Movie star comedians of a certain age seem to share some identifying traits. They either surprise people by turning up in a dramatic movie or TV drama, or make their stand-up less about life in general and more about their own.
Chris Tucker has both boxes checked.
In last year’s Netflix stand-up special, the 44-year-old talked about everything from a humanitarian trip to Africa with Bill Clinton to his own tax troubles, and how an uncle was among those who expected his “Rush Hour” money to embrace the trickle-down theory.
And Tucker follows his supporting role in “Silver Linings Playbook” with the upcoming “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” director Ang Lee’s adaptation of the novel about Iraq War veterans.
But the 44-year-old devoted more of his recent years to stand-up, which brings him to the Palms on Saturday.
“In stand-up you can talk about stuff that nobody else can talk about,” he says. “You can talk about yourself … . There’s no other format you can do that in.
“I just love getting better,” he says of touring for most of the past four years. “It’s just a desire to get better. And finding new things to talk about, digging deep. Things that’s happened in my life, how my life changed.
“That’s just who I am. I started out doing stand-up comedy and that took me to the movies. So I’m just loving just getting better and better at it.”
Since his stand-up also includes impressions of Clinton, Donald Trump and even Bernie Sanders, it seems like Tucker might have some improv or sketch comedy in his background.
But no, “my acting skills came from stand-up,” he says. “Acting stuff out on the stage.”
He cut his teeth at the Atlanta Comedy Theater. “It’s like the mecca of black comedy,” with a legacy that includes Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx and the Wayans brothers. “They started one in Atlanta in 1990 and that’s the first professional club I went to,” before moving to Los Angeles.