Chris Tucker’s friendship with Michael Jackson is well-documented. A lifelong fan of the Thriller hitmaker, he became close with Jackson after his career took off, sometimes visiting and spending time with him at Jackson’s famous Neverland Ranch.
Before that, Tucker was known for his impressions of the late superstar, notably in 2001’s Rush Hour 2 when he did karaoke to Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” He also had a hilarious joke about Jackson’s “reaction” to that particular performance.
‘Rush Hour 2’ was a big hit
The sequel to 1998’s Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2 is a buddy-cop film that follows mismatched detectives Lee (Jackie Chan) and James Carter (Chris Tucker) as they set out to stop an international crime ring.
Though it wasn’t as successful as its predecessor, it was still an enjoyable movie that cinched several award nominations and ultimately grossed over $300 million against a $90 million budget (via Box Office Mojo).
Chris Tucker performed “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” in ‘Rush Hour 2’
On their journey, Lee and Carter stop at a bar, where a man is putting on a poor rendition of Jackson’s 1979 hit. “What in the world is going on in here?” Carter asks, clearly annoyed. “Am I the only one listening to this? This man’s destroying a classic!”
He grows increasingly irritated with the man’s singing before rushing the stage and taking over, delivering a performance where he attempted some of Jackson’s signature moves — including his iconic high kick. Except Tucker used the wrong leg, kicking with his left instead of his right.
Still, viewers loved it, with some calling it one of the best scenes in Rush Hour 2. For copyright reasons, we can’t include it here. But there are clips of the scene on YouTube.
How Michael Jackson reacted to the ‘Rush Hour 2’ scene, according to Chris Tucker
Tucker quipped about Jackson’s alleged reaction to the Rush Hour 2 scene in The Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration (2001). Taking the stage to introduce Jackson, he spoke about their friendship and joked about a phone call he received after the release of Rush Hour 2.
“Michael called me on the phone. He said, ‘Is this Chris Tucker? … This is Michael Jackson,'” he claimed, mimicking the singer’s soft voice. “I said, ‘What’s up, Mike?’ He said, ‘I just wanna call you and tell you, I seen your movie Rush Hour 2… and you’re kicking with the wrong leg. Stop making me look bad.”
He then welcomed Jackson on to the stage, who performed his 2001 song “You Rock My World.” At the end of the performance, Tucker returned to the stage, joining him in dance. Jackson burst into laughter and fell on the floor as Tucker, once again, kicked with the wrong leg.