Late-night TV hosts roast Will Smith after Oscars slap: ‘He’s not here, is he?’
After a shocking and chaotic Oscar Sunday, late-night TV hosts welcomed viewers back to their regularly scheduled programming Monday.
“Unless you’re Chris Rock,” said “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, “because I’m pretty sure he got slapped into next week.”
Colbert was among several comedians who devoted their entire opening monologues to the Academy Awards — which flew off the rails this weekend when nominee (and eventual winner) Will Smith rose from his seat, walked onto the stage and slapped presenter Chris Rock in the face on live TV.
“‘CODA’ won best picture, and that’s pretty much what everybody’s talking about,” joked “Late Late Show” host James Corden. “I didn’t see anything else happen, did you?”
Everything we know about the infamous moment at the 2022 Oscars, from the history leading up to the onstage shocker to today’s latest developments.
“Remember a few years ago when the Oscars literally announced the wrong winner for best picture?” said “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon. “Turns out that was child’s play. ... Everyone in the audience looked shocked, and for once it wasn’t from the Botox. Seriously, you know it was a strange awards show when it ends with a statement from the LAPD.”
In the unlikely event anyone missed what will probably go down in history as the buzziest Oscars moment of all time, each comic offered a variation of this recap: While presenting the award for documentary feature, Rock made a joke about actor Jada Pinkett Smith, comparing her shaved head to Demi Moore’s hairstyle in the 1997 film “G.I. Jane.”
In an effort to defend his wife — who has a hair-loss condition called alopecia — Smith rushed the stage, struck Rock, returned to his seat and twice yelled, “Keep my wife’s name out your f— mouth!”
Smith spent his remarkable 30-year career building toward Sunday’s Oscars triumph. With a single, impulsive act, he turned it into a moment of shame.
(Smith was nominated for his lead performance in “King Richard” as the titular father of tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, who were also in the audience.)
“Here’s a sentence we will say for the rest of our lives: Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, and life as we know it changed forever,” said “Late Night” correspondent Amber Ruffin.
“I had hoped that it was a bit, but that quickly turned to dust. A dark sadness filled my home and darkness I couldn’t escape. The Oscars lost its magic. ... The couch I was sitting on suddenly felt hard and unwelcoming. My heated blanket went cool. The sweet tea I was enjoying lost all its flavor. The Oscars took everything I thought I knew and flushed it down the toilet. In this new world, could I survive?”
On “The Late Show,” Colbert deemed the violent outburst “the worst thing Will Smith has ever done.”
“Wait, I forgot about ‘Wild Wild West,’” he quipped. “He’s not here, is he? ... I’m kidding, obviously. The worst thing he’s ever done is ‘Gemini Man.’”
Immediately after the slap, a stunned Rock remarked, “Will Smith just smacked the s— out of me,” collected himself and moved on with the show. On Monday, Smith issued a statement apologizing to the “King Richard” team, the Williams family, the Oscars producers and Rock, admitting his behavior was “wrong” and “out of line.”
In the wake of last night’s shocking altercation at the Oscars, the film academy announced it is conducting a review of Will Smith’s actions.
During his acceptance speech for lead actor, Smith also apologized to the academy and his fellow nominees.
“It’s never OK to punch a comedian,” Colbert continued. “Will Smith was offended by the joke and wanted to stand up for his wife — fine. Challenge Chris to a duel or — if you really want to hurt a comedian — don’t laugh. That hurts way more than a punch.”
Multiple late-night hosts praised Rock, their comedy peer, for maintaining his composure after getting assaulted in front of millions of viewers worldwide.
“Chris Rock handled it about as well as you could possibly handle being slapped on stage at the Oscars,” said Jimmy Kimmel on his eponymous program. “He didn’t even flinch when Will slapped him. I would have cried so hard. ... Chris said something like, ‘Well, that was the greatest moment in the history of television,’ and then went right into introducing best documentary as if he hadn’t just been slapped by the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”
Will Smith, in a post, said “my behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable... There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
“I applaud Chris Rock for recovering, keeping the show moving,” echoed Corden. “An incredibly dignified response. I’ll say this: Will Smith can’t take a joke. Chris Rock can take a punch. A steel jaw. Unbelievable.”
(See also: Corden’s clever parody of the popular “Encanto” song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” titled “We Don’t Talk About Jada.”)
During his stand-up set, Kimmel admitted he was “a little bummed” that the slap seems to have surpassed Envelopegate as the wildest Oscars incident of all time. In 2017, Kimmel hosted the ceremony in which “La La Land” was mistakenly crowned best picture over the real winner, “Moonlight.”
“I’ve only now hosted the second-craziest Oscars,” Kimmel said.
“A lot of my friends have been texting me, asking what I would have done if I had been onstage. I would have run, is what I would’ve done. The second I saw Will Smith get up out of his seat, I’d have been halfway to the Wetzel’s Pretzels enjoying the samples in front of the store.”
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