Chris Rock on Mentoring: “Dude, I’ve Been There!”

What was the most memorable advice Chris Rock ever got? “Don’t curse,” he says. “From my mom.”

Now the funnyman who first hit it big on Saturday Night Live is the one handing out guidance. He produces FX’s Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, the socio-political comic he began mentoring after catching Bell’s stand-up act.

“I had a lot of good mentors—Eddie Murphy, Lorne Michaels—and half of what they said wasn’t about being a comedian. It was like, ‘This is what you are going to have to do, and these are the tough decisions you are going to have to make, and here’s the way of going about  things.’ ”

Rock’s extensive résumé includes being co-creator and narrator on UPN’s hit Everybody Hates Chris and the voice of Marty the zebra in the Madagascar films. He just joined BET’s reality series Real Husbands of Hollywood.

“Just like sports, people like a coach who has played. And I have played,” Rock tells SUCCESS. “But the best coaches aren’t the star players. The fact that I was not a star on SNL and had to sit and watch more than I performed helps me more than if I had been on all the time. I’m trying to pass on, ‘Like, dude, I’ve been there. And everything I’m telling you is from a mistake I made.’ ”

Bell says Rock has helped him tremendously because he talks honestly about his own false steps. “Everything I’ve done is some version of what he’s done before,” Bell says. “He makes his point, and then he steps away and leaves the decision to me.”

And Rock’s best advice? “Don’t save anything,’’ Bell says. “Put it all out there every time.”

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