Last year’s Oscars were the most dramatic in recent memory, and the fallout is still being felt. Only a week ago, Chris Rock’s live comedy special – the first time he spoke at length about the moment Will Smith slapped him onstage – broke records for Netflix.
Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel didn’t resist sprinkling jokes about last year’s infamous conflict between Will Smith and Chris Rock. Smith slapped host Chris Rock live on-stage after the comedian joked about his wife.
“If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year — nothing,”
the comedian said during his monologue, referencing Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on stage at the 94th Academy Awards in 2022.
While Rock was presenting the award for best documentary, he made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, shaving her head — which she did due to alopecia. After Rock compared her to “G.I. Jane,” Smith walked on stage, slapped Rock and then returned to his seat.
Kimmel added that the Oscars now has a crisis management team, and wondered what they might do in the event of violence, suggesting: “Just do what you did last year – nothing. Sit there and do absolutely nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.”
He finished by saying that if someone felt tempted to get onstage and slap him, they would have the celebrity audience to contend with.
“You’re going to have to get through the heavyweight champ, Adonis Creed, you’re going to have to battle with Michelle Yeoh before you get to me … you’re going to have to tangle with Spider-Man, you’re going to have to tangle with Fabelman, and then you’re going to have to go through my right-hand man Guillermo if you want to get up to this stage.”
The camera cut away from director Guillermo del Toro to “the other Guillermo”, Kimmel’s late-night TV show sideskick.
“I know he’s cute, but if you even so much as wave at me he’ll beat the Lydia Tár out of you,” Kimmel joked, before concluding his monologue and starting the ceremony.