The "Fargo" star says how he processes social situations "are really great for writing jokes -- they’re just not great for one-on-one relationships."
Chris Rock is proving that you're never too old to challenge yourself or be open to learning about yourself. And learning how to swim in his 50s is just one aspect of how he continues to challenge and assess himself.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming star of "Fargo" admitted that he's now going to therapy seven hours a week, dealing with some of the things he'd tried to process through his comedy only to come up short.
"I had this great combination of big ego and low self-esteem," he said of his early career. "And the ego gets you out onstage, but the low self-esteem is the thing that makes you practice so much because you don’t believe in yourself at all."
"You think you’re a total f--king fraud," Rock continued. "You don’t think anybody could love you for being you, so you have to be good at this thing."
He said that decades of fear left him depleted and so at 55 he "had to let it go. I was just dying, dude."
When COVID-19 put the world on a forced pause, shutting down production on the Rock-starring fourth season of "Fargo" with two episodes to go, the comedian took the unexpected downtime to work on himself.
For one thing, he finally decided to learn how to swim, which went -- well, according to Rock, "Do you know how f--king hard it is for a grown-up to learn how to swim? You’ve got to not be scared to die."
But the experience, it turns out, was eye-opening in more ways than just learning how not to drown in his very own pool.
"The other day, this guy says to me, 'OK, you’re going to dive into the deep end and swim to the other side,' and I’m like, 'Are you fucking crazy?'" Rock said. "But then I dove into the deep end and I swam to the other side, and it’s a metaphor for what I’ve been trying to do during this time."
It didn't stop there, though, as Rock took seriously a friend's suggestion that he may have Asperger's to get himself tested. There, he found that he instead has nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD), which means he doesn't pick up on non-verbal cues in communication.
"All I understand are the words," he said, which leads to him taking people more literally than they intended and what he described as an all-or-nothing mentality. "All of those things are really great for writing jokes," he added. "They’re just not great for one-on-one relationships."
Now, he's learning how to work with his limitations and gaining a greater perspective on himself and those around him, just in time to get back out there and continue making his mark on the entertainment industry after a brief pandemic pause.
Filming on "Fargo" has finally wrapped and is slated to air beginning next Sunday, September 27 on FX, with Rock calling it "the best part I’ve ever had."