Fargo star and upcoming SNL host Chris Rock joined Jimmy Fallon on last night’s Tonight Show to chat about all sorts of things (except the whole blackface controversy, save for a sarcastic “How’s your summer been, Jimmy?!” by Rock at the beginning). The most interesting takeaway from the conversation? Definitely that Rock has a lesser-known skill set as an incredibly good talent scout. Who tried to get Leslie Jones an agent for years then recommended her to Lorne Michaels for SNL? Chris Rock. Who tried to pitch a Wendy Williams talk show to HBO 20 years ago? Chris Rock. Most interestingly, Rock told Fallon about another soon-to-be-superstar talent he recognized early on: Cardi B.
Rock told Fallon that his kids showed him some videos of Cardi several years ago before she had a record out, and he thought she was so funny that he met with Cardi and her team, then tried to pitch a Cardi B comedy series to a network. “She told me about her rap at the time, and I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s good. Anyway, you’re a comedy star.’” Unfortunately, the network where Rock pitched the series wasn’t interested, but he stands by his foresight. “It’s like: Chappelle, Cardi, you know what I mean? Like, in the standings right now, who are the funniest people in the world? Cardi’s right up there!” he told Fallon. “She’s neck and neck with Bill Burr. She’s good, man.”
Rock told Fallon he wasn’t going to name the network, but while telling Naomi Campbell the story on No Filter With Naomi on September 1, he was a little more candid: “I couldn’t get Comedy Central and people to jump on. They just didn’t get it,” he said. “And by the way, I still think Cardi B is the funniest comedian in the world … I haven’t been as funny as Cardi B in years. Cardi B is a comedic genius!”