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Review: Chris Rock: Total Blackout

Clichés: Rock’s
gags about
women are far
weaker than


Chris Rock — Total Blackout

Manchester Arena


LAUNCHING straight into a #MeToo gag and speeding through skits on police brutality, inequality, Trump, immigration and race, Chris Rock is well and truly back and on fine form in Total Blackout, his first UK tour in a decade.

It’s a breakneck first section that manages to speak truth to power without ever resorting to angry polemic. Rock doesn’t get tricksy or clever; he just uses classic observational comedy to show America for what it truly is.

Somehow, he convinced a rapt Manchester Arena audience that George W Bush was a black revolutionary — a testament to his powers of persuasion.

Yet when Rock gets on to more personal material — he has quipped that this tour is to pay off his divorce — Total Blackout stutters. The huge slogan writ large behind him — Comfort Is The Poison — is never properly addressed, and although Rock moves effortlessly from a routine about religious extremism to confessing the end of his 16-year marriage was his fault, he falls straight into cliché after cliché — first about the divide between the sexes, and then porn.

Women — of which there are many in the audience — appear to function solely as people that will run the house smoothly while spending his money, and his solution for keeping marriages together is a plea for more sex.

It’s all delivered with a wink, and it’s not unamusing stuff. But, when the first hour is so good, it’s a shame Total Blackout ends with unadventurous sex comedy. Because when Chris Rock is good, he’s swaggeringly good.