Chris Tucker reflects on career highlights and gives details on the stalled fourth "Friday" film.
Listen up, comedy lovers, Chris Tucker has a message when he rolls into a town near you: “You ain’t got no job and got nothing to do, so come out!”
The actor/comedian, best known for roles in comedies like “Friday” and “Rush Hour,” is bringing his new stand-up comedy show, the Payback Tour, running now through Aug. 23 (check schedule), plus a charity golf tournament on Aug. 29 in Atlanta.
“Friday” was released in 1995 and became a hit for new guy on the scene Tucker and rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube. It spawned two sequels and continues to enjoy Internet meme afterlife.
A Google search of “Chris Tucker damn” yields 1,610,000 results, and a clip of Tucker’s stoner character “Smokey” and Cube’s “Craig Jones” sitting porch side, screaming “damn!” from a scene in the movie that has been viewed more than 11.6 million times on YouTube (click here to view). Most recently, the film spawned yet another meme, "Bye Felisha" (click here to view the clip, which contains inappropriate language).
“I remember how much fun we had behind the scenes and we brought that on screen,” Tucker reflects on the day-in-the-life slacker comedy during an interview Wednesday.
Among the gems from behind the scenes nearly 20 years ago that still leave him in stitches, Tucker recalls when “Deebo (actor and former wrestler Tiny ‘Zeus’ Lister Jr.) was chasing me for real and we weren’t even filming. He was scaring me on the set. We had to call the real cops to slow him down. He was crazy for real.”
“Friday” was an instant hit that spawned two sequels, “Next Friday” and “Friday After Next,” with a fourth installment currently in development, according to Cube, who made the announcement nearly six months ago when he was promoting his buddy flick “Ride Along,” with Kevin Hart, during a Reddit AMA interview.
He stated that the original cast was expected to join the project, but it has been held up in Hollywood studio limbo. “The next Friday movie is caught up in development hell at New Line Cinema," Cube revealed. "Pray that we get it outta there.”
But for Tucker the “Friday” franchise has already seen its last day. “Me and Cube talk from time to time, and he’s saying that he doesn’t know if it’s going to happen,” he says. “I’m just waiting on him. I’ve never been a fan of doing another one anyway, so it’s not on me, guys, it’s on the studio.”
Tucker added: “I think it’s the period of time. It’s hard to bring that stuff back. I was a certain age and the timing was right then, and it’s different now. I think when we did it; it was a great time to do it. I don’t know about now.”
That same year Tucker had audiences roaring in theaters after “Friday’s” release, he was recruited for a cameo role to play an “evil tribal chief's yes-man” in 2Pac’s music video for “California Love”--2Pac’s most successful song, reaching the top spot for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1995. “I’ll never forget that. Tupac was the nicest guy in the world. He had just gotten out of jail and he was on the set, Dr. Dre (also featured on the track); it was like a period in time… now it’s just classic,” Tucker says.
The Hype Williams-directed video set in a post-apocalyptic year of 2095 was inspired by “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome,” and featured high speed motor chases and explosions.
“We were in the middle of the desert, and Michael Clarke Duncan--my really good friend who passed away-- saved my life on that set because we were in the desert doing a big “Mad Max” routine and we were going on these dunes--big dunes--on the dessert, and I had my head up all in the air and went over a dune and almost fell out of the Jeep. Michael Clarke Duncan grabbed my back and said “hey, be careful little fella,” and saved my life,” Tucker recalls. “We were friends ever since then; I said we’re going to be friends for life. He saved my life.”
Tucker’s roots in standup comedy made him a natural for slapstick characters, but he took a departure from his comfort zone and charmed audiences in a supporting role as the neurotic Danny McDaniels in 2012’s Oscar-nominated comedy-drama “Silver Linings Playbook.”
“It was something I was interested in because it was something I didn’t know a lot about (mental illness)—and I love doing stuff that I can learn and I was curious about,” Tucker says of the role, adding, “and David O’Russell, a great director who did ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Three Kings,’ we knew he would bring a great cast together like Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence--who won best actress-- so for me it was just a lot of fun, and (it) was a great little character who was important to the movie and show another side of me that people forgot since “Dead Presidents” that I could do serious characters.”
Tucker played a heroin-addicted Vietnam War vet who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder in the armored car robbery caper.
But the side audiences will see of Tucker on his comedy tour will undoubtedly be funnier than ever, the comic promises. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.
Watch Chris Tucker's cameo in "California Love" below:
PHOTOS: Chris Tucker Through the Years