Chris Rock Still Not Fully Addressing Oscars Slap, But Had An A+ Joke About What Getting Punched Is Like

Chris Rock in a promo for hosting the Oscars
(Image credit: Academy Awards)

For someone who’s holding out on fully addressing the Oscars slap with Will Smith, Chris Rock is certainly dropping a lot of hints about how he feels. Throughout his “Ego Death” standup tour, as well as in a surprise appearance with Dave Chappelle, jokes about his close encounter with the Independence Day star have not been in short supply. Only a couple days after his riff with Chappelle, Rock has made A+ jokes about getting punched in the face, and the potential circumstances that might get him to finally discuss the event in depth.

A review by The Telegraph covering Rock’s recent appearance at Royal Albert Hall highlighted a couple of key references made to the night in question. Though he promised not to joke about “the slap,” the comedian seems to have found a way around that pledge. As you’ll see in the first excerpt from Chris Rock’s recent show, he’s all about the pain that it resulted: 

Anyone who says ‘words hurt’ has never been punched in the face.

This first gag could be seen as not directly addressing the actions that led to Will Smith’s ban from The Academy. As many who watched the event live will point out, Rock was not punched but slapped by Smith on stage during the Oscars. It may be splitting hairs, but Chris Rock’s joke above is more of a general laugh on that old adage he referenced than anything else. 

Of course, as this is part of a standup tour, there are going to be some jokes that are reworked and used frequently throughout the rooms that are played. Chris Rock’s tour is no exception to that sort of pattern, as this next joke is one we’ve heard before. That’s not a cutting reference to what’s shared, as that’s sort of where Rock’s head was at with the following line: 

I’m OK, if anybody was wondering. I got most of my hearing back.

The coup de grace of Chris Rock’s responsive non-response to Will Smith’s slap is, of course, the reason he’s not diving too deeply into things. Rock joked he’d have to be paid before he would ever pull back the curtain on his feelings surrounding this physical assault. Like any good comedian, he saw an opportunity to pitch an offer into the universe, and it’s one you may have expected. According to Chris Rock, here’s where you might eventually find his full thoughts: 

People expect me to talk about the [slap], I’m not going to talk about it right now, I’ll get to it eventually. On Netflix.

The promise to not talk about the slap is still firmly in place, though Chris Rock isn’t above throwing out some fun jokes that tease how he really feels. One could imagine how pleased Netflix executives must be that they could be the ones to break such a widely anticipated event. 

If Rock’s last appearance with Dave Chappelle is any indication, they might want to consider teaming the two comedians up for such an event. It's the most freely he’s spoken on the matter since, so that level of trust and friendship could lead to some interesting revelations. Also, it would be an especially interesting combination considering Chappelle’s own recent brush with on-stage violence.

We’ll keep watching for further references, and that hypothetical streaming announcement, in the weeks to come. Strangely enough, you will be able to see a new Will Smith appearance on Netflix. However, as it comes through a pre-slap guest spot on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman next week, Netflix subscribers shouldn’t any further commentary on this end either.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.