Everybody Hates Chris: Is the TV Show Inspired by Real People?

Created by Chris Rock and Ali LeRoi, ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ follows the lives of Chris, his mother Rochelle, his father Julius, and siblings Drew and Tonya, a dysfunctional African-American Rock household set in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The loud, boisterous, yet homely narrative doesn’t just emanate laughter and chuckle but also leaves viewers looking between the lines. What makes the series so memorable is its ability to enrapture audiences with its relatable narrative and showcase real elements without sugarcoating realities.

The show is told through the first-person perspective of the main character Chris Rock, making fans curious as to what extent the series mirrors the life of the legendary comedian and entertainer, Chris Rock. While maintaining a penchant for comedy and jokes, the sitcom is widely heralded for tackling racism and class effortlessly. The show embraces the realities that co-exist today while also effortlessly reveling in the quirks and whimsy of any average household. Naturally, viewers wonder whether or not the show is a product of creative liberty or is based on reality. Luckily, we’ve got all the answers you are looking for.

The True Story of Everybody Hates Chris

Yes, ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ is based on a true story. Inspired by the real-life events of comedian, actor and entertainer Chris Rock’s life, the sitcom’s premise is based on the actual lived experiences of the comedian. The show is a semi-autobiographical work inspired by the memories of Chris Rock’s teenage years in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Since the work is loosely based on the life of Chris Rock, it is important to note that there are some discrepancies with Rock’s lived experiences.

Though Rock was born in South Carolina, the television series is based in Brooklyn in the ‘80s. Numerous instances in the four seasons of the show depict the gravity of class, racism money. A blue-collar worker, Chris’ father, Julius Rock, named and based on Rock’s actual father was also a hard worker, who delivered newspapers for the New York Times and kept his children informed about the vitality of money. Not just this, even Chris Rock’s mother was involved in keeping the household tight on money.

In a 1994 standup titled, ‘Big A*s Jokes,’ Chris Rock talked about attending school as the only black boy and how his mother would never splurge on name-brand foods but would instead pick up off-brand foods to save money. While Rock’s father was an ideal reflection of reality, his rolling-pin-wielding mother, Rochelle, wasn’t. In reality, Chris Rock’s mom is named Rose Rock and is a writer and retired teacher.

Another vital element of the story is its element of racism. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, desegregation had become rampant and integration of black students into predominantly white schools had also begun to give way to a syncretic community. However, that did not mean that racism was absolved.

As the only black teenager in a school filled with predominantly white students, Chris Rock had to handle more than people referring to him with the n-word. The character Joey Cruso, who vehemently bullies Chris in the show, is loosely based on the actual bullies of his school. Even his best friend in the series, Greg, a Jewish boy, is based on a real person David Mocowitz (pictured above), who would also get bullied in school. Another character of the show is Rock’s teacher Ms. Morello, who, despite being unreal, as confirmed by Rock’s friend David Mocowitz, is still a reflection of his experiences.

Chris Rock even opened up about a personal exchange with one of his teachers after the show premiered. In an interview with Contact Music, Rock mentioned that he received a letter of apology from one of his teachers at school who apologized for the abuse he had to undergo as a child in school. The series also shows Chris Rock’s younger siblings, Tonya and Drew. In reality, however, Rock had seven siblings and grew up with a lot of people around that may have been difficult to accommodate in the show’s storyline.

Not just this, the show opens in Brooklyn in 1982 when Chris Rock turned 13. However, in reality, the comedian turned 13 in 1978, so naturally, there are major elements of the show embellished by the creators for the enhancement of the storyline. Therefore, despite the fact that ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ is a semi-autobiography of Chris Rock’s lived experiences, there have been definitely places where creators have taken the creative liberty to embellish the narrative.

Read More: Best Sitcoms of All Time