Chris Tucker Broods Over IRS Debt at the Fillmore
You can hardly blame Chris Tucker for being a little distracted during his show Saturday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach. If we owed the IRS $11 million, we'd probably be preoccupied too. But unlike Tucker, we don't have huge hilarious bulging eyeballs to effortlessly smooth over glitches in our work. If we did, we probably wouldn't bother staying up till three in the morning trying to make deadline. But we digress.
We walked in at around 8 p.m., as Tucker's opening act, London Brown, was winding down his set. The skinny young guy in a fitted suit jacket and too-short pant legs hovering over bright white Nikes was apparently having some trouble adjusting to the Miami weather.
"We black people, we don't do heat like that," he said. "We make
fans out of anything. We be at our cousin's funeral, and we'll take the
obituary and fold it up in a second."
Tucker himself arrived through a slit in the dark purple curtain at the
back of the stage. Many audience members stood to greet the man of the
hour, though it's a miracle we were able to see this transpire, so
blinded were we by Tucker's delightfully garish orange suit, complete
with two (yes, two) fat satin orange ties and a rhinestone-studded white
shirt. Holy hell, what an outfit.
the crowd by pandering with a few Cuban-themed jokes, like "Cubans hate
Castro! What he do, take all your shit and make you leave the country?"
a lotta homeless people here," he said. "You ever accidentally give
someone money who wasn't homeless? I did that once. The guy said, 'What
you doing, I ain't homeless, I'm just resting down here.' I said, 'Well
get some better clothes! You're confusing people!'"
talked candidly about the financial problems he was facing. Well, as
candidly as a world-famous comedian can talk about anything.
the last time I let Wesley Snipes help me out with my taxes," he said. A
moment later, he joked that he was so bad with money that he'd bought
two houses right next to each other and then ended up going door to door
asking himself if he could borrow a cup of sugar.
he described his unnaturally passionate bill collectors. "They calling
you acting like you owe them the money personally! 'We need the money,'"
he mocked sternly. "I don't owe you shit! This is between me and the
He seemed to get so wrapped up in the
anxiety of his IRS debt that he ended up losing his train of thought.
Maybe he was trying to count in his head how much money he was making
per minute of comedy.
Luckily, he's got plenty of fail-safe material to fall back on in times like these. In this case, he used the Friday movies as his parachute pad. The "Smokey" references were an instant hit. "Cube didn't pay us nothing for that movie," he said. "I think he gave us some CDs and some weed or something."
This brought him back to his financial problems once again. The lament this time? Having to fly first class instead of coach. "You
get in first, and they set you up with some champagne and shrimp, and
you're all comfy and stuff, and what do they do? They let the coach
people in and make you feel all guilty," he began. He put his hand on
his hip, imitating a mocking coach-class passenger. "Well la-ti-da, look
at all this!"
Another bane of commercial flights? Overly inquisitive white people. "Excuse me, Snoop Doggy Dogg? Where you going?" he recounted in a nasal whisper.
he launched into tales of his dysfunctional upbringing, he seemed to
really lose himself in his material. We laughed so hard we feared oxygen
deprivation as he related how his tough mama left her five-year-old son
at the mall overnight to teach him a lesson about following
His physical comedy was equally
hysterical. He seamlessly channeled not only his no-nonsense mother, but
also his lamenting beggar father and uncle, and animals including a
roach, a bird, and a cheetah.
Tucker made his
love for deceased friend Michael Jackson very clear, going so far as to
do his (not funny) interpretation of Jackson's "Human Nature" for the
packed house. At that point we wished he'd have followed the advice he
said Jackson himself had at one point imparted to him: "Stick to comedy,
Yeah, there were a few hiccups in the
show, but Tucker did make sure there was something for everyone,
covering everything from his visit to Nigeria with former President
Clinton, to the melodramatic "praise team" at his childhood church.
make the show? No worries. With the deficit he's got to work off for
Uncle Sam, Tucker, who hasn't made a movie since 2011, will probably be
gracing the big screen in Rush Hour 4, 5 and 6 before you know it. In
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