Can Chris Rock Predict the Future?
Chris Rock’s semi-autobiographical comedy Top Five hits theaters today, but it was shot many months ago. Still, the sporadically uproarious film seems eerily prescient, foreshadowing news stories that have only made headlines in recent days. How did Rock-stradamus predict the future? Let me count the Top Five ways.
1. The Scott Rudin-Amy Pascal scandal. In real life: Uber-producer Rudin (who made Top Five) and Sony film exec Pascal had to apologize after the hacking scandal exposed racially offensive e-mails in which they speculated about President Obama’s cinematic tastes and suggested he likes Kevin Hart. In Top Five: Kevin Hart plays a showbiz honcho who uses racially offensive language when talking to his client, Rock’s comedian Andre Allen: “You can’t fire a n—– for calling a n—– a n—–!” And you apparently can’t fire a studio exec for making equally ugly remarks.
2. The Maureen Dowd sub-scandal. In real life: Also exposed in the Sony leak: e-mails that indicate New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd breached journalistic ethics by letting her former colleague Bernard Weinraub—Pascal’s husband—to see a story for which the journo interviewed the studio exec before it was published. (Dowd denies it.) In Top Five: Rosario Dawson plays a New York Times columnist who breaches journalistic ethics in innumerable ways, not the least of which is getting sexually involved with her subject, Andre. Dowd and Pascal might not have crossed that line, but their gushing missives after the story was published (in which both said, “You’re my favorite person!”) sure comes close.
3. The Bill Cosby scandal. In real life: The comedian has been accused by numerous women of drugging and raping them. In Top Five: The comedian does drugs with two women, who accuse him of rape. He also later praises Cosby as “the greatest storyteller ever.” Only this time, it seems like nobody’s believing his story.
4. The Eric Garner case. In real life: NYPD officers use a choke-hold on Eric Garner and are not indicted for police brutality. In Top Five: NYPD officers use a choke-hold on Andre after an alcohol-fueled rampage and are not indicted for police brutality.
5. This season’s cast of Saturday Night Live. In real life: Michael Che and Leslie Jones joined the ensemble of NBC’s late-night skitcom in the past few months. In Top Five: A family-reunion scene that features Rock’s fellow SNL alum Tracy Morgan (before his tragic accident) and current cast member Jay Pharoah also includes “Weekend Update” anchor Che and the explosively funny Jones.
Coincidences? Maybe so. But if Jerry Seinfeld is spotted making it rain in a strip club, as he does in Top Five, I’m asking Chris Rock to start picking my stocks.