Chris Tucker Broods Over IRS Debt at the Fillmore
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."
Soon, 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.
He pleased 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?"
"There's 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!'"
He talked candidly about the financial problems he was facing. Well, as candidly as a world-famous comedian can talk about anything.
"That's 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.
Then 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 company!"
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.
When 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 directions.
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, Chris."
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.
Didn't 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 fact, it's rumored he's in pre-production on a new film right now.
Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.