It was only a matter of time before Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars would be brought up by 2023 host Jimmy Kimmel.
During his opening monologue, the late night host addressed the moment head-on, reminding the crowd of the Academy’s new crisis team and mocking how last year’s events — including Smith accepting his Oscar to a standing ovation, post slap — went down.
“We want you to have fun. We want you to feel safe. And most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place,” Kimmel told the audience. “If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and be permitted to give an 18-minute long speech.”
“Seriously, the Academy has a crisis team in place,” he added. “If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year – nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”
While presenting during last year’s ceremony, Rock was slapped by the Emancipation actor following a joke made at wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense. Last week, the stand-up addressed the situation directly in new Netflix special, Selective Outrage.
“Everybody that really knows knows I had nothing to do with that sh*t. I didn’t have any entanglements,” said Rock. “Everybody knows his wife was f**king her son’s friend. I normally would not talk about this sh*t, but for some reason these ni**as put that sh*t on the internet.” He continued, referring to the infamous Red Table Talk episode where the couple spoke about Pinkett Smith’s relationship with Alsina.
“She hurt him way more than he hurt me […] Everybody in the world called him a b***h. Everybody! And who does he hit? Me. A n***a he knows he could beat. That’s some b***h-a** s**t.”