It was nearly a year ago that Will Smith marched onto the Dolby Theatre stage and smacked the piss out of host Chris Rock in the middle of the Oscars ceremony — all for the crime of making an off-color joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s hairdo. You surely know what happened next: instead of removing him from the venue, the Academy allowed Smith to stay, leading to a surreal, rambling acceptance speech (through tears) when he won the Best Actor Oscar for King Richard later that night. At an after party, an inebriated Smith was captured on video beaming while dancing with the Oscar to his hit “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It.”
While Smith took months to issue a video apology for The Slap, and recently poked fun at it in a TikTok, Rock has remained relatively tight-lipped about the episode, turning down interviews — and an offer to return as host of this year’s Oscars — and saving his response for the stand-up stage. On the evening of March 4, Rock released his new stand-up special Chris Rock: Selective Outrage on Netflix, marking the first time the streamer has aired a live stand-up concert. The show, which took place in Baltimore, Maryland (Jada Pinkett Smith’s hometown, which is surely just a coincidence), contained Rock’s most full-throated response to the slap seen ‘round the world.
Clad in all white, like he just walked off the set of the music video for “I Want It That Way,” the comedian took the stage to a roaring round of applause.
“I’m gonna try to do a show tonight without offending nobody,” he announced, adding, “Because you never know who might get triggered.”
The centerpiece of Rock’s special is the concept of “selective outrage,” or people “canceling” others for certain things while letting people slide for a similar offense, like when people will play Michael Jackson but won’t play R. Kelly because one of them has “better songs.”
After taking on the hypocrisy of “woke” businesses, the attention economy (from a stand-up comic, ironically enough), the white male grievance on display during the Jan. 6 riot, Meghan Markle, the Kardashians, abortion, and how Elon Musk’s body “looks so weird” due to a lack of sperm from getting his dick sucked all the time, Rock addressed the elephant in the room over the course of ten minutes.
“Y’all know what happened to me. Getting smacked by Suge Smith,” he remarked. “Everybody knows. Everybody fuckin’ knows… I got smacked at the Oscars by this motherfucker and people are like, ‘Did it hurt?’ It still hurts! I got ‘Summertime’ ringin’ in my ears!”
“But I’m not a victim, baby. You will never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying. You will never see it,” he said. “It’s never gonna happen. No. Fuck that shit. I took that hit like Pacquiao, motherfucker. I took it like motherfucking Pacquiao, OK? Shit, man. Did it hurt? Yeah, motherfucker. It hurt.”
He continued: “I know you can’t tell on camera: Will Smith is significantly bigger than me. We are not the same size, OK? We are not. Will Smith does movies with his shirt off. You’ve never seen me do a movie with my shirt off. If I’m in the movie getting open heart surgery, I’m in a sweater. Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie! You think I auditioned for that part? He played Muhammad Ali, I played Pookie in New Jack City! I played a piece of corn in Pootie Tang!”
He then accused Smith of practicing “selective outrage” and addressed their viral “entanglements” Red Table Talk interview where Jada Pinkett Smith spoke with her husband about her affair with the singer August Alsina.
“Everybody that really knows knows I had nothing to do with that shit. I didn’t have any ‘enganglements.’ I didn’t. I did not have any ‘entanglements,’” he said. “And for people that don’t know… Will Smith’s wife was fucking her son’s friend. Now, I normally would not talk about this shit, but for some reason these n****s put that shit on the internet. I have no idea why two talented people would do something that low-down. What the fuck? We’ve all been cheated on — everybody in here has been cheated on — none of us have been interviewed by the person that cheated on us on television. None of us! ‘Hey, I was sucking somebody else’s dick. How did that make you feel?’”
“Why the fuck would you do that shit?” Rock asked. “She hurt him way more than he hurt me, OK? And by the way, he does that shit and everybody in the world called him a bitch. I tried to call the motherfucker and give him my condolences [but] he didn’t pick up from me,” he said, adding. “Everybody called him a bitch. Everybody. And who’s he hit? Me… That is some bitch-ass shit. That’s what the fuck happened, OK? The fuck outta here, man! I do nothing to this motherfucker.”
Rock then went into the backstory of why the Smiths were angry with Rock — for a joke he made while hosting the 2016 Oscars, which the Smiths boycotted and urged Rock to step down as host.
“Jada said she’s not coming [out of] protest. I was like, ‘Isn’t she on a TV show?’ Jada’s going to boycott the Oscars? Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited!” he joked back then.
“She fucking said, ‘He should quit because Will didn’t get nominated for Concussion.’ What the fuck? So, I did some jokes about it. Who gives a fuck? That’s how it is. She starts it, I finish it, OK?” he said during Selective Outrage. “That’s what the fuck happened. Nobody’s picking on this bitch. She started this shit. Nobody’s picking on her. Nobody was picking on her. She said me, a grown-ass man, should quit his job because her husband didn’t get nominated for Concussion, and then this n***a gives me a fucking concussion, OK? What the fuck, man!”
Rock went on to say, “My whole life I’ve rooted for this motherfucker. And now, I watch Emancipation just to see him get whooped. Got me rooting for Massa, OK? Hit him again, Massa! Hit him again! You missed a spot! A lot of people go, ‘Chris, how come you didn’t do anything back? How come you didn’t do nothing back that night?’ Because I got parents. And you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people!”
He then slammed the mic on the ground, and, with his eyes welling up with tears, took in the adulation from the crowd.
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