He’s back for more laughs
Before he hit the big screen in films like “Friday’’ and the “Rush Hour’’ franchise with Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker was a stand-up comic. The Atlanta native took a break from the entertainment biz for the past few years but the mirthful motormouth recently decided to return to the stage, which brings him to the Citi Wang Theatre tonight at 7:30. Tickets are $45.50-$75.50 at 800-432-7250 and www.telecharge.com.
Q. Welcome back! Where’ve you been?
A. Thank you. I take little breaks just to rejuvenate. I just like to live a little bit and then come back and do my thing. I wanted to go back to the stage because I started out doing stand-up comedy, and that’s where all my movie stuff came from.
Q. It seems like taking time to live your life is a necessity if you want to develop new material.
A. Yeah, you’ve got to. I started really young and when I first started it was just about being young and growing up in my parents’ house, and now I’ve got 20 years worth of material to talk about.
Q. As you develop your act, are you finding that your celebrity is where you’re drawing material from now?
A. It’s a part of my show. I talk about working with different people I’ve worked with in the movies. I talk about my personal life, how it is now, how it was and stuff like that.
Q. Do you have to give Jackie the heads-up that you’ll be talking about him in your act?
A. No, I just talk about him [laughs]. He’s my friend, so he don’t care. And he’ll never hear about it; he’s always in China. I’ll say, “Man, I didn’t say that!’’ [Impersonating Chan] “I heard you say I don’t know karate!’’ “Why would I say that? I’m your friend!’’
Q. Since you’ve been away for several years, there are people who are connected to your life who have been in the news. That may be good for your act, but is it hard when people start asking you about, say, your “Money Talks’’ costar Charlie Sheen?
A. Charlie’s a good friend of mine, but I haven’t talked to him in years, but he’s a great guy. One thing about me, I’m loyal. If you’re my friend, you’re my friend. I don’t dog you out.
Q. Michael Jackson was also a friend, so I’m sure that his death was tough for you. Is he somebody that’s off-limits when it comes to your act?
A. No, I talk about meeting Michael and how much I admired him and him befriending me. He was such a great person. I do talk about that. If you like my movies, you’re going to love my show because it’s all me, there’s no edit, it’s real life, my life. It’s a lot of fun. I talk about everything.
Q. Returning to stand-up is probably like riding a bike for you, but it’s a bike with complex timing. Do you still get nervous?
A. Yeah, it’s good nervous, though. You want to give a good show. You want to have the right energy because you’re getting in front of so many people. But once you start, that’s when everything kicks in and you get rolling.
Q. Now that you’re back on the road, what are you realizing you missed the most?
A. Oh, man, I miss the fans, that immediate response. They’re yelling out the movies that you’ve done, and they yell out, “I love you!’’ You’ll see people in passing and they’ll say, “We love your movies, we miss you!’’ And you say thank you. But when you get on that stage and they’re laughing with you and they’re supporting you, you really feel like you’ve got some real fans.
Q. Even though you probably travel in a more first-class fashion these days on the road, is there anything that you’re finding that you didn’t miss?
A. Yeah, I carry a lot of bags [laughs]. But I got help now.
Q. Will there be a “Rush Hour 4’’?
A. I don’t think so. Where my head’s at now is to do some new stuff. I think my fans deserve it.
Q. Who makes you laugh these days?
A. Oh, man, I don’t know. I make myself laugh a lot [laughs].
Interview has been edited and condensed. Sarah Rodman can be reached at email@example.com.