The comedian finally broke his silence on getting slapped by Will Smith during his Netflix stand-up special, Chris Rock: Selective Outrage.
Chris Rock talked a lot about the 2022 Academy Awards during his live Netflix comedy special. He said that words hurt, adding, "Anybody that says words hurt has never been punched in the face."
Afterwards, Will Smith claimed his actions were the result of bottled wrath. Since the actor was allowed to go to the ceremony and later won his first Oscar for Best Actor, the fight became a cultural flashpoint for talking about how Americans tend to be violent without much reason.
Rock was lauded for keeping his cool in the wake of the incident. Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, the first live comedy event on the streaming service, covered a wide range of topics, including politics, Meghan Markle, and woke culture.
Rock made reference to the argument between Smith and him and remarked, "I'm going to try to do the show without offending anyone. Because you never know who might get triggered."
America "is so screwed up right now that if the Russians came here right now, half the country would go, 'let's hear them out,' he continued later.
But he saved the best for last and addressed the issue with Will Smith during the show's closing seconds. "People are like, 'Did it hurt?' It still hurts! I got Summertime ringing in my ears," Rock mentioned Smith's 1991 song in his comment.
Rock boasted, "I took that hit like Manny Pacquiao," to applause from the audience.
Rock said, in reference to the title of the show, that he thinks Smith has "selective anger" and that he thinks the slap was more about the problems in their marriage than about his Oscar joke. The couple has been open about their relationship's ups and downs, even going so far as to openly discuss them on Jada's Facebook Watch program, Red Table Talk.
"We've all been cheated on; everybody in here has been cheated on; none of us has ever been interviewed on television by the person that cheated on us," Rock joked. The comedian continued by saying that Jada had hurt Smith far more than the actor had.
When Rock finally talked about what was going on, social media lit up with comments, many of which pointed out that comedians like Rock often laugh through their pain. Some thought the comedian went too far when he made jokes about supporting the slave owners in Will Smith's most recent movie, Emancipation.
As he ended the show with a mic drop, Rock talked about why he chose not to respond in kind. He stated, "I got parents! Because I was raised! And you know what my parents taught me? Don't fight in front of white people."
Chris Rock: Selective Outrage is currently streaming on Netflix.