Chris Rock on changing his humor for 'Fargo' Season 4 and the 'surreal' 'SNL' with Eddie Murphy

Kelly Lawler
Chris Rock of 'Fargo' speaks during the FX segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Tour.

PASADENA, Calif.  – Chris Rock is stretching his comedic chops into a new decade. 

The comedian stars in the fourth season of FX's anthology series "Fargo" (due April 19), and it's a new kind of dark humor for him. 

"'Fargo' is funny like a Scorsese movie," he told reporters at the Television Critics Association Thursday. "It’s not Jim Carrey like, 'Ah, I'm gonna be funny right now.' It’s always within the character and within the story. So that’s something I always have to pay attention to," he said. "The challenge is getting the part down, but getting a little of my personality in there."

When asked if there's anything from the new season of "Fargo," about warring gangs in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1950, that would come up in his comedy routines, he had a cheeky response. 

"I’ve obviously talked about race," he said. "Racism’s been very good to me."

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Rock plays a crime boss trying to take over the city from a rival Italian gang, and even halfway through filming the new season, he's still a little unsure about the character. 

"I still haven’t figured him out yet."  

Although he's known for improvising in his films, Rock had to stick to creator Noah Hawley's script.

"You can’t improvise that much" in a period drama. "Your Jussie Smollett joke isn’t going to work."

The comedian also reflected on his recent appearance on "Saturday Night Live" to honor Eddie Murphy, who returned to host the sketch comedy program Dec. 21 after a long absence. 

"It was surreal," Rock said of the experience. "I was a kid, I was probably 14, 15 watching Eddie Murphy on 'SNL,' not even wishing to be him, just being like, wow, so enamored, like he was a superhero to me. Being with him on 'SNL' was unbelievable."

Even though they're now comedic peers, Rock still sees Murphy as an idol.  

"I’ve known Eddie almost 30 years. Only in like the last two or three years have I actually gotten a little comfortable around him."