In 1990, Rock followed the footsteps of his idol, Eddie Murphy, by joining the cast of Saturday Night Live. A year later, he released his first comedy album, Born Suspect (1991). He also undertook the more dramatic role of playing Pookie, a drug addicted informant, in Mario Van Peebles’ feature New Jack City (1991). After spending three seasons on SNL, Rock left to pursue other career opportunities. In 1993, Rock appeared on FOX’s In Living Color for a handful of episodes prior to the shows cancellation.
1996 marked a turning point in Rock’s career. His talents were recognized by HBO, and the cable network produced a comedy special starring Rock, titled Bring in the Pain. The comedian won two Emmy Awards and wide critical acclaim for the show. In 1997, Rock began hosting his own television show on the HBO Network, The Chris Rock Show, which earned him two CableACE awards. During this high point in his career, Rock also appeared in Sgt. Bilko (1996), Beverly Hills Ninja (1997), and Lethal Weapon 4 (1998). Recent films include Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Bad Company (2002) costarring Anthony Hopkins, and the voice of Marty in DreamWorks’ Madagascar (2005).
Rock also received two Grammy Awards for his spoken comedy albums Roll With the New (1997) and Bigger and Blacker (1999). In 1999, he appeared in the irreverent big-screen comedy Dogma, alongside such hot young stars as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Salma Hayek. He had another big screen role in 2000, playing a hit man in the black comedy Nurse Betty, starring Renee Zellweger.
In 2005, Rock debuted a sitcom on The CW Television Network called Everybody Hates Chris, a spoof on the perennially popular Everybody Loves Raymond. The show was inspired by Rock’s teenage years growing up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of New York City.