By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
March 28, 2017
Based out of Los Angeles and Brooklyn, where he was born, comedian and actor Tony Rock says his favorite cities include Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Washington, D.C. But like his elder brother, Chris, he says nothing can replace New York City. “New York is home,” he says. “It’s so unique that there is no other place like it.”
The host of TV One’s game show, “The Game of Dating,” Rock’s previous work includes hosting Russell Simmons’ “All Def Comedy Live” and roles in “Everybody Hates Chris” and “The Redemption of a Dog.”
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I went to a wedding in St. Maarten and we took a boat ride over to Anguilla for a day. We went to a beach that had the whitest sand I had ever seen before in my life. I was in the water up to the middle of my chest and could still see my feet. It was the clearest water. It was very relaxing — beautiful weather, food was delicious, drinks were great and I just said to myself, “This is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen in my life and I’ve got to come back here.”
Q. Are you an adventurous eater?
A. I love to eat. I’m a foodie and when I’m on vacation, I want to be a foodie with their culture, with their foods. (But I’m also) the pickiest eater in the world! But every island I’ve been to, I try to take in some of their flavors — whatever their main dish is. I had a red snapper dinner when I was in St. Maarten and it was incredible! It was like they literally got the fish out the water. You could taste how fresh it was. There’s a difference in eating really fresh food. You can taste it and you can tell that it’s not processed. A red snapper dinner with mango chutney on the side, and I still remember it. I think I’ve got a picture of it on my Instagram.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. Driving with my family to South Carolina every summer from the time I was 5 to about 15. Once school let out every year, my siblings and I would get packed into a station wagon to drive to South Carolina to see my grandparents for summer vacation. If school let out on Friday, we were probably in the station wagon no later than Sunday morning and we would make stops along the way.
Since we were city kids, my parents wanted us to see life outside of the ‘hood, so we would stop in Amish country, take a tour and see how they lived, which was mind-blowing to a kid from the inner-city. The first thing that blows your mind is that there is no electricity and they live comfortably with no electricity, no cellphones, no TVs, no modern-day appliances. What was impressive about that is that when you live like that, it really puts an emphasis on your attachments to your family. You could see how close they are, because there is no alternative entertainment. You have to talk and interact with your family. Then we would go to Virginia, stop again and take in some of the area where they re-enact the Civil War. Then we would go from Virginia to South Carolina, stop on a farm and see how they processed tobacco and see cotton fields and take tours of plantations. And then we would finally end up in South Carolina and stay at my grandparents’ for the summer.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. When I am in Los Angeles, I like to get away to Catalina Island. When I am in New York, I like to go to the Hamptons. Catalina is cool because you can go there, rent a golf cart and just ride around the island. And very few people know this, but they have a very tiny beach. It’s very secluded so you have to really find it. It’s like half a block long. You can go there and rent a cabana and hang out all day. It’s really cool because it’s so close to Los Angeles, but if feels so far away. There are shops and restaurants on a tree-lined street. It looks like a throwback to the old South. You can zip line and there are deer everywhere. You can feed the deer and hang out. In the Hamptons, I’ve been invited a couple times to day parties by Russell Simmons, so it’s like mimosas all day and a bunch of celebrities hobnobbing. It’s like people-watching and just listening to stories. It’s very relaxing and chill.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I’ve never been to Barcelona. I’d love to experience it.
Q. Do you worry about how expensive things can get when you travel?
A. When you’re on vacation, you can’t think about anything being expensive. You’re on vacation! Part of enjoying your vacation is not caring what anything costs. When you go on vacation and you’re like, “I can’t spend this money” or “That’s too much,” you’re not entirely on vacation.
Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. The world is much bigger than Brooklyn. It’s an eye-opening experience to see other lifestyles.
Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?
A. If you’ve been to Jamaica, you know that they are in no rush to do anything! Productivity is not a major importance in Jamaica. Everybody is on their own time because of the massive amounts of marijuana. If you take a taxi, the taxi driver is driving, he’s smoking, he’s in no rush to get you where you have to go! So when you’re in Jamaica, don’t have a set schedule. Just go there and enjoy yourself. And I talked about Jamaica on stage in my comedy set.
Q. Do you like cold-weather destinations?
A. No, I’ve never taken a winter vacation. Growing up in Brooklyn, you don’t really think of winter and cold when you think of vacation. You think of getting away from all of that. I’m not opposed to it. I’ll look into it one day, but right now when I get away, I want to go somewhere where there’s no cold, I don’t need a coat and I can just walk around with no shoes and socks and feel the sand and the wind on my face.
Q. Do you prefer to lay at a beach and relax or keep busy every day?
A. I try to do everything. I go on vacation to really experience a country, so I try to take in some of the culture. I take tours of the islands, whether it’s Aruba or Jamaica. I’ve been to Barbados. I’ve been to the Bahamas. I really like to take a tour of the island and learn some of the history. It’s a lot of interesting history in the Caribbean that people don’t know about as it relates to the slave trade. So I think everybody should really take in some of the culture when they go to an island especially. Then I try to do the catamaran, the zip-lining and maybe a moped ride or some paddle boarding. Then, of course, I want to eat good. And then I’ll end my day just sitting on the beach in a chair relaxing.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. When I travel out of the United States, I research any dangers I should be aware of. I was considering going to Brazil for the Olympics. I have a few friends who box and they were going over, but that was a major concern. Plus, where they built the stadiums in Brazil was right outside of the ‘hood. They had military keeping the people from the ‘hood out of the Olympics area, which they were protesting. I didn’t want to go somewhere where there was a lot of protests and there was a (Zika) virus breakout and I wouldn’t know where to go if something happened. So, I had to pass on that one! I think about going to Dubai sometimes, too, but it is so close to Iran and Iraq. It’s like right there! I haven’t heard anything bad yet, but it’s just so close. If something happens there, they might shut down travel out of Dubai because it’s so close.
Q. What would be your dream/fantasy trip?
A. My fantasy trip would be a private Yacht to the Caribbean.
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. Negril, Melbas, The Perch, Prime 112 and STK.
Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?
A. Dominican Republic was a great trip for Christmas.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. I’ve always enjoyed W hotels. In New York City, I like the Eventi.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I must have my music anywhere in go. I have an extensive collection. My moods change! Sometimes I’m in a 90s R&B mood so I’ll go Bobby Brown, New Edition, Al B. Sure, Guy, Jodeci. And then sometimes I’ll take it further back and I’ll go Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers. Then sometimes, of course, I gotta go Hip Hop with Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas, Future. So my music taste changes. It just depends on my mood. I have a very extensive music catalog so whatever I’m in the mood for, I have it!
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. The beauty of Anguilla is my best vacation memory. The worst memory is the resort I stayed at when I visited the Dominican Republic. It had just opened the day before and we thought, “Oh, this was great! We’re the first ones in! This is going to be amazing.” But, you shouldn’t go to a resort the first day after it opens or the first week after it opens or a month after it opens. Let it stay open for a while. Let them fix all the problems first. Then wait for some Yelp reviews and then you go! It was too new for us to enjoy because literally they were still fixing lighting and some rooms didn’t have furniture in them yet. Like, I’m literally in my suite and they’re knocking on the door to say, “Oh, we didn’t bring the couch in yet.” They weren’t prepared to be open yet.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I must have my music anywhere in go. I have an extensive collection. My moods change! Sometimes I’m in a 90s R&B mood so I’ll go Bobby Brown, New Edition, Al B. Sure, Guy, Jodeci…and then sometimes I’ll take it further back and I’ll go Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers. Then sometimes, of course, I gotta go Hip Hop with Jay-Z, Biggie, Nas, Future, so my music taste changes. It just depends on my mood. I have a very extensive music catalog so whatever I’m in the mood for, I have it!
© 2017 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
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