Chris Rock finally addressed the Oscars slap and made Netflix history on Saturday, with the platform’s first live global streaming event.
“I’m going to try to do a show tonight without offending nobody. I’m going to try my best, because you never know who might get triggered,” Rock said as he opened his set from Baltimore. “People always say words hurt … anybody who says words hurt has never been punched in the face.”
After that quick apparent reference to Will Smith slapping him on stage at last year’s Academy Awards, Rock saved his jokes about the incident until the last ten minutes of the show.
“You all know what happened to me, getting smacked by Shug Smith,” Rock said. “It still hurts. I got ‘Summertime’ ringing in my ears. But I’m not a victim, baby. You’ll never see me on Oprah or Gayle crying … I took that hit like Pacquiao.”
Rock suggested Smith’s response to his Oscars joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was more about their relationship than him.
“I love Will Smith, my whole life,” Rock said. “I have rooted for Will Smith my whole life … now I watch ‘Emancipation’ just to see him get whooped.”
Smith plays an enslaved man in the period drama, “Emancipation.”
“‘How come you didn’t do nothing back that night?’” Rock said people have asked him. “Because I got parents. You know what my parents taught me? Don’t fight in front of White people.”
Titled “Chris Rock: Selective Outrage,” the comedian hit on a wide range of topics in the first 50 minutes of the special, including addiction, abortion, racism in America, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, the Kardashian family and “wokeness.”
“I have no problem with the wokeness. I have no problem with it at all. I’m all for social justice. I’m all for marginalized people getting their rights. The thing I have a problem with is the selective outrage,” Rock said. “You know what i’m talking about. One person does something, they get canceled. Somebody else does the exact same thing, nothing. You know what I’m talking about … the kind of people who play Michael Jackson songs but won’t play R. Kelly. Same crime, one of them just has better songs.”
Tackling the country’s division, Rock said, “America is in horrible shape right now.”
“We got it worse than Ukraine. Yeah, I said it. You know why? Because Ukraine is united and America is clearly divided,” Rock joked. “If the Russians came here right now, half the country would say, ‘Let’s hear them out.’ We’re in a bad place right now.”
Rock also delved into his romantic life, saying when he noticed his pillow cases were dirty, he realized how much women do for men.
“I’m trying to date women my age, which is 10 to 15 years younger than me,” he said. “Don’t hate the player, hate the game. I didn’t get rich and stay in shape to talk about Anita Baker. I’m trying to f— Doja Cat.”
The performance was Rock’s sixth standup special and his second for Netflix after 2018’s “Tamborine,” directed by Bo Burnham.
A pre-show event kicked off with comedian Ronny Chieng live from Los Angeles, where he told the crowd, “We could have pretaped this whole thing and nobody would have cared, but we are doing this for a noble cause: To finally try to kill off traditional TV and put it out of its misery. In fact, if you listen hard you can hear Baby Boomers canceling the last cable subscription packages.”
There was also a post-show special with comedians Arsenio Hall, Dana Carvey, David Spade, Yvone Orji and more.