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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Suzanne Somers Goes Back To Her Malibu Home; Chris Rocks Speaks Out
Aired March 16, 2007 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, exclusive...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUZANNE SOMERS, ACTRESS: These burned out things there were our bedroom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Suzanne Somers devastated when Malibu wildfires recently burned her house to the ground in a matter of moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
KING: If you were in the house, would you have been gone?
(END VIDEO TAPE)
KING: Now, she makes an emotional return to the scene of the tragedy -- a disaster area she still calls home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOMERS: Welcome to my home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And then, laugh until you cry with Chris Rock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: I like Barack Obama. He seems like a smart, nice guy. He's clean, as they say. He's clean. I smelled him the other day. The guy smells good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: He's one of the funniest men in America.
But what does he say about those rumors that his marriage is in trouble?
An hour of tears and laughter -- Suzanne Somers and Chris Rock next on LARRY KING LIVE. It's always a great pleasure to welcome Suzanne Somers to LARRY KING LIVE, one of my favorite people, the actress, entertainer, businesswoman, breast cancer survivor and best-selling author.
Things in life have not really been easy for you. I was looking over the list. You had an abusive alcoholic father; fired from "Three's Company" because you asked for more money; outed as having liposuction for cosmetic purposes when, in fact, it was to combat breast cancer; all this, and your house burns down.
Do you think there's a -- there's a shadow hovering over you?
SOMERS: I don't know. I said the other day -- I looked up and I said, OK, do I have to go back in it every single time? Could we just -- I've learned the lesson, can I just, you know, live my life nicely from now on?
I don't know. You know, the night of the fire I -- I had just left the house two hours before and there was no sense of anything. I mean I calmly left...
KING: Was that your second home, by the way?
SOMERS: My -- that was my first home.
SOMERS: There's -- I was calmly just kind of leaving the house. And it was a nice day. It was 80 degrees and Santa Ana winds. And I noticed the Santa Ana winds and two hours later, it was on fire and gone.
A friend of mine called me and said I think your house is on fire and I -- I turned on the television set and I see the helicopters doing a play by play over the water going I don't know who's house this is, but this one's a goner. This one's a goner.
KING: Where -- where were you when you were watching it?
SOMERS: In Palm Springs. In Palm Springs. So the phone rings. And I'm watching my house burn down like -- like that. And then when the house blew up -- and then when the house blows up, they pan the camera, and then I watch my car blow up. And I looked at the television screen and I looked at my husband Al, and I said, well, there you go. That's that.
And the phone rings and it's Steve Lawrence.
SOMERS: And he says, Suzanne, baby, your house is on fire. And the two of us -- you know him, he's such a doll -- we started laughing. And I -- when you're nervous, you either cry or you laugh. And I just started laughing hysterically with him. I said, "Oh my god, this is just unbelievable."
But I don't think you believe it really happens while you're watching. It's just too hard to take in.
KING: When Alph Landon lost the presidential election to Franklin Roosevelt in 1936, he only won two states. And he started to laugh.
And they said why are laughing?
And he said the thoroughness of it.
SOMERS: Yes. Done. Over. Finished.
KING: In other words, this didn't -- now, I hear that the house on each side of you stood.
SOMERS: Yes. Yes. It was like the -- the fire had an appetite. We saw across the street on the bluff, it was racing toward the two houses next to me. And then, by some quirk of nature, it took the wind, it went shooo, to the right, and it ate the tree in front of my house and then it ate my house. And the fire department said that it jumped over the house, hit the ocean.
The wound -- see, I thought the ocean would save me. I never thought about fire. It's useless. In fact, it works against you. The energy -- it's like judo. The energy of the wind took the fireball under the house, ignited the gas lines and it blew up.
KING: True, you live near the fire department?
SOMERS: About a minute away. About a minute away.
KING: There's a fire hydrant in front of your house?
SOMERS: There's a fire hydrant in front of my house.
KING: All right -- nothing could...
SOMERS: And an ocean on the other side.
KING: Nothing could save it?
SOMERS: Nothing. There was a woman who lives in Malibu. She said I was jogging down the street. I saw your house catch on fire. She said, you know when you have a box of matches and you strike the match and it goes shooo like that?
She said, when it -- obviously somebody flicked a cigarette up at PCH, above the -- a bluff of Malibu Road. And she said it wasn't a gradual burn, it was just like the whole hill went phooo.
And then it jumped the street, she said. And I saw it burn your house. And she said and then the fire started chasing me.
KING: Well, now when you hear about things like what happened in New York in the Bronx and 10 people got killed...
SOMERS: Awful. KING: ... do you feel like I'm lucky?
SOMERS: I've been -- you know, the night I called you, I think I called into your show and you said why are you so up?
I said only you can say. And I said I'm alive. And I -- we were going to leave the next day. And that morning I said to Alan, why don't we go today?
And we kind of moseyed out of the house. And I did something I don't usually do. I stopped at the front door and I -- I looked back at the house and I thought hmmm, such a pretty little house. And I turned and walked away and that was that.
KING: By the way, if you were in the house, would you have been gone?
SOMERS: Gone. That's why the fire department didn't know. They're less than a minute away. The smoke alarm didn't go off. There was no evacuation yet. Nobody knew anything because it came from under the house.
So I really believe we were saved...
SOMERS: ... because I think I have to do your show more often. I've got more books to write.
KING: You do.
Why do you live in Malibu?
It's far away from everywhere, they always have fires. OK, it's on the water and it's nice, but why?
SOMERS: You know, after the house burned down, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Malibu papers and I said, you know, years ago believe I moved here, I couldn't imagine why anyone would live in this place. You know, the population of Malibu 30 years ago was 13,000.
You know what it is today?
Thirteen thousand. I said, you know, this land of mudslides and fires and inconvenience, but, you know, I'm -- I am a small town girl. I grew up in a small town. And Malibu, there's a lot of people in our business there. We all keep to ourselves. We all know that it could happen to us. It's like that whole community collectively put their arms around me. The t-shirt shop, James Person (ph), over t-shirts and sweatshirts -- you know, when you don't have any clothes, a t- shirt and a sweatshirt is great and...
What did you lose?
SOMERS: Everything. I kept everything there. I lost...
KING: What was in your other house?
SOMERS: Well, it's a second house. It's a vacation house.
SOMERS: So, you know, you don't...
KING: That's the Palm Springs?
SOMERS: Yes. I kept all my photographs, all my memorabilia of who I was. You've got to know who you are, because what you were is very fleeting. The saddest thing for me -- my first seven books I wrote longhand. And nobody writes their books longhand.
But what I first started writing books, I didn't type and nobody had a computer and I had been saving these for my children, as a legacy. I had a couple of them in the safe, but because the house blew up, the safe blew up. And so everything that was in the safe went. Except -- except I do have, in the safe there was one manuscript. It's all burnt around the edges. I haven't peeled it back yet. I'm afraid it's going to turn to powder. But there's something there, something kind of interesting that you can see. I write my books longhand.
KING: Are you going to rebuild?
SOMERS: I am. The same place, the same spot. I -- we had two seagulls that I was madly in love with, that Alan used to feed Wonder Bread every morning. And we would lie in bed. And there was a banister in front of our bedroom. And at quarter to seven, I would open my eyes and there would be these two seagulls going (MAKES A FACE) like that.
And the moment we would move, I said to Alan, he would call Allan by name, because he would go "Awlll, Awlll."
So I thought -- we named them Freddie and Mrs. Freddie because we name all our animals Freddie. My cat was Freddie, our fish was Freddie, the seagulls were Freddie.
And I said to Alan, you know, that -- that these were -- these obviously are guys. They've got this love affair with Alan.
But I looked up in the seagull book -- there is such a thing. And if it has a red spot on the end, it's a girl. So Freddie's name really should be Fredericka.
KING: Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
SOMERS: Yes, Jonathan Livingston. Yes.
KING: We'll be back with Suzanne Somers.
What an incredible tale. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Three hundred firefighters, a Blackhawk helicopter and 40 engines deployed to Malibu. But they were helpless. Santa Ana winds more than 50 miles per hour pushed the flames toward the beach homes. As the sun rose over the Malibu beach, some of the priciest real estate in southern California was still smoldering.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this your first look at your home?
GUTIERREZ: A sad sight for homeowners like actress Suzanne Somers and husband, producer Alan Hamel. They were out of town and watched their home burn on television. They came back today to see what was left.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOMERS: Nature, you know, in a minute, it just -- when it decides it wants what it wants, there's no stopping it. This house was gone in nine minutes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, we taped this program yesterday for broadcast tonight. So yesterday Suzanne Somers took our crew and went back to the house.
OK, what was that like?
SOMERS: It's -- it overwhelms me when I see it. I go down there a lot and I kind of stand at the -- we put a security fence around it. and I find things like, you know, there's just stuff in that sand. It's nothing valuable anymore, it's just...
KING: Is everything gone?
KING: I mean it wouldn't pay for anybody to go looking for something?
KING: It's gone?
SOMERS: Yes. There's nothing. Nothing.
We hired professional sifters...
SOMERS: Who knew? Who knew? Things you learn. Professional sifters...
KING: What did you look it up in the Yellow Pages under sifting?
SOMERS: I guess. I don't know. I guess the insurance company found it for us. And they come in white suits, really, very professional. And then they dig big piles of ashes. And then with a shovel on a -- like a mining grid like you were mining for gold, they go through and there was this mountain of ashes.
And we found my wedding band
KING: No kidding?
SOMERS: My wedding band. I had -- this. It's nothing. I mean I've had it for 39 years. This. It was burned to a crisp. You couldn't tell what it was. I told Alan now he should buy me a bigger one.
SOMERS: That -- that came from the ashes. And many, many years ago I -- my friend Mia (ph) went to a medium or a psychic. I don't know the difference so much. And she said oh, she was going to see this guy. He comes over from England every year. And I don't know, I'm not into that stuff.
Anyway, it's $60 to go see. And so he's sitting there. He starts "The Lord's Prayer," "Our Father, who art in heaven."
He looks to the side and he goes, "Stop it." And there's nobody there. And I'm thinking oh, brother, what a waste of $60.
Anyway, he keeps saying, "Stop it." And at the end of -- of the prayer he says, "What?"
And he says to me, "I have your father here."
And I said, "Well, my father is still alive."
And he said, "I have your father here."
And then he listens again to the air and he says, "George."
And then I went whoa, because my grandfather's name was George and we used to call him father and I used say, "I wish you were my dad," because my dad was always drunk all the time. And -- but I loved my dad.
And he said, "Barry Manilow."
And I said, "I don't know Barry Manilow."
He said, "Barry Manilow will be a force in your life." Well, you know, Barry and I have been best friends now for 30 years.
And then he said, "Lilies of the Field." And I hadn't read it yet. So I went out and I bought "Lilies of the Field." And I read it. It didn't mean much to me. Bated, there's a line, "out of the ashes, the Phoenix will rise."
And that seems to be a recurring theme in my life.
I think when you've had a childhood like I had -- and I was told this once. The worst is over. I can't imagine going through anything more than, you know, living in that closet every night. And as I -- as I go through these difficulties in life -- we all do. We all do. Nobody has it perfect.
I just have this sense of, OK, how can I learn from this?
I'm not going to feel sorry for myself. I've been through the worst for me and how can I grow spiritually and emotionally?
So I'm not quite sure what I said the day when all of the press was there, but that was what I thought. I just looked at all my house in ashes and I thought I'm going to learn something great from this. I don't know what yet but...
KING: Are you -- were you fully insured?
SOMERS: Yes. And they've been great. It would be nice to -- people should know, I had a great insurance company. Yes.
KING: They came right through for you?
SOMERS: They did. They were there -- when all those press were there, there was this one woman. And she was moving in on me and I said -- I wanted to say back off. She says no, no, no. I'm from the insurance company.
What can I do?
So the kindness of people -- Jackie Collins sends me a necklace, one of hers, you know, those necklaces?
She sends it because my jewelry all blew up. She sent me a necklace. The Copelsons said move in with us forever. Arnold Copelson, the producer. Jane Seymour brought me salads when we were sifting.
KING: What -- what did you lose that you miss the most?
SOMERS: The books. The handwritten books. And on a shallow note, I had this really cool Tom Ford leather jacket. I loved this jacket. OK, it's shallow, I know.
KING: Can't you get another one?
SOMERS: No, I called them. The -- and the day we were leaving I took it out and I thought, should I bring this?
And I thought nah. Nah. I didn't bring it. So I told him. I immediately e-mailed him. I said, I love my favorite jacket. But he says he doesn't have anymore.
KING: Is your new house going to be very different?
SOMERS: It will be -- probably look like a penitentiary but I'm not going to build a house that can burn.
KING: A flame-proof house?
SOMERS: Well, I don't know. No, there's no such thing.
SOMERS: There's no such thing. The ocean could get me from one side and the fire could get me from the other side. But a lot of concrete, not much wood. Cooper underneath with a sprinkler system underneath so if that ever happened again, that's what the fire department.
But as I drove away that day from the smoldering ashes, I know the fire department felt so bad, to be a minute away. But they saved the rest of the road. And as I was driving off, I looked at one fireman and he said -- and he meant it. He so meant that he was sorry. And that...
KING: Yes, they do that. The firemen grieve.
SOMERS: He took it to heart.
You know, I come from firemen and policemen. My cousin was the police chief and my other cousin was the fire chief. And, you know, I wrote to them, too, and I said I know, I know had you known, you would have saved it. I know. I know.
KING: Suzanne Somers.
We'll have some more moments and then Chris Rock.
Monday night, Barack Obama.
Don't go away.
Coming up, we go back in time to other of Suzanne's darker days and get her predictions for a brighter future, we return.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOMERS: It's a process. You know, you get -- we're on, pretty much on the other side of the pain, I think. But it's a process of dealing with loss.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "LARRY KING LIVE," MARCH 28, 2001)
SOMERS: I chose your show to come on tonight to talk about something that's very, very hard for me to talk about, that I've never told anyone. In the last year I've been battling and surviving breast cancer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: How hard was that to do that night?
SOMERS: Oh, it was awful, because I don't like anybody feeling sorry for me. But that press was out that I had liposuction so I had, you know, I had to come on and explain what I had done.
KING: Someone followed you to a doctor or something?
SOMERS: Yes, but, you know...
KING: And saw that...
SOMERS: ... you know, it was so -- it was so personal and I -- I had kept it quiet. But see now I see cancer as a gift.
SOMERS: Yes. I -- if you ever wonder if you're loved, you find out how loved you are when you have cancer. And maybe, you know, coming from the childhood I did, maybe I've always worried about. I don't know. I don't know.
I just -- just -- love was pouring out toward me and I'm not afraid of cancer anymore. It's what got me into that whole thing of writing health books. And I swear I won't mention hormones tonight, but hormone books.
And every single thing that's happened to me in my life, including being fired. I was fired from "Three's Company," but because I was the first woman to ask to be paid equal to the men and they wanted to make an example of me. So it was -- that's why it was such a big deal.
But each one of these things I've risen, I've risen from. I've grown better. I am sure in a year, we'll talk about this fire and I'll have perspective and I'll really know something in a year. I'm just getting on the other side of the pain right now.
KING: How is the cancer?
SOMERS: I am six years out. That was six years ago. I'm perfect.
KING: So it's six years?
SOMERS: I'm healthy and I did it my way. (SINGS) I did it my way.
I, you know, I just had a -- you have a gut feeling about yourself and your health and all this -- you know, in the last decade, my mother died, my father died. My younger brother died. I got cancer. My house burned down.
But at the same time I've had these incredible highs -- best- selling books, an amazing marriage, grandchildren born, this new business I have, you know, that's like...
KING: Yes, what is that?
SOMERS: Well, it's like -- I started this business about three months ago and I have over 1,000 consultants already. And that's phenomenal. And it's called suzanne.com. And I've got pieces of jewelry and, you know, I don't have any jewelry. So I went into my sample room and I thought I have jewelry. I have beautiful jewelry that I sell and...
KING: Is it very profitable?
SOMERS: Well, it will be. And I have over 1,000 products. So it's just in -- women have a herding instinct. Remember, I had lunch at your house one day with a bunch of women?
KING: I remember that.
SOMERS: We all -- remember.
KING: I couldn't get a word in.
SOMERS: (LAUGHTER) We do. We all like to be together and we drink a little wine and we talk and we all like to shop. And if you remember, your wife was -- there was somebody there selling things and that's what we women like to do. Go figure. I don't know. It's what -- so these women are giving parties all over America. And call two parties a day and rev them all up. And they sell the Face Master and spray on makeup and...
KING: Must you have an enterprise?
Is that just -- must you?
SOMERS: I must. I must.
KING: You're a muster? You...
SOMERS: Well, you know, I think that I -- I started out wanting to do these sitcoms and then I just got chopped off at the feet at the height of my presence. And I just thought I'm never going to be in this position again. I'm never going to be in the position again where somebody can walk in and fire me. I want to work for myself. So when I'm looking at my house burned to the ground and then I think that this business is going so great, how can, you know, you just have to keep...
KING: You're amazing.
SOMERS: ... moving forward in life.
KING: There's no one like you.
I'll tell you what, whichever comes first, the next book or the new house, whichever comes first, you'll be back.
I love you, Larry King.
KING: I love you, Suzanne.
What a lady.
From Suzanne Somers, her brush with tragedy, we're about to switch gears with the hilarious Chris Rock. But he's had a tragedy of his own to deal with -- the death last weekend of his close friend and fellow comedian Richard Jeni, an apparent suicide at age 49.
I spoke with Chris before Richard Jeni's death. But Chris has since issued the following statement: "Richard Jeni was a friend, a mentor and one of the best comedians I have ever seen. I'm really going to miss him."
And that goes for all of us.
Chris Rock is up next to inform, entertain and, yes, amuse. It's an interview you might still be talking about tomorrow.
KING: Hey, a great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE one of my favorite people, Chris Rock, the Emmy and Grammy winning comic; the star of the C.W. television sitcom, "Everybody Hates Chris," star of the new film, "I Think I Love My Wife." He also directed it and co- wrote it.
Thanks so much for coming in, Chris.
ROCK: Well, thanks so much for having me here, Larry.
KING: What do you mean by I THINK I love my wife?
ROCK: Well, I mean, I know I love my real wife. But in my -- my movie wife, you know, sometimes you have to go through trials and tribulations and you realize, you know what?
I think I love her.
KING: But are you -- are you supporting -- what do you make of this Barack Obama phenomenon?
ROCK: I like Barack Obama. He seems like a smart, nice guy. He's clean, as they say. He's clean. I smelled him the other day. This guy smells good.
KING: Are you for him?
ROCK: I'm for Barack Obama. I'm for all of them, you know?
KING: What do you mean you're for all of them?
ROCK: I'm for everybody, anybody that's, you know, not going to war...
KING: You take no...
ROCK: ... for no freaking reason, I'm for them, OK?
KING: So you like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton?
ROCK: She's all right. She's all right. I like Hillary. I like Mr. Gore. I really like Mr. Gore a lot. Yes.
KING: Would you like him to get into this?
ROCK: You know, I like Gore, man. He's -- because you know -- the coolest thing about Gore is right now, you know, you just see how he's living his life with the camera not on him.
ROCK: So you get a sense that this is the real guy.
But, you know, Barak is cool. Barak is good, you know?
KING: We'll move in and out of that.
KING: Let's move back to the movie.
ROCK: Let's move back to the move.
KING: How did you get the idea for this film?
ROCK: This film is based on a French film called "Chloe In The Afternoon." So it's kind of a loose remake of this movie directed by Eric Rohmer in '68 or '69 that won the...
KING: Had you seen it? ROCK: I saw the movie and I thought hey, I can do this. It's about a guy who -- he's been married seven years, so he's having like a seven year itch. And during this itchy part, a beautiful woman comes in his office, like a friend of a friend, and he has to spend the rest of the movie trying not to sleep with her and cheat on his wife.
KING: You directed it, too?
ROCK: I directed it too.
KING: Do you like directing?
ROCK: It's OK. I'd rather -- it's all right. I liked it. I like it, but I'd rather be, like, some actor. I'd rather be like Matt Damon and somebody hand me the script to "Bourn Identity." Hey, let's go. I'm going to lift some weights and knock people out.
KING: Why didn't you have someone else direct it?
ROCK: You know what I asked a couple of people. Once you get to the C-list, you should probably do it yourself. Yes, we can use this guy. He did a couple of "Punky Brewsters." Hey, you know what; I think I will direct it myself.
KING: By the way, there are some reports that -- is your marriage OK?
ROCK: My wife is right over there, see.
KING: I sat with your wife on an airplane flight once...
KING: ...coast to coast.
KING: And we talked -- she spoke very...
ROCK: She said you hit on her.
KING: Let's discuss -- I'm flirting all around off the board here, OK.
KING: What do you make of the Britney Spears thing?
ROCK: She looks like a -- you know she looks like a call for hats, you know. She -- poor thing! You know it's sad that you just can't go crazy in the privacy of your own -- she probably has a big house, you know, 900 square feet or whatever, you know, one of these big, stupid mansions. She don't really need to go anywhere. And it feels like postpartum though. It feels like Brooke Shields needs to be called in. KING: What do you make of this whole celebrity phenomenon, the Paris Hiltons, the late Anna Nicole Smith?
ROCK: The late, late -- I don't get the whole Anna Nicole Smith thing at all because like James Brown died at the same time. So let me get the -- one of the greatest musicians of all time is dead, an hour and a half worth of news. Anna Nicole Smith, nine weeks later, and we're still talking about her.
KING: How do you explain it?
ROCK: I don't understand. It wasn't like she was hot that long, you know. You know the Guess ads, OK; she was kind of hot there, but after that...
KING: What do you make of Paris Hilton?
ROCK: And Paris Hilton, well at least Paris Hilton is a porn star at the very least. You know if Anna gave me a porn tape, you know, maybe I'd understand the fascination. I mean I watched her work in "Naked Gun," you know. And she wasn't even naked in "Naked Gun." What the hell's going on? She's -- Anna is like a one tit wonder. That's what I thought. Can you say tit?
KING: Yes, you can say tit.
ROCK: There you go.
KING: You can, it's cable.
ROCK: Oh, good.
KING: But now she's gone.
ROCK: Now she's gone.
KING: Did you watch...
ROCK: And guess what? We'll see another one like her. There will never be another one. Oh, yes, there'll be another kind of chubby white girl with big tits. Yes, there'll be one.
KING: The truth, did you follow it?
ROCK: I didn't really follow it.
KING: You didn't?
ROCK: I don't know what to follow. What are you following? The only thing that was interesting was all of these guys claiming the baby. I hear now it might be O.J.'s baby.
KING: OK, that was a wild story.
ROCK: So maybe O.J. killed her. We never looked -- where was O.J. when she died? KUDLOW: Do you know that's true? We never checked that out.
ROCK: No one has ever checked out O.J.'s whereabouts when Anna Nicole died. I'm just saying.
KING: Do you miss doing the HBO show you used to do? Where was it, in Harlem?
ROCK: Yes, yes, yes, yes.
KING: On the stage with that great monologue and then a guest that you'd interview.
ROCK: I had some of your guests. I mean I...
KING: Why did that go off?
ROCK: White man pulled the plug, Larry.
KING: The suits?
ROCK: No, the white suits. I don't know. You know it was just time to stop it. A couple of people were leaving. And you get to a point where -- like when I started the show everybody was -- you know, it was just a bunch of friends, you know. It's kind of like a band. But you know, we won some Emmys. And when you win -- here's the crazy thing, when you are critically acclaimed, you're better off getting critically...
ROCK: ...not because it keeps your team together. Your team is like, hey, we'll show them. But when you get critically acclaimed and start winning Emmys and stuff, everybody on the team starts going, hey, I can have my own show. I'm the reason Chris is on.
KING: The success is a bitch.
ROCK: Success is a bitch.
KING: We'll be...
ROCK: It needs to be smacked.
KING: ... we'll be right back with Chris Rock. The movie is "I Think I love My Wife." Don't go away.
ROCK: Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCK: Chicken again, we have chicken every day! I'm tired of chicken.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought you liked chicken.
ROCK: I like it, but I don't like it everyday! I mean I feel like I got feathers coming out of my...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, this isn't about chicken because I know you like chicken.
ROCK: No, no, you know what -- you know what -- you know what this is about, this is about all of the other animals out there that are dying to be eaten that we don't eat! Have you ever heard of lamb chops? Have you ever heard of pork chops? Get a taco!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCK: Well, Bush lied to me! They all lied to me! They said we got to go Iraq because they the most dangerous country on earth! They the most dangerous regime in the world. If they so dangerous, how come it only took two weeks to take over the whole country? Man, you couldn't take over Baltimore in two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Chris Rock, touching a lot of bases. His new film "I Think I Love My Wife," which he also directed and co- wrote, based on an earlier French film. Was that film a success, by the way?
ROCK: That film won the Cannes Film Festival...
KING: Not bad.
ROCK: ...in '69 or something like that.
KING: What do you make of all of the rage over the "n" word? In fact, New York City Council has banned its usage?
ROCK: I know. It's like -- as if they were -- were they using it anyway?
KING: I guess not. I guess not. They went on record.
ROCK: Was the judge was like, OK, 10 years, Nigger? Was that going on? I -- you know I hadn't been to court in a while, so I don't know.
KING: Are you affected when you hear it?
ROCK: Not when I hear it from you.
KING: I've never said it.
ROCK: I know. I know. I'm just saying, you know, when the wrong person says it. You know Ice Cube says it and I'm like yes! Toby Keith says it and I go I'll kill Toby.
KING: So a black person can say it.
ROCK: Well, Toby is a pretty black man when you think about it.
KING: You know what, in all of the times I've known you and have previously interviewed you, I've asked about your start. Where did -- what was your break? Where did you...
KING: ...where did you start?
ROCK: Well, no, let's talk about the "n" word, Larry. I heard they were getting rid of the "n" words. I did hear it. And I called up my accountant and I bought 800 shares of Cool just in case, just in case. So I got -- you should get in on that Cool. I tried to get Jigaboo but that was sold out. That was gone. There you go.
KING: So you can get away with it.
ROCK: I can get away with it. KING: I couldn't get away with it.
ROCK: Oh, you can get away with it, trust me.
KING: I can do heathen jokes.
ROCK: You could. You could. You could do it.
KING: Anyway, how did -- where did...
ROCK: I can't do no heathen jokes.
ROCK: You'd go to commercial. You'd come back, where's Chris Rock?
KING: Where did it all start? What was your break?
ROCK: Well, Larry...
KING: I don't mean the well, Larry.
ROCK: I got to ramp up. I don't know what the hell I'm going to say so I got -- you know like most comedians, I started in the church. I started in New York in a place called Catch a Rising Star.
KING: A famous place.
ROCK: A famous place. It doesn't exist anymore. And...
KING: Did you have to audition for that? Or did amateurs just go on? ROCK: It was audition night. You know they'd have -- what would they call it, potluck or, you know, you pull a number out of a hat and I'd pick lucky number seven. And I'd audition. And a guy named Mike Eagan said you passed audition. You can come out and work here. And I was like really, get out of here! And I've been doing comedy ever since.
KING: And then what was your break?
ROCK: My big break, there was like -- OK, there was point -- OK, my biggest...
KING: How'd the public get to know you?
ROCK: The public really got to know me when I got "Saturday Night Live." I had little things before that. But when I got on "Saturday Night Live," it's the biggest thing that ever happened to me, you know. I met Lorne Michaels. I haven't been broke the day since, you know.
ROCK: Lorne Michaels he's all right.
KING: Did they spot you or did you have to audition?
ROCK: They spotted me and I had to audition. Yes, I had to go to Chicago and audition. Me, Adam Sandler and Chris Farley all auditioned the same night.
KING: Wow! What a great story!
ROCK: That was a good night.
KING: And did all of you make it at the same time and work together?
ROCK: No, I got hired before Sandler, a little -- you know that's how smart they were. They tried to hide Sandler. He's just a writer. They didn't think he was -- not that they didn't think he was good enough to be on screen. Little did they know. He's -- you know he's the best one of the bunch, you know.
KING: And Chris Farley is sad.
ROCK: And Chris Farley is dead, you know.
KING: Boy, he was a talent.
ROCK: He was incredible. We shared an office. We shared a dressing room. I had -- you know we shared a name. We got...
KING: Did you write for "Saturday Night Live" too?
ROCK: I wrote all my stuff and -- 99 percent of it. And you know every now and then I would participate -- you know you add a joke for "Weekend Update" or you know a skit here and there.
KING: Do you remember the first thing you did on "Saturday Night Live"?
ROCK: What was the first -- I think I played Luther Campbell at, like, some dinner party or -- maybe it was the Monglotlen (ph) Group, but -- another dead guy, Phil Hartman. Well, he was the Sinatra Group. He was Frank Sinatra and I was Luther Campbell. I got two dead guys in my crew.
KING: Was that fun to do, that show?
ROCK: That show...
KING: A lot of pressure.
ROCK: ... it's a lot -- well, you know, it's a lot of pressure, yes, but it was the most fun I ever had in my life. And you know I was too young to realize. I'm like pressure, what? You know I was just having fun. Me, Sandler, Spade, Farley, we were just young guys.
KING: How did you get into movies?
ROCK: How did I get into movies, I just lucked into it. You know every now and then they're looking for comedians. My big movie break was probably "New Jack City" early on. I got to play a crack head. And it helped that I was on crack at the time. So they would just send the camera to my house and then go, cut. We're like who's that? How the hell did you get in my house? Pass me more crack.
KING: Did you ever have a problem?
ROCK: No, no.
KING: Never did?
ROCK: I never had a problem with crack because I could always afford it. That's why. That's why, yes. It's only a problem if you can't afford it. So...
KING: No, that's true.
ROCK: That is true.
KING: That's why they say more doctors are addicts than any other -- any other profession because they have access.
ROCK: Yes, yes. The doctors get the best drugs, Larry. I know it.
KING: There's a supplier.
ROCK: Hey, Dan!
KING: We'll be right back with Chris Rock. The movie "I Think I Love My Wife," more about it and other things when we come back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCK: Prison of a crime, I don't get it. I thought that was the whole idea of prison. It's a place for prisoners to feel uncomfortable. You know, like, my house, we slept four to a bed. We never tried to hang my father, you know.
Come on girl and get on your knees and nibble on me like a rat on cheese.
Everybody talk about it's about race. It's about race. That's a bunch of crap. It's about fame because if O.J. wasn't famous, he'd be in jail right now!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: What a week! Next week on LARRY KING LIVE, presidential contender, Barak Obama on Monday; on Tuesday, Heather Mills, the "Dancing With The Stars" contestant that everybody is talking about; and then Bill Cosby on Wednesday. All that and more next week on LARRY KING LIVE.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROCK: I came here for a lovely dinner with my wife and some friends, and the next thing I know is I got these big -- asking me if I want a drink.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you mean your wait person?
ROCK: Listen, I'm with my wife. I don't need big. I don't need some girl with her big village feeders asking me if I need some help. Is this Hooters?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, Sir.
ROCK: Is it Hooters?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, Sir.
ROCK: I know it isn't Hooters because if it is, you owe me some buffalo wings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Chris Rock. He's such an instant comic. And you're used to audiences. And it's happening right there and it's live. Isn't that hard to do a movie...
KING: ...where you got stop every 10 minutes?
ROCK: ... it is really hard to do a movie. It's hard in the sense that sometimes, like you say something funny and you won't find out for a year if people are going to laugh or not laugh. You're like, ooh, I wish I would have found out right then. But I never stopped doing stand-up all together. I go on -- you know I go on stand-up hiatus. So right now, I...
KING: Do you?
ROCK: ... yes, I haven't -- you know I don't think I've done it in about three years now.
KING: Do you miss it?
ROCK: No, I -- yes, I do miss it. But sometimes you've got to wait for the world to change. You know what I mean because I do a lot of topical stuff. And you know you do you it for a little while but then the world gets -- I mean you do this show every day. It gets stagnant and then all of a sudden, voila, Barack is running and Hillary is running. It's a new world. You know what I mean? And you know so the world is changing.
KING: Don't you miss the live reaction of people?
ROCK: I do miss the live reaction of people, I do. And I'm going go back and tour. I'm going to go out, hopefully in September.
KING: Have you always been, in your stand-up, political?
ROCK: I never really call it political. It's like...
KING: Timely then.
ROCK: ...I would -- I'm political like a guy in a barbershop. This is like -- you know, there's nothing in my act that wouldn't work in a barbershop. You know, it's not like Bill Maher is political.
KING: Oh yes.
ROCK: OK. Stewart, you know Jon Stewart is political. I'm -- you know, I'm barbershop political, you know.
KING: I mean but do you -- do you take off on Bush and...
ROCK: A little bit. You know I take off on Bush on how it affects the normal man, you know what I mean, not policy. It's like how does it affect poor people? How does it affect, you know, the day-to-day of people, you know? But Bush will be gone soon, pretty soon, in a day.
KING: So as a young black comic and star, was there a black predecessor that you looked up to? ROCK: I looked up to everybody, man. I looked up to -- I mean, you know, not just Prior and Murphy. I loved Woody Allen. I think Woody Allen is like the greatest comedian to ever live. He's a national treasure. I -- Rodney Dangerfield was -- you know who in the world was funnier than Rodney Dangerfield? Rickles, I love Rickles. I worship Rickles, you know. Bob Newhart, I -- you know I'm pretty color blind when it comes to my comedians.
KING: What was special about Prior?
ROCK: Prior was most honest human being ever to set foot...
ROCK: ... on -- ever, you know. Just forget comedy and just the most honest guy in the history of the universe. I mean he let it all hang out. And he was funny no matter what he was talking about, you know. You know and he was wondering where I got -- he got -- he was funny poor. He was funny rich. You know what I mean. He was funny young, funny old. It was like...
KING: He was stoned funny.
ROCK: Yes, yes. I don't know if he was ever not high, but hey...
KING: How'd you like playing a president?
ROCK: It was...
KING: "Head of State."
ROCK: ... "Head of State."
KING: It did well that movie.
ROCK: It did OK. It opened number one at the box office, yes, not bad. I just -- in the movie, I win and then that's the end of the movie. You know maybe we'll do a sequel. You know maybe Barack will do the sequel.
KING: Right, you never got to be -- you got to be president?
KING: You became president and that's the way...
KING: And then it's like let's get out of here before I mess this up.
KING: Now, tell me about "Everybody Hates" -- it's Chris. What's the background of that?
ROCK: Well, I was bussed to school as a child. And I got beat up a lot and called names by...
KING: In white neighborhoods?
ROCK: ... and I got bussed to school into a neighborhood worse than the one I lived in.
ROCK: You got rebussed?
ROCK: Yes, I got bussed to, like, a poor, white neighborhood in Garrison Beach, Brooklyn. And like I always say there's nothing a white guy with a penny hates more than a nigger with a nickel, OK. So that's where I went to school and they hated my guts. And it just -- you know it wasn't funny at the time. But you know you step back. You're Mr. Comedian and now we go, hey, that was kind of funny. I think I'm going to write a show about that, you know, kind of a "Wonder Years" with bullets, you know.
KING: And that show has done well?
ROCK: That show is doing fine. You know it's paying off -- you know it's paying the gas bill.
KING: Where in Brooklyn did you grow up?
ROCK: I grew up in Bedstuy, Bedstuy, do or die.
KING: The toughest -- I grew up in Bensonhurst but I was born in Brownsville.
KING: And Bedstuy was...
ROCK: Bedstuy was tough.
KING: ...tougher than Brownsville.
KING: Brownsville was tough.
ROCK: Well, Bensonhurst is tough if you're black.
KING: Not exactly welcoming to black people.
ROCK: No, not exactly. KING: You know Brooklyn is in a revival now?
ROCK: Yes. I was -- I have a house in Brooklyn still. I'm checking up on it and went into my old neighborhood. And I saw...
KING: Your life.
ROCK: ... I saw a black man. He's pushing white babies. It's like, hey, what's going on here?
KING: We will be back with our remaining moments with Chris Rock. The film is "I Think I love My Wife." Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How old is she?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lisa, 15.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, you are so in there. ROCK: Any time I did anything involving a girl, Greg thought I was in there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris, can I borrow a pencil?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, you are so in there!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Chris.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, you are so in there.
ROCK: Had I known what I know now about teachers, I would say that was the one time he was probably right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The race for president is over. For the first time in history, a black man, Mays Gilliam, will be the next president of the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Chris Rock. How did you like doing the Academy Awards?
ROCK: I loved doing the Academy Awards. It's like...
KING: Would you do it again?
ROCK: I would love to do it again, if they called me. I think Ellen has got the gig now.
KING: What did you think of her?
ROCK: I thought she was great. I thought she was very natural and I loved...
KING: She's not top of the load. I mean she didn't do...
ROCK: Oh you know, she did Ellen and that's what she's supposed to do. That's the key, do you, you know. Billy is probably best suited for the show.
ROCK: He's -- he is the godfather of the Oscars. It's his show. You know and we're all just borrowing it until Billy comes back, OK.
KING: Do you think Eddie Murphy should have won?
ROCK: You know, it's art. It's hard to compare art unless two people are doing the exact same thing. But I'm an Eddie Murphy fan. I worship Eddie Murphy. And I think Eddie Murphy should have won for the first "Nutty Professor." I think Eddie Murphy should have won for "Bullfinger." So you -- but you he didn't win that night. But you know he went back to his 40 million house...
KING: George C. Scott would not accept the Academy Award for "Patton." He said that the only way to compare is if five same actors played the same role with the same director.
ROCK: Yes, that's what I say. That's what I say, but, hey, you know, people have the show and you know it's a big deal, you know.
KING: What are going to do next?
ROCK: I'm going to go on tour. That's what I'm going to do.
ROCK: Yes, I'm going to do some -- I'm going to do some stand- up. I'm going to travel the world.
KING: Upcoming big concerts, big houses?
ROCK: Big houses, yes. I mean I started in clubs to get it ready to put it out. So now, I'll move up to the big stuff...
KING: How much...
ROCK: ...if people come and see me.
KING: Oh, yes, I'm sure. How much of an act do you do? Do you do over an hour?
ROCK: I do about an hour and a half, you know, depending on the house, you know. Some -- the last tour, I got up for two hours.
KING: How well do you think "I Think I love My Wife" will do?
ROCK: I hope it does great. I think it's going to do incredible.
KING: What company is producing it?
ROCK: Fox Search Light, the same people that brought you "Little Miss Sunshine." So it's a...
KING: Well, that's a movie.
ROCK: ...quality. It's -- yes.
KING: What did the suits say when they saw it, the proverbial suits?
ROCK: The suits liked it.
KING: Did you sit with them while they saw it?
ROCK: I -- yes.
KING: Did you sit with the execs? Was that a little nervous?
ROCK: It is very nervous. Well, the cool thing is Fox Search Light is they're a small studio, so they don't pay you enough to really boss you around. So it's all suggestions. You work for Warner Brothers, hey, you know, you better do what they say. OK, Massa, I'll cut that scene. But Search Light is a little...
KING: But you sat there with them?
KING: And you -- don't you sit -- Mel Brooks used to -- when his movie was open, stand in the back of the theater and count the laughs.
ROCK: You kind of -- what we do is we tape it so you can -- you know so you can hear it the next day. And when you have an argument with the studio, and you think well, that scene didn't work, it wasn't funny, you play the tape. So you got audio tape and go I hear laughter. I don't know what you all heard.
KING: The funny part of doing a movie is you don't know when they're going to -- in other words, the cameramen don't laugh, right?
ROCK: The cameramen do laugh. I -- when I'm doing a movie, I always try to make the crew laugh because the crew have normal lives.
KING: They do.
ROCK: You know what I mean. You know they're like Teamsters, you know. They're normal guys. They might -- you know they might go see a Steven Seagal movie. They don't care about no "Little Miss Sunshine."
KING: Wasn't that some movie?
ROCK: I loved "Little Miss Sunshine."
KING: What a movie! Steven Segal!
ROCK: He was a guy -- a big star in certain parts.
KING: Of the world.
KING: Bring him back alive. You're the best, Chris.
ROCK: Thank you. You're the best, Larry.
KING: Chris Rock, Emmy, Grammy winner and comic, star of the television sitcom, "Everybody Hates Chris" and the new film, "I Think I Love My Wife," which he also directed and co-wrote. Thank you very much, Chris.
That's it for tonight's LARRY KING LIVE. "ANDERSON COOPER 360' is next -- Anderson.
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