Tribeca Talks 2016 with Chris Rock and J.J. Abrams. Photo by: Tribeca / YouTube
Tribeca Talks 2016 with Chris Rock and J.J. Abrams. Photo by: Tribeca / YouTube

Einstein & Abrams Talk Film

The first Tribeca Talks: Director’s Series conversation with Chris Rock and J.J. Abrams was held at John Zuccotti Theater within BMCC on Monday, April 18.

Two of the best directors from the past two years meet on stage to review how they put together cinema and art. Rock’s humor creates a partial standup with the live audience. When Chris Rock mentions several times that J.J. Abrams is good at casting, it actually is very true.


Imagine how many speakers have been asked to speak at Tribeca or other live events with music and film. I’ve watch them live in person, and via online. This was the first time I noticed that J.J. Abrams, a director, using his ability to cast people, to invite Chris Rock to speak live on stage.

Abrams even notes the level of verbal depth when talking with Rock on stage.

“First of all, I want to thank all of you guys for being here, and I want to thank Chris Rock for being here. No, I have to say it. Hold on, I have to say it. The Tribeca Film Festival, and thank you to everyone there too, was kind enough to ask if I would do an Q & A, and I called Chris and asked him to do it, which is a little bit like having the best science teacher at a local school ask Einstein to interview him.” – J.J. Abrams 

The two worked through both of their colorful careers with the laughter filling the room in New York. It was soulful laughter in the room. Even when Rock would verbally jab J.J. it didn’t feel like it was projected from a negative place, but rather a commentary-based view on the film industry.

Abrams knew Rock’s humor, and played off it like Einstein’s best friends. After Rock has shown signs of becoming dull with media, it was a brilliant move by Abrams to tap into the depth in Rock’s interviews, in addition to his standup background in New York, this conversation makes for one of the best interviews I have ever seen in my life. As an entertainment journalist, I found it extremely interesting. If we could have these minds focus on world issues, I see that their conversation being more fulfilling than all of the debates in this presidential election run.

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Matthew McGuire is the founder and editor of Crescent Vale News. In 2014, he acquired a master's degree in Professional Media and Media Management from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.