We are nearing a year since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage at the 2022 Academy Awards. The famed comedian graced the stage for an historic Netflix live special to speak on the infamous moment.
Rock, 58, performed his 68-minute standup comedy special, Selective Outrage, at the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore Saturday night (March 4). It was Netflix’s first-ever live-streamed comedy event.
Ten of those minutes were dedicated to addressing the unforgettable slap; Rock teetered around the topic until the final minutes of the show.
“I’m going to try to do a show tonight without offending nobody,” Rock said in the opening. “I’m going to try my best, because you never know who might get triggered. People always say words hurt…anybody who says words hurt has never been punched in the face.”
Rock joked about Snoop Dogg’s frequent commercial appearances, saying, “I can't go dissing Snoop. The last thing I need is another mad rapper."
He finally addressed the topic directly following a joke about another rapper.
"People are like, 'Did it hurt?' It still hurts! I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears!" he said. "But I'm not a victim, baby. You will never see me on Oprah, Gayle, crying."
He told the audience that he has always loved Smith.
“I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life … now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whupped.”
Rock talked about the size difference of the two, comparing their movie roles as evidence of the disadvantage.
"Will Smith is significantly bigger than me. He does movies with his shirt off!” Rock said. “You've never seen me do a movie with my shirt off. If I'm in a movie getting open heart surgery, I got on a sweater. Will Smith played Muhammed Ali in a movie! You think I auditioned for that part? I played Pookie in New Jack City…even in animation, he's bigger: I'm a zebra, he's a shark."
He also addressed Smith’s outrage about the joke he made at the Oscars, where the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, saying, “Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it.” The joke sent Smith marching to the stage to smack Rock. Jada has been open about her struggles with alopecia, which could’ve been why she had a close-shaved head.
To finish the show, Rock addressed why he didn’t hit Smith back: "A lot of people go, 'Chris, how come you didn't do nothing back?' Because I've got parents! That's why. Because I was raised. You know what my parents taught me? Don't fight in front of white people!"
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