Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Young Rock episode "Working The Gimmick." Read at your own risk!
Young Rock has premiered on NBC, and true to the show's premise, it's giving audiences a look at the crazy life Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had led before he became a wrestling and acting sensation and a dynamite father. The premiere featured a story about the actor's first car he ever got, and the wild time he had with it, but did the television comedy exaggerate the truth of what really went down?
Well, according to this 2013 interview The Rock gave for Fast & Furious, Young Rock didn't exaggerate a whole lot. Check out how Dwayne Johnson told the story to an interviewer back then, which in some ways may have been a little crazier than what the NBC comedy ran with.
I was 15 years old living in Nashville, Tennessee, and I was hanging out in the bars on Broad street. I had no business being down there in bars at 15, hanging out with a buddy of mine. A crackhead came into the bar and asked us if we wanted to buy a car. I said 'For how much?' He said '75 bucks.' I said 'I got 40 bucks, I'll come back and give you the other $35.' So I gave the crackhead 40 bucks and he gave me the keys to a 79 Thunderbird, and I drove away...As I was driving down the road me and my buddy we heard some noise in the back and we look back and there was another crackhead passed out on the floor! So we pull over and are like 'You gotta get out.'...But the joke was on me actually because he didn't give me the gas key so I couldn't put gas in it. It was probably stolen anyway, so I trashed it at a Burger King.
Young Rock fans may have already picked up on some of the differences between the two stories. For example, Dwayne and his buddy Gabe met the "crackhead" (who was never explicitly referred to as such) while working their job at a pizza shop. The episode also had Dwayne pay $103 for the car, but surprisingly, the most unbelievable part of the story was mostly true. The second guy in the car who woke up while they were driving was real.
And fortunately, the rest of the story in the show was not. In real life, Dwayne and his friend made the second guy get out of the car as soon as possible. In Young Rock, the second guy, called "Waffle", shadowed the two and bought them alcohol for a party. Dwayne had a great night with Waffle until the vagrant died inexplicably in the backseat of the car. Panicked, Dwayne drove the car to a fast food joint and called in an anonymous tip to the police to report the death and ditch the car.
While it could be true that The Rock is more comfortable telling that story and sharing details now than he was in 2013, the part of the episode certainly plays out like a television twist makes me believe that the truth was fudged a bit to make the episode more entertaining. This isn't an uncommon thing, even with stories based on real individuals, so perhaps there's a bit of The Rock "working the gimmick" in real life. In either case, it was certainly a strong start to the series, and I can't wait to see what other wild stories come up if that one was mostly true.
Young Rock airs on NBC Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET. For more on Dwayne Johnson, read more about the actor talking about his father and how his dad's passing had a huge effect on his Hollywood legacy.