Chris Tucker likes it when people appreciate his work. In an interview with PEOPLE, the 52-year-old actor and comedian talked about his long career, taking a break from Hollywood, and being called a “legend” (he’s currently touring with his stand-up comedy show, The Legend Tour, across America).
“It feels good,” he said about being called a legend. “Usually, it’s younger people who say those things. They come up to me and say, ‘Man, you’re a legend.’ Or people my age say, ‘Man, you’re legendary.’ It goes in one ear and out the other, but you accept it and appreciate it because people appreciate what you’ve done. It’s great.”
Chris Tucker is most famous for playing Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour movies. The first one came out in 1998, and then there were Rush Hour 2 and Rush Hour 3. He also starred in the 1997 sci-fi film The Fifth Element and had roles in movies like Money Talks and Jackie Brown in 1997.
In the 1990s, he became well-known on Russell Simmons’ HBO series Def Comedy Jam and got famous for his role in the 1995 film Friday with Ice Cube.
By 2006, Chris Tucker had started the Chris Tucker Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps young people and families with various programs.
After a seven-year break from Hollywood, Tucker came back in 2023 with the Nike drama AIR, where he played Howard White, the vice president of the Jordan Brand.
Tucker tells PEOPLE that he took a break because he was waiting for the right role. Even though his character wasn’t in the original script, he was asked to play Howard White, who he also considers a friend.
“It wasn’t even in the script,” Tucker said. “Ben [Affleck] came to me and said, ‘It’s not really a part there, but you can do whatever you want to do, and we’ll write something in there.’ Thank God I knew Howard, so I was able to do a lot of research and get a lot of stuff, and I wrote all my parts in that movie … I wrote all six scenes.”
Tucker likes doing improv and writing his own lines in his movies. Now, he’s enjoying being called a legend and is excited about his comedy tour, The Legend Tour, happening in 30 cities across the U.S. this fall.
He thinks some Hollywood names are legends too, like Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, the Wayans family, Robert Townsend, and Rich Hall. He also adds Michael Jackson, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston to the list.
Tucker emphasizes the importance of balancing public and personal life by “making time for yourself.” He’s looking forward to what comes next in his career.
“I think the best is yet to come,” he said. “Greater work is yet to come, and I’m just excited about the future.”