"Saturday Night Live" and a host of late-night comedy hosts have all had their way with President Donald Trump, and soon it will be another icon of the genre's turn: Chris Rock.
The 52-year-old actor, director and stand-up superstar is launching his first comedy tour in almost a decade on Monday, and he will be rolling out two heavily hyped Netflix specials within the calendar year.
Rock, who became a household name thanks to his incisive hot takes on '90s-era scandals like the O.J. Simpson trial and President Bill Clinton's impeachment, should find plenty of fodder for his "Total Blackout Tour" in the tumultuous first few weeks of the Trump administration.
"Chris Rock couldn't be returning to stand-up at a better time. He has never shied away from examining the complexities and contradictions of American life and, given the charged climate surrounding American politics, his voice will be even more useful in exposing some difficult truths," writer-comedian and former "Last Comic Standing" cast member Cyrus McQueen told NBC News on Monday.
"The aftermath of Trump's election has left most people stunned," McQueen said. "As many are grappling with this new reality, you can guarantee a great comedian like Rock is already at work cutting through the noise and unearthing truths that are going to resonate with audiences."
Rock, who backed the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, has already expressed his displeasure with Trump. On inauguration day, he pointedly tweeted: "Don't forget to turn your clocks back 300 years tonight."
He also appeared in a widely hailed "SNL" sketch shortly after the election, alongside comedian Dave Chappelle, which mocked white liberals' overconfidence in a Clinton victory and their outrage at the racial prejudices of some the electorate.
His trademark style of humor has always been about pushing boundaries and confronting differences, sometimes even between himself and his own audience. For instance, in a famous stand-up bit, he has described himself as liberal on some issues, while conservative on others like taxes.
But he is most well-known for his ability to adroitly illuminate America's racial struggle — as he did early last year as host of the Academy Awards. With Trump routinely pushing buttons on race — with his incendiary, unsubstantiated claims about crime in the inner cities, and his travel ban directed at only Muslim-majority countries — it stands to reason that Rock will have a perspective worth listening to.
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"He is such a master of his craft that he can take an explosive issue like race and, with a surgeon's precision, extract laughs from a topic that would blow up in a lesser comic's hands," McQueen said.
It's a testament to his genius that he can craft an hour of strong material on a difficult topic like race," McQueen said. "He'll dive head first into the deep end, while many of his contemporaries are content wading in more shallow waters."
"If there was ever a need for a voice like Rock's, someone who's never shied away from speaking truth to power, it's now, as we all clamor to survive in the age of Trump," he added.
And even if Rock isn't looking to give voice to dissenters, he may be generating significant momentum for himself. After all, after playing an unlikely, successful presidential candidate in the cult comedy "Head of State" in 2003, Rock — perhaps ironically — declared that he would be seeking the White House himself for real in 2020, just two days after the election.