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Comedy, Lil Penny & The Life of Chris Rock

Chris Rock in my mind is the greatest standup comedian of all time. He has been on top of the comedy world for decades now. In honor of his birthday, learn more about the life of Chris Rock.

The Rock

Chris Rock was born on February 7, 1965. He would be raised in Brooklyn, New York. Rock’s humor is raw and often observational. Those observations focus often on race. As a child growing up, Rock faced racism and hatred on a day to day basis. Rock would be bused to a predominantly white school, and he was verbally and physically abused practically daily. This would shape much of his comedy in later years.

chris rock


Rock started performing standup comedy in New York at a very young age. He first discovered by his hero, and comedy god, Eddie Murphy. Murphy would give Rock his first film role in 1987’s Beverly Hills Cop II. Rock would continue to raise his profile via standup comedy and small film roles. In 1990 he would get his biggest break yet when he was added to the cast of Saturday Night Live. He would start at the sketch comedy institution with other young stars like Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and David Spade. His time on Saturday Night Live was not as successful as anticipated. When he left the show, he was still trying to find his place in the comedy world.

chris rock snl

Bring The Pain

His second comedy special for HBO would be the one that would launch him into superstardom, Bring The Pain (1996). The album tackled tough issues like men and women relationships, race relations and politics. Bring The Pain was a gigantic hit and it solidified Rock as a comedy superstar.

Lil Penny & Nike

Anfernee Penny Hardaway was undoubtedly an exciting and likeable basketball player. Nike had invested a lot of time and energy into creating the perfect signature shoe for Hardaway. One of the things that made Penny such a valuable player was how unselfish he was. Penny did not have a big personality that was constantly on display. That was not who he was as a player, or a person. Nike needed to find a way to market Penny, since it was not something he would be interested in doing.

chris rock Bring The Pain


Lil Penny debuted in 1995. The Lil Penny puppet served as an alter ego for Penny Hardaway. Lil Penny could demonstrate the bravado and ego the real Penny Hardaway did not feel comfortable sharing. Lil Penny was born out of necessity, and he was an instant hit in the pop culture world. The ad campaign is one of Nike’s most successful.

Energy & Bravado

Chris Rock would serve as the voice of Lil Penny. Rock voiced Lil Penny in the commercials. Rock brought an energy and magic to the Lil Penny puppet that was irreplaceable. Rock’s presence and bravado fueled delivery was the perfect compliment to Penny’s relaxed persona.

chris rock Lil Penny


Chris Rock is without question one of the biggest names in comedy of all time. His raw and honest humor has connected with audiences across the globe. His genius as a standup has led to acting roles and hosting duties, including hosting the Academy Awards twice. It will be exciting to see what Chris Rock next.


- Adam C. Better