Chris Rock addresses Will Smith slap at Oscars in Netflix show

A year after Will Smith smacked him on the Academy Awards stage, Chris Rock finally gave his rebuttal in a forceful stand-up special, streamed live on Netflix, in which the comedian bragged that he “took that hit like Pacquiao”.

he 58-year-old comedian on Saturday night performed his first stand-up special since last year’s Oscars.

Manny Pacquiao, a former boxer from the Philippines, is considered a great in the sport.

Chris Rock: Selective Outrage streamed live from the Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore, marked Netflix’s first foray into live streaming.

Rock, performing in all white and with a Prince medallion around his neck, immediately touched on last year’s Oscars while riffing on “wokeness”, hypersensitivity and what he called “selective outrage”.

“You never know who might get triggered,” said Rock.

“Anybody who says words hurt hasn’t been punched in the face.”

Rock then launched into a series of wide-ranging topics examining contemporary issues, including virtue signalling and high-priced yoga pants.

But an hour into his set, Rock closed the special with a torrent of material about the infamous Academy Awards moment.

“You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Suge Smith. Everybody knows,” Rock said.

“It still hurts. I got Summertime ringing in my ears.”

While Smith has apologised and repeatedly spoken about the incident since last March, Rock has avoided all the usual platforms where celebrities often go to air their feelings.

He never sat down with Oprah Winfrey, and turned away the many media outlets that would have loved to land an exclusive in-depth interview.

“I’m a not a victim, baby,” said Rock.

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“You will never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying. You will never see it. Never going to happen.”

Rock first broke his public silence about the slap three nights after the Oscar ceremony, last year in Boston.

“How was your weekend?” he asked the crowd.

He added that he was “still kind of processing what happened”.

After plenty of processing, Rock retook the cultural spotlight just a week before the March 12 Oscars, where the slap is sure to revisited by this year’s host, Jimmy Kimmel.

In the aftermath of last year’s events, Smith resigned his membership to the film academy.

The academy board of governors banned Smith from the Oscars and all other academy events for a decade.

At the annual luncheon for nominees held last month, motion picture academy president Janet Yang voiced regret about how the incident was handled, calling the academy’s response “inadequate”.

Bill Kramer, the academy’s chief executive, has said the academy has since instituted a crisis communications team to prepare for and more rapidly respond to the unexpected.

Selective Outrage is Rock’s second special for Netflix, following 2018’s Tambourine.

They are part of a two-special 40 million US dollar deal Rock signed with the streamer in 2016.


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