Sex jokes are 'too easy' for comic Chris Tucker

June 22, 1994|By Lisa Wiseman | Lisa Wiseman,Special to The Sun

"Is this Baltimore?" comedian Chris Tucker asks midway through his phone conversation. The 22-year-old comic, who is appearing tomorrow at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, is calling from his home state of Georgia, and he sounds a little tired and half asleep.

He swears he didn't just wake up at 2 in the afternoon, but for a man who describes his comedic stylings as "explosive and powerful," Mr. Tucker sounds laid back. Almost too laid back -- especially for a man who is best known for his appearances on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam."

The show, which features up-and-coming black comics, usually airs late at night, and for a good reason. With comedian Martin Lawrence as the host of the show, "Def Comedy Jam" is known for its raunchy humor. But, Mr. Tucker says he tries not to be like the crowd.

"I have no real dirty jokes. I hardly ever do sex jokes. That's just too easy. . . . I try to give a message. I try to let people know what I think about life. . . . I can use the jokes I tell in the clubs on TV."

But Mr. Tucker is also quick to defend "Def Comedy Jam." And not just because he has become good friends with Mr. Lawrence.

"Most of what people say is true," he says. "There are a lot of dirty comics on the show. There are a lot of clean comics. You can't say the show is all bad. It helps a lot of comics get their start. . . . It's difficult for a black comedian to get started in this business. It's like any business . . . 'Def Comedy Jam' helped me."

His connections with "Def Jam" have landed Mr. Tucker a few acting roles -- something that he says he'd like to do more of. He's appeared on "In Living Color," and "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" and in the movie "Meteor Man." His most recent role was a small part in the movie "House Party III" with rappers Kid 'n Play. But if you got up for popcorn during the movie, you might have missed his performance. "I played 'Johnny Booze.' It was a real small part. I'm glad about that. That movie was terrible," he said, laughing it off.

You can also look for Mr. Tucker in rapper Heavy D's new video "Nuttin' But Love."

But, Mr. Tucker remains modest. Although he may play large houses such as the Meyerhoff, he still likes to play small clubs where he can see all of the audience. And although he may be living in Los Angeles now, Mr. Tucker says he makes a point of coming home to Georgia to perform at the comedy club where he got his start at the age of 17.

As for the future, Mr. Tucker says he wants to act more. He's been writing a screenplay he hopes to star in. In the meantime, he says he will continue to work the clubs.

"It takes time to be popular," he says. "I know that."

CHRIS TUCKER

What: Chris Tucker at Slam Jam Comedy Fest II

When: Thursday, June 23, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Tickets: $23

Call: (410) 783-8000

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