What happened to Chris Tucker? 

Chris Tucker
Amy Sussman/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

In the early ’90s, a then-unknown Chris Tucker made his debut as a performer on the HBO comedy series Def Comedy Jam. His hilarious stand-up routines earned him praise and he continued to appear on the show throughout its original run from 1992 until 1997. 

Due to his appearances on Def Comedy Jam, Tucker was able to snag a supporting role in the film House Party 3 alongside Kid ‘n Play and Bernie Mac. As he grew in popularity, he scored his breakout role starring with Ice Cube in the stoner comedy Friday, which earned him an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Performance. The film received a positive critical reception and has garnered a large cult following over the years.  

Tucker’s popularity spiked in 1998 when he was cast alongside martial artist and actor Jackie Chan as the foul-mouthed detective James Carter in the iconic comedy Rush Hour. The actors were praised for their compatibility and hilarious partnership. The action-comedy was a massive success and earned them the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Duo. 

The commercial success of Rush Hour led to two sequels, Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3, in 2001 and 2007, respectively. Tucker, of course, chose not to bow out after the monumental success of the first movie and stuck with the movie series. Both films were financial successes but failed to match the critical reception of the first film in the series. For Rush Hour 3, Tucker had signed a deal to be paid $25 million for his role, placing him, at the time, as the highest-paid actor of 2006.

After the success of the Rush Hour series, Tucker took a long hiatus from filming and performing until 2011, when he returned to stand-up comedy. The following year, he was cast in the acclaimed film Silver Linings Playbook alongside Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

Religious views

In an exclusive interview with The Georgia Straight in 2014, Tucker revealed that, due to his Christian religion, he had become much more watchful of his language as well as the content he intended to put out in future stand-up shows. 

“I never was a raunchy, raunchy comic but I didn’t think about what I was saying because I was young. Being a Christian helps me in comedy. I have to talk about other stuff. Normally, most comics talk about easy stuff ⏤ maybe cussing or saying something raunchy. I have to dig deeper to find something that’s still funny and not raunchy. It’s harder. I like the challenge.”

The actor has famously turned down roles due to his religion, most notably with the sequel to the cult classic Friday. Tucker had revealed the reason why he did not return for the sequels during a conversation with All Urban Central in November last year.

“Back then, I gotta tell you, one of the reasons why I didn’t do the second one was because of the weed. I said, man, that movie became a phenomenon. I don’t want everybody smoking weed — and I never really told people this because I kind of forgot about it, but it was one of the reasons why I didn’t do it. Because I said, ‘I don’t wanna represent everybody smoking weed.'”

By December of last year, Ice Cube confirmed in a tweet that Tucker had refused to reprise his role as Smokey in Friday due to religious reasons. 

What is Chris Tucker up to now?

Even though Tucker has been plagued with tax problems in the past decade, he was not forced out of the film or comedy scenes. In 2015, he starred in his very own Netflix stand-up special Chris Tucker: Live. Fans were glad to see his face and hear his jokes again, albeit ones that were less raunchy. In 2019, fans had begun to anticipate the announcement of a fourth Rush Hour film after Tucker posted a photo on Instagram of he and Chan holding up four fingers. However, Jackie Chan’s team quickly released a statement denying his involvement in the film at the time.

Currently, the actor seems to be on another break from the spotlight.