Life
Life beyond style

It seems rather apropos that Chris Rock’s first standup special in ten years, Tambourine, opens with a refrain from Thundercat’s song, “Them Changes,” which echoes, “Nobody move, there’s blood on the floor, And I can’t find my heart.” Simply put, Rock’s decade-long absence from the stage felt as dire of a condition as losing a vital organ.

While many outlets have chosen to focus on Rock’s best jokes from his Netflix return, we couldn’t help being struck by the pieces of wisdom in between the the punchlines. Although many of the topics stem from Rock’s own experiences, there’s a transecndant universality with how he views the world.

If you’re weary of gurus, but love comedians, here are the best pieces of life advice from Chris Rock’s new Netflix standup special, Tambourine.

Pressure makes diamonds, not hugs

Rock spends a good chunk of his early moments on stage reflecting about taking his oldest daughter, Lola, to her high school freshman orientation. While there, Rock was uneasy with the anti-bullying sentiment that was being preached by school administrators.

For him, as uncomfortable a thought it was that his daughter could be a victim, he knew that in the long run, having to deal with bad people is just a part of life. Learning that sooner, rather than later, prepares you for the harsh reality that comes along with growing up.

Find God, before God finds you

The comedian tells the audience that he hasn’t been to church in ten years, but he wants to have a “little bit” of God back in his life (wanting it in moderation like salt). Whether you’re into organized religion or not, Rock’s message is still relevant because it reminds a person to be proactive, not reactive, when it comes to dealing with a rough patch in one’s life. If you’re waiting for something good to happen, it’s probably never gonna. Go out and get it.

Some of you have been in a relationship so long that you don’t know how ugly you are

As the age old adage tells us, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” In the case of relationships – many which have endured for years – there’s always the possibility to go out and explore what, and more specifically, who else is out there. Rock reminds us that an inflated self-image built in the past doesn’t always paint the actual picture of what is happening today.

For some, time ages a person like fine wine. For others, they’re like a carton of milk.

All you should be doing is fucking, and going places

Rock is of the belief that the number reason that relationships fail is because people stop having sex and going places; or as he cracks, “You should be cumming and going.” Although a sex-less relationship suggests a lack of love, it’s in fact the latter half of Rock’s assessment that seems particularly relevant. If you’re not keeping it interesting with your significant other, that’s probably the reason why you’re not having sex.

Her success is your success, and your success is her success

“Stop competing,” Rock tells the audience. In the Mad Men era past, men were viewed as the breadwinners and considered to be the kings of their castles – while their wives were just supposed to be content that they had a nuclear family and a roof over her head. As those roles began to evaporate as more and more women entered the workforce and became successful in a variety of fields, it created a dual income household. And while more money is always a good thing, it does set up a situation where the person with the bigger paycheck or better job is deemed the one in charge.

To borrow a sports analogy, be a coach when it calls for it, a player when need be, and always a cheerleader.

When you’re in a band, sometimes you’re on lead, and sometimes you’re on tambourine

For those curious why Chris Rock names his comedy special after a musical instrument, he explains that, “when you’re in a band, sometimes you’re on lead, and sometimes you’re on tambourine. And if you’re on tambourine, play it right. Play it with smile, because no one wants to see a mad tambourine player.”

This idea further clarifies the sentiment above that relationships shouldn’t be built upon competition. While we’d all like to believe we’re capable of that rock star solo, the person shaking that jangly piece of of percussion is of equal importance too.

Every problem you have today, you had when you met

Relationship experts often point out that all the little quirks that initially drew you to your significant other end up being the same traits the cause all the strife. When dating, a person would be wise to understand that those bugaboos are all about context; creativity can always be framed as unstableness, passion can also be deemed as being manic, and confidence can be misconstrued as cockiness.

But as Rock points out, no matter how you frame it, that problem has always been there.

You can’t miss nobody in 2017

For most couples out there, a large chunk of the day is spent apart thanks to things like work or school. Yet, despite the physical distance, technology has provided a sense of connectivity that people didn’t have to contend with prior to the introduction of the cell phone.

Thus, the flow of information about how a person’s day is going is often shared during this period. And when it’s time for that joyous reunion at the end of the day, everything has already been said via text or phone conversation.

Rock insinuates that his own parents 40 years of marriage was so successful because that period of absence culminated in actual yearning for one another.

People would be wise to consider sharing the positives and negatives of their days with their significant others while they’re actually together.

A women can leave you mentally

Many assume that cheating is simply a physical act. However, Rock points out that a mental checkout is equally as damaging.

The technical term for what he describes is an, “emotional affair.” In a relationship study, it was reported that heterosexual men were more likely than heterosexual women to be upset by sexual infidelity (54 vs. 35 %) and less likely than heterosexual women to be upset by emotional infidelity (46 vs. 65 %).

Needless to say, the sexes view cheating differently. Whereas someone who is emotionally unengaged may be described as “distant,” Rock illustrates that they may be in fact already gone.

For more life advice, here are 5 simple tips to improve your mental health.

  • All images: Netflix
Words by Alec Banks
Features Editor

Alec Banks is a Los Angeles-based long-form writer with over a decade of experience covering fashion, music, sports, and culture.

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