When Chris Rock reflects on the early years of his career, he sees it as a combination of big ego and low self-esteem. The ego got him onstage and the low self-esteem made him practice so much because he didn’t believe in himself. He feared nobody loving him for being himself, so he had to be good at stand-up comedy.
Fear, it turns out, was a great motivator for Rock. It drove him for decades: fear of failing; fear of letting people down; fear of not being rich and famous anymore. It took a toll on his act, relationships and his entire sense of self. It depleted him and Rock had to let it go. He felt like he was dying.
Now at age 55, Chris Rock is in therapy and has the role of his lifetime in the series Fargo created by Noah Hawley. Hawley handpicked him to portray wily mob boss Loy Cannon. The series fourth installment is set in 1950s Kansas City. Rock say’s “Great parts are like great loves. You get two, three if you’re lucky. He welcomes this heavy and dramatic role, especially now that he’s on the other side of a messy divorce from his wife of nearly two decades, and in a “ton of therapy” for the first time in his life. While in therapy, he relives his traumatic childhood that he joked about for decades. It fueled an entire sitcom, Everybody Hates Chris. Although Rock laughed at it, he never dealt with it.
Rock is focused on doing more for himself. He has a new physique as a result of learning to swim in his 50’s, walking, weightlifting and cutting out sugar. Rock feels he’s at the peak of his creative powers and feels his best is yet to come.