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Chris Rock was unapologetic on Saturday in his live Netflix special, Selective Outrage, when he addressed last year's Oscars slap that shocked viewers. Utilizing comedy as his weapon of choice, Rock took multiple shots at Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith throughout the hour-long set.
The comedian's most direct response yet to the slap came during his set, where he took several verbal jabs at King Richard actor Jada and pointed out her "entanglement" with August Alsina.
One year after Will Smith's infamous hand gesture at the Oscars, comedian Chris Rock is finally taking aim at his adversary during Selective Outrage, Netflix's first live stand-up special. Released on Saturday, March 4th - marking their first live stand-up special since then - it marks a momentous occasion for the streaming service.
Netflix also used the event to test out their live streaming model. Competitors such as Amazon and Apple TV+ offer ad-free, live sports and news programming, but stand-up is not really "live" in the same sense that broadcast or cable networks are.
Stand-up comedy presents its own set of challenges. It requires extensive audience interaction and often needs to be performed in front of a camera. As such, the show must be delivered with great care and precision.
On Saturday night, Rock's Netflix special, which aired on Saturday night, received mixed reviews. While some critics weren't satisfied with his content or performance, others appreciated how he poked fun at slaps and reminded Hollywood to embrace controversy.
Some, including April Reign (who created the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag in 2015 when Concussion was excluded from awards), criticised Rock's performance on Twitter, saying he compared Pinkett Smith to a b*tch and whether or not he had fully accepted Smith's apology after her slap. They further questioned whether Rock had fully accepted Smith's apology after Smith issued an apology, labelling his jokes "insensitive" and "disgusting".
However, there were a few moments that made me uncomfortable. For instance, Navarro asked why Rock was making jokes about slavery - an issue which should never be touched upon by comedians.
Rock was able to navigate this moment without losing his audience's attention, allowing him to make his point. His comedy was raw and messy as he mispronounced lines, yet he kept the show moving along while making audiences laugh in the process.
Rock's Netflix special has drawn much criticism, yet it remains an intriguing experiment in live stand-up. While it may not be as popular as some of Netflix's other live specials, Rock's performance stands as testament to the power of live comedy.
One year after being humiliated in front of an international television audience at the Oscars, comedian Chris Rock returned the favor in a fiery stand-up special that aired worldwide on Netflix. In an hour-long show streamed live on the service, Rock accused Smith of practicing "selective outrage," as he called it in his special.
Although some may consider Rock's comments overreaching, others have observed a sense of powerlessness. That is particularly pertinent since Rock -- who is Black and has often mocked Jada for her husband Will Smith's apolitical activism in the #OscarsSoWhite movement that saw him excluded from contention for Best Actor in Concussion -- had been held back by rumors for months that he was working on a special about the incident.
Rock's choice to use comedy as a weapon against Smith was an instinctive one. As a stand-up comic, he knows that in these unplanned moments of humor he can hit someone with just the right punchline.
In the first half of his special, Rock addressed topics like Britain's royal family, the Kardashians and abortion. He concluded with an interview about his own life since that night in March when he had to defend it in front of a global audience.
He acknowledged that he has been reflecting on what it might have meant to him to slap Smith that night, and while he isn't satisfied with his acting career since then, he has come to terms with it and now looks forward to the release of his new movie Emancipation this weekend.
It can be challenging to read this book, especially given the central slap incident. Characters are mostly concerned with their own lives, careers and homes but at times themes of race/gender identity politics and history creep in. On one hand this makes for a more captivating narrative as characters become less self-centered or sycophantic.
Chris Rock's joke about Jada Pinkett Smith caused much social media furore. It was an insensitive dig at the actress' bald head, and she took it personally, storming the stage and slapping Rock in the face.
However, there was also a hilariously honest moment that revealed the darker side of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's marriage. Just weeks before Will slapped Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars, Jada was open about her extramarital involvement with R&B singer August Alsina on her show Red Table Talk.
It was a relationship that caused much controversy when they first met at Wire Festival in London in 2015, where The Smiths' kids -- Willow and Jaden -- were performing.
The scandalous entanglement between Jennifer Aniston and her husband, Will Smith, caused much media coverage about their unconventional relationship. To make matters even more confusing for everyone involved, both parties chose not to disclose details of their arrangement.
Eventually, Will and Jada parted ways and began dating again. Although it was a distance relationship, the couple remained together in an affectionate and committed bond.
Last year, Jada revealed her affair with Alsina to the world. She claimed they had been involved while still married and went on several radio shows where they openly discussed the relationship - one of which even featured Will in attendance!
He wasn't able to deny they had an affair while married, but it wasn't anything close to a romantic one. In fact, he referred to it as a "life partnership" instead of an affair - meaning there wasn't any romantic involvement at all.
Will and Jada were not alone in taking aim at their relationship. August Alsina, who met Jada when she was 23 and had an affair with her in 2020, has now shared a video of himself singing the new song "Shake the Word."
This sensual track contains many references to their affair. Essentially, the song tells a narrative of how they began and ended their relationship.
One year after Will Smith slapped him onstage during the 94th Academy Awards, Chris Rock finally addressed the incident in his live Netflix comedy special. Using the occasion to deliver some cutting jokes about both Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Rock used both men as targets during his hour-long show.
Smith's slap during the Oscars ceremony was widely viewed as an act of "selective outrage," leading him to resign from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and forbid him from attending any future Academy events for 10 years.
Smith and his wife had been happily married for many years, but their bond was tested after the slap. Since then, they've spoken candidly about the incident on Jada's Red Table Talk show and both expressed their support of each other.
In his stand-up comedy special, which was shot in Baltimore and streamed live on Netflix, Rock attacked Smith and Pinkett Smith with insensitive jokes about their marriage. In fact, Rock accused Pinkett Smith of being the reason her husband hit him in the first place!
He referenced her own past admission of having an "entanglement" with another man while married, noting that the slap had more to do with their ongoing relationship struggles than just his Oscars joke.
Though some may disagree with his jokes, Rock did an admirable job of addressing this delicate topic. He drew upon his own experiences to explain why he didn't fight back and even brought up Smith's relationship with Jada Pinkett Smith in an emotional mic drop moment at the end of the special.
Rock's willingness to tackle controversy head-on in front of his fans speaks volumes for how he handles it. The comedian has spent months prepping for this moment and honing his material for the show.
On his show, Rock avoided directly discussing his encounter with Smith and instead focused on other topics like Britain's royal family and the Kardashians.
The duchess, for her part, chose not to participate in the entire special. Additionally, she declined an interview with Entertainment Weekly but her Twitter account is filled with critical tweets about Rock.