“And you know this man!” is one of the signature one-liners that made Chris Tucker a household name in the mid 90’s. Since then he’s had a few hit movies, but thought to disappear from the big screen. And when he did appear, it was among rumors of tax troubles. But Tucker points out that Charlie Chaplin developed his classic “Tramp” character because he was broke at the time. As Chaplin did, Tucker is importing his recent struggles into his routine.
“Comedy comes from conflict. I talk about my life. I talk about my beginnings. People identify.”
While he has been a millionaire, Tucker also knows about the other side of the financial ledger.
Now 41, he was the youngest in a family of six in Decatur, Ga., where his father was a janitor. Tucker helped out the family by working as a janitor at Burger King.
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“I started my dream at comedy clubs in Decatur. I’d work late at night and still get to my early-morning shift. I left for Los Angeles when I was 18 because I knew if I was going to make it, it would have to be there.”
His idols were comics-turned-acting stars Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor.
“Movies were my main source. Later, I learned that movies are much slower. Stand-up is a good deal more rewarding.”