Chris Rock FactsNearly 20 years ago, Chris Rock's popularity skyrocketed. Today, he's still at the top of his game.

After stints on "Saturday Night Live" and "In Living Color" and no film offers in sight, Rock thought he was already washed up. The young comedian went back to the drawing board, toured the country as a stand-up, and the result was "Bring the Pain." The 1996 stand-up special transformed Rock from "that guy" to "the guy" nearly overnight -- but he still never shined on the big screen. By nearly all accounts, though, that's all changed this winter. "Top Five" finds the comedian at the top of his game (no pun intended), a critically acclaimed feature written by, directed by, and starring Rock.

From his famous mentor to his rough school days, here are 21 things you probably don't know about Chris Rock.

1. Chris Rock was born February 7, 1965 in Andrews, South Carolina to Rosalie Tingman and Julius Rock.

2. His mother was a teacher and social worker, while his father was a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman.

3. Rock has three younger brothers, Tony, Kenny, and Jordan.

4. Shortly after his birth, Rock and his family moved to Brooklyn, New York.

5. The future comedian was bused to schools in predominately white neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but he was bullied and beaten up by some students. The beatings got worse with age and his parents removed him from the high school. Rock later earned his GED.

6. Done with school, Rock tried his hand at stand-up. By 1984, he was performing at New York City's Catch a Rising Star. The comedy club helped foster the careers of comedians from Robin Williams and Larry David to Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle.

7. From his performance style to his preparation, Rock's stand-up routine has been influenced by his preacher grandfather, Allen Rock.

8. One tool he took from his grandfather was to only write brief phrases down instead of entire routines. This way, he's constantly talking instead of reading.

9. After earning street cred on the comedy circuit, Rock landed a bit part in the TV series "Miami Vice" in 1987.

10. That same year, he landed his first film role in "Beverly Hills Cop II." Rock was personally cast by Eddie Murphy, who had befriended and mentored the young comedian.

11. Today, he is one of the most revered comedians ever. Comedy Central ranks Rock as the 5th greatest stand-up comedian of all time.

12. In 1990, Rock joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and was a member of the "Bad Boys of SNL" with Chris Farley, Adam Sandler, David Spade, and Rob Schneider.

13. Rock left "SNL" in 1993 to join "In Living Color" only for the latter sketch show to be cancelled months later.

14. Without a steady TV gig and film opportunities sparse, Rock decided to focus again on his stand-up. "Bring the Pain," his second stand-up special, was universally acclaimed and won the comedian two Emmy Awards.

15. That same year, he also won the Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album for "Roll With the New."

16. To date, Rock has earned four Emmy Awards to date, adding one for "The Chris Rock Show" in 1999 and another for his stand-up special "Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger" in 2009.

17. In 2005, the comedian hosted the 77th Academy Awards.

18. At the awards ceremony, Sean Penn famously (and uncomfortably) defended Jude Law after Rock called Law the low-rent Tom Cruise.

19. In 2011, Rock starred in his first Broadway play, "The Motherf***** with the Hat," to positive reviews.

20. As for his personal life, Rock has been married to Malaak Compton-Rock since 1996. The couple has two daughters together: Lola Simone (b. 2002) and Zahra Savannah (b. 2004).

21. Bonus Fact: Rock's great-great-grandfather, Julius Caesar Tingman, was a slave for 21 years and later fought in the American Civil War.

[Sources: IMDb, Wikipedia]

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