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Oprah: You told me that about your last movie!

Chris: But I wrote and directed this one.

Oprah: Between 1998 and 2000 when I was trying to get you on my show, you had pulled way back. I've always appreciated how you explained it: "I'm not doing anything because I'm tired of looking at myself, tired of hearing myself—and I don't want to burn out."

Chris: And I also respect your show. To go on your show means sitting in the same chair that Nelson Mandela sat in, and I don't want to waste the spot.

Oprah: But weren't you pulling back on a lot of things?

Chris: You only have a finite amount of time on television. When that time comes, you should be ready. You can't—

Oprah: Play with that.

Chris: Yes.

Oprah: So you take yourself and your career seriously?

Chris: It's all I've got. Right now, if we opened up the paper and looked in the want ads, the jobs I'd be qualified for would pay minimum wage.

Oprah: What about the jobs you had before you became a successful comedian?

Chris: You know what? I don't remember them all. But I'll tell you this: When someone threw up, I was the guy who had to clean it up. And that was at every place I worked, whether I was a stock boy—

Oprah: Or a Red Lobster busboy.

Chris: Oooh, boy—I couldn't even work at Red Lobster now. I'm allergic to shrimp!

Oprah: Red Lobster brings back such memories. My friends and I would always go there, like after the prom.

Chris: At least you went to the prom! I'm the loser who served you while you were there. No prom for me!

Oprah: So when you first began making money, what did that mean to you?

Chris: In the beginning, it really just meant I could buy more food. I swear to you, I was like, "Wow, I can get two slices now!" When you've been on a ghetto diet your entire life, you're just happy to get a large soda instead of a medium.

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