'The Sopranos,' 'Larry Sanders' & more: 20 great shows from 40 years of HBO
Great dramas, comedies, concert specials and more illustrate the pay cable channel's sweep
"Chris Rock: Bring the Pain" (1996)
Rock had first appeared on HBO nearly a decade earlier, as a 22-year-old young comedian in the Eddie Murphy-produced "Uptown Comedy Express." After that, he knocked around on "SNL" for a bit, was on "In Living Color" for a while, but was in the danger of becoming, as he put it in a later interview, "a has-been" before he even turned 40. So he spent two years preparing for this special by honing his act and going on a national tour before unleashing one of the all-time great comedy sets, highlighted by the routine about the civil war in the black community that got Michael Scott in so much trouble on "The Office." It was an instant classic that reginited Rock's career and led him to get his own terrific late night talk show on HBO.