Top Comics Collaborate for Top Five

Written and directed by Chris Rock, Top Five stars amazing comedians for a heartfelt comedy. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Written and directed by Chris Rock, Top Five stars amazing comedians for a heartfelt comedy. Courtesy of Wikipedia

By Nicole Horton

Chris Rock wrote, directed and starred in the upcoming movie Top Five, in which a comedian tries to make it as a serious actor while his reality-TV star fiancé talks him into broadcasting their wedding on her reality television show.

This comedy appears poised to bring unceasing laughter because in addition to himself, Rock recruits his fellow comedians, some of whom are friends, including Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, J.B. Smoove, Whoopie Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Cedric the Entertainer and Leslie Jones. The movie premieres Dec. 12, giving it an opportune box of- fice time because it is prior to the much-anticipated Christmas releases and several weeks after the sequel of the successful comedy Horrible Bosses.

“We just, you know — we reminded ourselves of old jokes that we used to tell and we’ll be in the moment and joke around with the scene,” J.B. Smoove said to The Fordham Ram and other college newspaper outlets about acting alongside Chris Rock. “And, you know, it makes the scene easy to translate also because you know when you’re playing a character opposite Chris and he knows you already and you’re playing his friend in the movie, and you’re his friend for real, it comes off real.”

Smoove compares comics and reality stars to salesmen because they have to “sell” themselves as well as a product, such as their characters or jokes. “So, I think those reality characters and you know — and I think comedians, in general, when we’re on stage, we have to sell ourselves first. Then, we’ll show you our goods, you know — what’s my personality, you know, what am I attaching my personality to, what style of comedy am I attaching this personality to.”

In this movie, Andre (Rock) and his fiancée, Erica Long (Gabrielle Union), venture into the pop- ular world of reality television. In the trailer, Erica tells Andre to kiss her in front of paparazzi and says, “If it’s not on camera, it doesn’t exist.” Perhaps this is meant to be a statement about how reality shows force emotion for the camera and may take away from a serious acting career or relationship.

In this movie, Smoove feels that Rock plays a different type of role than ever before, drawing parallels from his life as he wrote the script and created his character.

He references comedic actors Jim Carrey and Steve Carell who have taken on more serious roles. “Although everyone wanted to see this character that he played all these years, other funny characters that he played — the ‘bad’ character, I think what happens is, you know, not only did he slowly get away from that, he felt like he needed to do something more serious.”

For Smoove, he felt that this role pushed him to change his approach and enabled him to show range. “In this movie, I’m actually really, really acting more like as an actor as opposed to the over the top J.B.

There are moments of funny J.B. in there, over the top J.B., but in this particular movie, I think he cast me in this movie because it allowed him to be the comedian in this movie. It allowed him to be Andre Allen.”

In addition to discussing Top Five and working with his friend Chris Rock, Smoove offered some advice to college students who are looking to get into movies and comedy.

“You know, improv class is an amazing thing to do,” recommended Smoove. “I think anyone who wants to be a writer, anyone who wants to be in front of the camera, behind the camera, it helps you communicate with people better. It helps you to adjust your dialogue, adjust yourself, you know, be in the moment, a lot freer — you know, a lot freer when you know you’re in control of things.”

Along with improv, Smoove suggests learning from every standup routine or any good or bad experience as a comedian.

“You know, and even when I started doing standup, you know whether I did good or I did bad that night, I learned something every time I got on that stage. I learned either what to do, what works for me or I learned what didn’t work for me,” said Smoove.

Nicole Horton is the Culture Editor for The Fordham Ram. 


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