Chris Rock Addresses the Oscar-Night Slap in Netflix Stand-Up Special

Nearly one year after the Oscar-night slap heard ’round the world, comedian Chris Rock finally let loose with his thoughts about the incident Saturday in a stand-up special at Baltimore’s Hippodrome Theatre.[0] Rock’s new comedy special, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage—Netflix’s first-ever global live streaming event—addressed “the slap” in profane and emphatic terms.[1]

The incident in question happened at the 2022 Oscars, when actor Will Smith walked up to the stage and slapped Rock, the telecast’s host, for telling a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.[0] It was an incident that led to a never-ending debate about the state of Will’s career, the Academy’s reaction to the situation, Will and Jada’s marriage, Rock’s standing in the Black community, and his tendency to make Black women the butt of his jokes.[2]

After months of relative silence on the matter, Rock addressed it during his show in no uncertain terms. “I got parents! Because I was raised! And you know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of white people,” he said.[3] He added that he’s not a victim and that he took the hit like Manny Pacquiao, and concluded with a joke about Smith’s role in the movie Ali: “Will Smith played Muhammad Ali in a movie. Do 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. S*** even in animation this motherf****** [is] bigger: I'm a zebra, he's a shark.”[4]

Rock also spoke of the media’s reaction to Smith’s outburst, saying, “Everybody called him a b—-, and who’s he hit? Me! [Someone] he knows he can beat.”[5]

Smith subsequently apologized on multiple occasions over the incident, and resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who then issued him a 10-year ban from the Oscars.[6]

The comedian wrapped it up with a joke: “They say, ‘words hurt.[7]

0. “During live comedy set, Chris Rock finally lets loose on Oscars slap” The Washington Post, 5 Mar. 2023,

1. “Everything Chris Rock Has Said About the Slap Since the 2022 Oscars” Vanity Fair, 3 Mar. 2023,

2. “For Better or Worse, Chris Rock Finally Talks About ‘the Slap'” The Root, 5 Mar. 2023,

3. “Chris Rock jokes about Will Smith's Oscars slap in Netflix show – ‘Did it hurt? It still hurts!'” BBC, 5 Mar. 2023,

4. “‘It still hurts’: Chris Rock speaks about Will Smith slap for first time” The Guardian, 5 Mar. 2023,

5. “Netflix's ‘Chris Rock: Selective Outrage' Reveals A Lot Of Anger For Will Smith” LAist, 5 Mar. 2023,

6. “Chris Rock Skewers Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Entanglement Drama: ‘She Hurt Him Way More Than He Hurt Me'” Yahoo Entertainment, 5 Mar. 2023,

7. “Chris Rock Finally Addresses Will Smith's Slap at The Oscars” TMZ, 5 Mar. 2023,

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