Keynote Speaker Chris Rock

Chris Rock

Comedian, Actor, Screenwriter, Producer & Director

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Lauded by awards and critics alike, Chris Rock is one of our generation’s strongest comedic voices and was most recently honored with HBO’s esteemed “Comedian Award,” at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. The Brooklyn-raised comedian has garnered three Emmys Awards, three Grammy Awards and has seen his former eponymous talk show become one of HBO’s highest-rated and most talked-about programs.

Rock kicked off his first stand-up tour in over three years – NO APOLOGIES – with a New Year’s Eve Date at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Featuring all new material, Rock will then head to the United Kingdom where he will perform for his first time ever overseas. Rock immediately sold out his original set of 2008 U.K. tour dates, and to satiate the fervent demand, an additional week-long overseas leg was added. Returning to the United States in February, his tour will last through May, with additional international dates being added to follow in Australia and South Africa later this year.

Coinciding with the tour, Rock also released his first “best-of” album, CHEESE AND CRACKERS: THE GREATEST BITS, through Geffen Records last month. Featuring 19 tracks of Rock’s most notorious moments, CHEESE AND CRACKERS: THE GREATEST BITS showcases the Brooklyn-raised comic’s insight on everything from race relations, politics, sex, and the infamous “N-word.”

Currently serving as both co-creator and narrator of the acclaimed hit television series “Everybody Hates Chris,” now on the CW network, Rock has also appeared as a guidance counselor in the Rock-inspired sitcom about a black kid in a mostly white school in 1980s Brooklyn, debuted on UPN in 2005. Since then, it has been named one of Entertainment Weekly’s “top new series,” making it in the most-watched comedy in UPN’s history. In 2006 the show earned both a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Writers Guild Awards nomination for Best New Series.

Rock was most recently heard as the voice of Mooseblood the Mosquito in Jerry Seinfeld’s animated BEE MOVIE, which also stars Renee Zellweger and Matthew Broderick. Last year, he also starred in Fox Searchlight’s film I THINK I LOVE MY WIFE, which he also wrote and directed. Rock made his directorial debut with HEAD OF STATE, which opened number one at the box office. He starred as an unlikely Washington, D.C. alderman chosen to be a presidential nominee, while Bernie Mac portrayed his older brother who becomes his running mate. He also starred in both THE LONGEST YARD with Adam Sandler, a remake of the 1974 classic, as well as in the box office hit MADAGASCAR, featuring the voices of Sacha Baron Cohen, Ben Stiller, Andy Ritcher, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer.

Rock’s feature film debut was in BEVERLY HILLS COP II with Eddie Murphy. He went on to write, create, star, and produce the rap comedy CB4 in 1993, a satire of the world of hardcore rap, which opened #1 at the box office. Other film credits include BOOMERANG, with Eddie Murphy; PANTHER, a drama spotlighting the lives of the 60’s activist group The Black Panthers, directed by Mario Van Peebles; NEW JACK CITY with Wesley Snipes (a film marking Rock’s dramatic debut as a desperate crack addict); and I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA! with Keenen Ivory Wayans. The summer of 1998 saw Chris Rock co-star in two $100-million-plus grossing films: LETHAL WEAPON 4 and DR. DOLITTLE. Rock starred in Kevin Smith’s DOGMA, which also featured Ben Affleck, Salma Hayek and Matt Damon. He also starred in the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced BAD COMPANY opposite Anthony Hopkins; the romantic comedy DOWN TO EARTH co-directed by Paul and Chris Weitz and co-written by Rock; and the dark comedy NURSE BETTY, directed by Neil LaBute, in which Rock co-starred with Morgan Freeman and Renee Zellweger.

After gaining early success as a stand-up comedian, Rock joined the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live in 1989. In 1993, he taped his first HBO special CHRIS ROCK: BIG ASS JOKES, which was honored with a CableAce Award. Rock served as the sole 1996 presidential campaign correspondent for the acclaimed “Politically Incorrect,” then on Comedy Central, and received an Emmy nomination for a shared writing credit in the category of Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program for the show. Rock’s true emergence as a celebrated talent can be traced to his next HBO special, BRING THE PAIN, which was honored with two Emmy Awards for Best Writing and Outstanding Special in 1997. BRING THE PAIN was released as a home video as well as a Grammy Award-winning CD. Rock went on to host the acclaimed “Chris Rock Show,” which began airing on HBO in 1997. Rock and his popular talk show were honored with several Emmy nominations for both writing and best host. The show then received an Emmy Award for Best writing in 1999.

His next HBO stand-up special, BIGGER & BLACKER, taped on the stage of Harlem’s fabled Apollo Theatre, earned three Emmy nominations for Rock, while the CD went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Spoken or Comedy Album. Rock’s most recent HBO special, Never Scared, aired in April 2004, was nominated for two Emmys, its CD also earning the Grammy for Best Comedy Album. In 2003, Rock embarked on his North American stand-up tour, entitled the “BLACK AMBITION TOUR” that ran in 64 cities with over 80 shows through March of 2004.

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