Chris Rock: Ban cameras from comedy clubs, and I'll go back

Aug. 2, 2012 at 11:43 AM ET

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Chris Rock attends Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 21 at TD Garden in Boston.

Chris Rock gave a delightful interview in the New York Times, and while the bulk of the talk was about acting and fellow comedians, the fearless Saturday Night Live alum sounded off on the cameraphone epidemic plaguing clubs. He also had a few things to say about the oversensitivity of certain Twitter users.

Both recent technological phenomena, it seems, are causing problems for comedians who like to hone their craft in semi-private before hitting HBO and Comedy Central. Generally, top comedians go into clubs not to make money, but to workshop their routines. As Rock readily admits, "you're working on the edge." Stuff can be very raw — racist, sexist and homophobic. (And yes, he did bring up Tosh.)

The intent is to iron that stuff out before cameras are rolling.

But in the smartphone age, cameras are always rolling. This, says Rock, is cause for lamentation among the comedian ranks. "Every big stand-up I talk to says: 'How do I work out new material? Where can you go, if I have a half an idea and then it's on the Internet next week?" he told the Times.

"I'll go back to comedy clubs when they get a real no-camera policy, the same way they did with smoking," he said.

Rock got into a little Twitter dustup of his own when, on the Fourth of July, the comedian wished his followers a "happy white people's independence day." Addressing that, he complained that on social media, knee-jerk reactionary outrage and genuine offense are too easily confused. "Just because there's an alarm going doesn’t mean it's a fire."

Rock says that people who hate country music really don't have the right to judge a particular country album, and people who don't like his comedy have no right to take offense with it on social media. "You can't break up with me if we don’t date," he told the Times.

There are many more Chris Rock gems and a whole lot more Rock history in the NYT interview itself, so you should totally read it.

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Wilson Rothman is the Technology & Science editor at NBC News Digital. Catch up with him on Twitter at @wjrothman, and join our conversation on Facebook.