Is Chris Rock Trying to Reignite "The Slap" Controversy?
The location choice for the comedian's new standup special might not be as random as it seems.
It has been almost a year since the infamous incident during the 94th Academy Awards on March 27, 2022.
The event, which the Internet later bitingly referred to as "The Slap," occurred as Chris Rock, who was hosting the ceremony, was announcing the nominees for Best Documentary Feature.
The comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head, which had some unforeseen consequences.
"Jada, I love you. G.I. Jane 2, can't wait to see it, all right?" he said.
Much of the audience and Will Smith, Jada's husband, laughed, while Pinkett Smith rolled her eyes in annoyance.
But shortly after, as Rock continued his speech, Will walked up to him without a word and slapped the comedian in the face.
What the audience first assumed was a prearranged comedy quickly took a more hostile turn when Smith angrily shouted at Rock after returning to his seat.
This exchange caused a stir on social media, with some people blaming Rock for his inappropriate joke and others expressing concern about Smith's lack of restraint.
The controversy seemed to have died down, but Chris Rock's recent stand-up special in Jada Pinkett Smith's hometown of Baltimore seems to have reignited it.
The event went smoothly until the end, when the comedian decided to address the infamous incident by erupting on stage.
"She started that," he said, referring to Pinkett Smith's comments that he should stop hosting the Oscars after he joked about the Smith's boycott of the ceremony in 2016.
Rock also said that "The Slap" was born out of Smith's frustration with his own relationship with his wife, and had nothing to do with the comedian himself.
He continued to poke fun at the situation, eventually providing context for the special's title: "Will Smith practices selective outrage."
Although he never mentioned Pinkett Smith by name, there is no doubt that Rock was talking about her.
This led to a considerable backlash in the media, especially among Baltimore residents, considering that the special took place in Jada's hometown of all places. It remains to be seen what repercussions the famous comedian will face.