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An Evening with Chris Tucker

If you weren’t already an adoring fan of comedian/actor/globetrotting humanitarian Chris Tucker prior to attending ‘An Evening with Chris Tucker’, then you certainly were a converted admirer afterwards. On Monday night, in celebration of Black History Month, TD, CFC and Clement Virgo (who was sadly not present, as he was overseas filming the much anticipated adaptation of beloved novel ‘The Book of Negroes’) presented a sold-out, yet intimate Q&A at the Varsity theatre, hosted by the lovely Garvia Bailey (formerly of CBC radio).

Bailey pointed out that her daughter spends whole days watching the Tucker-starring Rush Hour movies, yet it was she who represented the appreciative fan collective as she initially stammered nervously over her carefully researched questions. “You’re a lot taller and more well proportioned than I imagined,” she gushed sweetly, and from then on Tucker, and the audience, was putty in her hands.

With questions spanning the breadth of his cinematic career thus far, Tucker regaled the awestruck crowd with his recollections of filming the various movies, including cult favorite The Fifth Element. In fact, Bailey emphasized questions about Tucker’s flamboyant Ruby Rhod character. The reason that she did so was because The Fifth Element was what her Facebook friends begged her to ask about. With that, Tucker bolted out of his seat and sashayed across the stage in full Ruby mode, even spouting lines of dialogue from the movie (to the rapturous applause of the audience of course).

Tucker’s oft-repeated line from the original Rush Hour movie, “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” was, interestingly, added after his and co-star Jackie Chan’s disastrous initial meeting. Chan was wordless the entire time, so the second time they met up pre-filming Tucker uttered those famous words, and the rest is blockbuster history. Now steadfast friends, Tucker once asked Chan what advice he could impart on him. “I thought Jackie would share some deep ancient Chinese secrets, but he taught me nothing like that.”

In terms of advice he would give aspiring actors, Tucker thoughtfully and wisely said to “…always be curious, always strive to be better, be spiritual, and keep evolving in work and life.”

Garvia Bailey ended the evening with a moving presentation to Tucker of an original piece of art (made entirely out of Lego pieces) to commemorate TD’s Then and Now series, made by a notable local African-Canadian artist.

It’s a shame that Chris Tucker is so choosy with his roles and his movies are few and far between (Silver Linings Playbook was his only cinematic appearance in the last seven years). After this illustrious evening, we were all hungering for more Tucker.

Leora Heilbronn

Leora Heilbronn is a Toronto based film aficionado who has a weakness for musicals and violent action flicks. She can often be spotted reading a wide range of literature or listening to show tunes.