Comedian Chris Tucker Talks Influences, Acting Vs. Standup, And More

Comedian and actor Chris Tucker is bringing his humor to Louisville. Tucker, who’s most notably known for playing Detective James Carter alongside Jackie Chan in the “Rush Hour” series, is headlining The Legends Tour 2023, a tour showcasing standup comedians, at the Louisville Palace Theatre on Wednesday, Sep. 20. This is his first trip back to Louisville in 10 years.

During the early ’90s, Tucker was frequently featured on the HBO comedy series “Def Comedy Jam,” where he made his standup acting debut. He has also appeared in the motion pictures “Friday,” “The Fifth Element,” “Money Talks,” and “Jackie Brown.”

LEO Weekly chopped it up with Tucker on the opening night of the tour to discuss his upcoming visit to the Bluegrass State, the ins and outs of the tour, his feelings about the current state of the comedic landscape, and much more.


LEO Weekly: How does it feel to be performing in Derby City after being away for so long? 

Chris Tucker: I don’t know, because I was coming in and out of Kentucky, but yeah, it feels great, man. You know, this tour, I’m excited about it again. It’s a great time, you know. It feels great. It feels really good.

What are you most looking forward to during your stay in the city of Louisville? Anything in particular? 

Definitely the people and every show is so, so different man. ‘Cause each city has a different audience. I’m looking forward to the people man. Because the shows always revolve around the cities, the crowd, the people and the audience. So yeah, we straight!

Tell us a little bit more about The Legend Tour 2023. How many cities will you be performing in? 

I think we’re doing 20-something cities, and it’s just a great time, like I said. To go out and right now, there’s so much to talk about in the world, and it’s just great, man. I am really looking forward to it.

You came up early in your career as a standup comedian. You then took a break from it and focused on becoming an actor, ultimately becoming a big star due to the success of films like “Friday” and the “Rush Hour” trilogy. You are now back where it all started, telling jokes on stage. What reignited the interests? 

I started out doing standup comedy, you know, that’s a big source. [For me] I think it’s the source of everything. It’s like an actor going on Broadway or coming up through Broadway or off-Broadway. I came up through the comedy clubs, and that sparked me too. It’s the gate that opened up the avenue, the doors for acting, so it’s everything to me. It’s standup. You have that freedom to talk about whatever you want to talk about, man. Your personal life and all these things. When you act, you have to play a role. Not standup. It’s really about my life, real life and real-life events. It’s a great, great art form.

What are your thoughts about the comedy game now? 

I think it’s good. I think the people are great. It’s evolving, and I think it’s still a great art form. I think it’s going in the right direction.

Currently, who are some of your favorite comedians? 

Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, and Kevin Hart. All those guys and so many others, like Earthquake. There are so many great comedians out there doing great stuff.

Who were some of your comedic influences growing up? 

Definitely Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby. Richard Pryor definitely, growing up and Redd Foxx, too.

I’m going to put you on the spot. In your opinion, who is the comedic G.O.A.T. [Greatest Of All Time]? 

Oh man, I would always say the ones that came before me. I would say, Richard Pryor. He inspired even Eddie Murphy. So, I would say Richard is the G.O.A.T.

So, if Richard Pryor is your G.O.A.T., which three comedians are joining him on your Mount Rushmore of comedy? 

Definitely Eddie Murphy.

Two more. 

Two more? Two more? You know, it’s always the ones that come before us, so Dick Gregory and, I would say, Redd Foxx.

Would you say that there’s a difference between being funny on stage and being funny on the big screen? What’s the difference between the two concepts? 

Definitely there is. I remember when I first started acting, I knew I had to tone stuff down. ‘Cause the stage could be broader, especially like when playing a theater. You could be a bit more broader [on stage]. But in movies being funny is different. ‘Cause you get an immediate response [from the audience] during a standup comedy show. But on the movie set, you don’t get it right away. So, you have to remember that timing is important. And also remember those beats and know that whatever you’re saying is funny (being confident) and it’s going to get to the audience later after it’s edited, and in the [movie] theater. So, it’s definitely different.

What are you expecting from the people of Louisville? What do you want to see from them when they turn out for the show?

Man, I’m expecting good energy, good energy. Plenty of good energy, that I am just going to feel to do my thing, man, and keep going.

Lastly, is there anything else that you would like to add or say about the Legends Tour 2023 before we wrap up?

I’m looking forward to it, and this is going to be, I think, one of the best tours ever. And I’m just looking forward to coming to Louisville. I just can’t wait.

For more information or to purchase tickets contact 855.851.7688 or visit

About the Author

Jason is currently residing in Louisville. He has served in the capacity of a freelance reporter for the past 16 years and served as the Culture and Diversity Reporter for the Courier Journal. His expertise lies in the area of sports, current events and arts & culture. He completed his undergraduate degree at Long Island University (Brooklyn Campus) and his first master’s at Pace University. He is also an alum of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. Jason also served as a special education teacher for the Department of Education in Washington Heights.His work can be read in the Courier Journal The Ring, RingTV.Com, The Bronx Free Press, NYSportsDay.ComMaxboxing.Com, Norwood News, TheBronxChronicle.Com, The Mott Haven Herald and The Hunts Point Express.

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