo Kid N Play caught Tuckers show one night in Los Angeles. They had already made their successful films House Party I and II, and offered Tucker a role in their upcoming House Party III. Tucker had just 90 seconds of onscreen time in the 1994 movie, but in that minute and a half he managed to make a huge impression as the outrageous party promoter Johnny Booze. His skill for milking something-from-nothing turned a brief 90-second appearance into the films brightest moment, wrote BAMs Victor Everett, just one of the many critics in consensus. Tucker actually received standing ovations at press screenings and was featured in the films promotional billing.

The Big Time

Not long after that, rapper and filmmaker Ice Cube happened to be at a club where Tucker was headlining. Cube remembered his performance from House Party and was impressed by Tuckers skills. He decided to take a chance on Tucker and cast him in the comedy motion picture he was making with DJ Pooh about a day in the life of a South Central LA homeboy. In Friday, Tucker played a guy named Smokeyso named for his constant marijuana usebut he was a bit worried about the potentially stereotypical nature of the character. [Smokey] isnt a drug addict, Tucker cautioned Rowe in Venice. I didnt want to portray him as strung out and unable to talk. He acted the same, high or not, smokin was just a part of him.

According to BAMs Everett, The critics all agreed: Tuckers on screen performance as the weeded out Smokey seemed so natural, it was uncanny. He has had no formal training as an actor, so what filmgoers saw was an honest portrayal from a guy whos still much too green to brown nose. The film was attacked by some critics who suggested Friday was a warmed-over Boyz N the Hood that inappropriately poked fun at the issue of violence. Others, like Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly, felt that at least Friday has energy, and sass, and the nerve to suggest that the line between tragedy and comedy may be in the bloodshot eye of the beholder.

Tucker landed the role of Skip in Dead Presidents. As directed by twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughesthe two men behind the hit Menace II Society 1995s Dead Presidents tells the story of lower-middle-class kids in the South Bronx during the late 1960s and early 1970s. It follows them to Vietnam and back, detailing their trouble on the return home. Tucker was confident in his turn to a dramatic role. It felt natural to play Skip, hetoldldowuin Vibe, because of the seriousness thats in my comedy. I was glad I got the part, because it will prove to directors I can go in any direction. Although not a huge hit, the movie was well-received by audiences and critics. Entertainment Weeklys Ken Tucker, who gave the film an A-, remarked that The Hughes brothers get [a] subtle [performance] from the stand-up comic Chris Tucker, whose heroin-addicted Skip speaks in a nonstop Richard Pryoresque patter. That comparison surely came as a complement to Tucker, who has cited Pryor as one of his influences.

In 1997, Tucker teamed with Bruce Willis in the science fiction adventure The Fifth Element. As a cross-dressing talk show hostess named Ruby Rhod, Tucker made his presence known on screen. In his big yellow wig and flowing gown, Entertainment Weekly described Tucker as a kind of interstellar descendant of RuPaul. The Fifth Element was a highly successful film, and exposed Tuckers comedic talents to an even wider audience.

Continued Rise to Stardom

Following his outstanding performance in The Fifth Element, Tucker played a street hustler named Franklin Hatchett in the 1997 film Money Talks. However, the film suffered from a muddled plot and a lack of chemistry between Tucker and co-star Charlie Sheen. Money Talks was panned by critics and moviegoers alike. Tucker finished 1997 with a cameo role as Beaumont Livingston, a small-time drug dealer, in Quentin Tarantinos successful film Jackie Brown.

Tucker scored a box office smash in 1998 with the film Rush Hour. The film featured Tucker as Detective James Carter, a cocky Los Angeles police officer who is given the assignment of hosting a visiting Hong Kong police officer, played by martial artist Jackie Chan. The two men form an unlikely duo as they try to capture a Chinese crime lord, and rescue the kidnapped daughter of a Chinese diplomat. Rush Hour grossed millions at the box office and was a number one hit for several weeks.

Fresh from his success on Rush Hour, Tucker planned to produce an autobiographical concert film. He also signed a contract with Universal Pictures to star opposite singer Mariah Carey in the film Double O-Soul. Tucker also planned to extend his career beyond comedy, and accept more dramatic roles. As he told Entertainment Weekly, People just get tired of comedy. To be able to make people laugh and cry, thats longevity.

Sources

Periodicals

BAM, August 11, 1995, p. 11.

Entertainment Weekly, May 12, 1995, p. 43; October 20, 1995, pp. 45-46; November 6, 1998, pp. 52-53; January 22, 1999, pp. 107-108.

People, May 8, 1995, p. 24.

The Real State!, Issue Nine, pp. 17-20.

The Source, January 1996, p. 38.

Venice (CA), May 1995, pp. 36-38.

Vibe, August 1995, p. 114.

Joanna Rubiner and David G. Oblender

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

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"Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Jul. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tucker-chris-1973-0

"Tucker, Chris 1973(?)–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved July 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/tucker-chris-1973-0