Chris Tucker is Baaack!! Two Sold Out Shows at Harlem’s Apollo Theater

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Chris Tucker on stage

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Chris Tucker is Baaack!! Two Sold Out Shows at Harlems Apollo Theater

When Chris Tucker wrapped up his sold out “Guess Who’s Back” Tour at Harlem’s Apollo Theater on December 13th and 14th, it was a homecoming for the actor/comedian who performed at the Apollo’s Amateur Night at the beginning of this career.

Tucker recalled that first night: “I found out the crowd was really hard, so you have to be really good, and you have to really connect with them right away, or you’re in trouble.” Tucker was at the top of his game and had the crowd roaring from his opening words. This was a night the infamous “Executioner” was not waiting in the wings to sweep him off stage.

The show kicked off with two warm up comics: newcomer London Brown and  Def Comedy Jam’s Terry Hodges. Brown proved he belonged on stage with the veterans with his impressions of Jay-Z, Denzel Washington, and even Tucker.

Tucker hit the stage dancing to James Brown’s funky “Pay Back” as he greeted his fans. Most of his material focused on finance, and in his case, owing money. Five years ago he was the highest paid actor earning $25 million for “Rush Hour 3.” Since then, he spent and lost his entire fortune, and due to unpaid taxes, his net worth is negative $11.5 million.

“The IRS doesn’t play,” said Tucker, who blamed his business manager for his problems. “She didn’t pay my taxes, but she paid her own. It’s the last time I’ll let Wesley Snipes help me with taxes, talking ’bout we don’t have to pay taxes. He said he’s a super hero he doesn’t pay tax. Can’t trust nobody.” Snipes is now serving three year sentence for three misdemeanor counts of failing to file tax returns.

Tucker recalled when he talked to Chan about his dilemma, his “Rush Hour” co-star responded, “Chris, you broke. Your whole country broke.”

Chris Tucker & Jackie Chan

Chris Tucker & Jackie Chan

Born in Atlanta, Georgia on August 31, 1971, Tucker built his reputation appearing on “Def Comedy Jam” and appearing in the mid-90s in “House Party 3″, “Friday”, and “The Fifth Element.” His star rocketed to the stratosphere in 1998, co-starring with Jackie Chan in Brett Ratner’s “Rush Hour.” After the film’s massive success, Tucker demanded and received $20 million to appear in the sequel. He then negotiated a $40 million, two-movie contract with New Line Cinema of which $25 million would be for “Rush Hour 3.”

Ice Cube & Chris Tucker in Friday

Ice Cube & Chris Tucker in Friday

Tucker’s breakthrough role was Smokey in 1995’s “Friday,” and he joked he was paid in “CDs and weed.” He blamed Ice Cube, stating, “He’s a rapper. He didn’t know what’s he was doing.” Tucker says he pleaded with fans to stop referring to him as Smokey in public. “Don’t call me Smokey no more, it was a character and I was just a good actor.”

The blockbuster “Rush Hour” films soon followed, immediately vaulting Tucker to Hollywood’s A-list.  He and Michael Jackson formed a mutual admiration society, and their close friendship led to Tucker starring in Jackson’s “You Rock My World” video playing the King of Pop’s partner in crime.

“Michael invited me to his Neverland,” Tucker fondly remembered. “I was sitting by the window and saw two giraffes are looking at me and I said, ‘Michael, what these two giraffes are doing there?’ and he said, ‘there’s three, you wanna meet them?’ That’s crazy.” He also revealed that Michael changed his name to ‘Christmas.’ “When I was talking to Michael on the phone, he started calling me Christmas. He said, ‘It sounds nice, Christmas. Don’t you think?’ So now my name is officially changed to Christmas Tucker.”

Chris “Christmas” Tucker has definitely made a comeback with his return to standup comedy and his feature role in “Silver Linings Playbook” starring Robert De Niro.  With rumors of “Rush Hour 4,” hopefully we will once again see the hilarious team of Detective James Carter and Detective Inspector Lee traveling the globe performing the song they love to sing, “War, what is it good for?, Absolutely nothing.”

Sing it again, Chris!

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