Oscars: Jimmy Kimmel Made A Joke About Will Smith's Slap During His Opening Monologue, And Didn't Stop All Night

With Oscar night already in full swing, the 95th Annual Academy Awards are already moving on with the festivities for this year’s crop of winners. Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue started things off with a bang, as he clearly had to make a joke about Will Smith’s Oscar Slap. Glad we got that that out of the way... although smart money says there might be more jokes. 

During the Oscars, Kimmel’s array of comedic remarks ran the gamut from cracking wise about Tom Cruise and James Cameron not being at the show to the lack of female directors nominated in the field of Best Director. Towards the end of his remarks, what could be called the centerpiece of his schtick touched upon last year’s altercation between Smith and presented Chris Rock. Here’s how Jimmy Kimmel referenced last year’s infamous event: 

We know this is a special night for you, We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe, and most importantly we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place. If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence, at any point during the show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor, and permitted to give a 19 minute long speech. No but seriously, the Academy has a crisis team in place. If anything unpredictable or violent happens during the ceremony, just do what you did last year: nothing. Sit there and do nothing. Maybe even give the assailant a hug.

It wasn't too much longer before Jimmy Kimmel returned to the well of slap jokes, just as Academy Award winners Riz Ahmed and Questlove were on hand to present the award for Best Documentary Feature Film. With that award and its previous recipient being the precursor to Chris Rock getting slapped on TV, Kimmel made note of that significance, encouraging the audience to "clap your hands and keep them to yourself."

The late night host was previously winding up to these jokes throughout his opening monologue, especially when discussing the acting nominees. Tying his remarks into the nominations for the cast of The Banshees of Inisherin, Kimmel referenced last year’s big controversy with this joke:

Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the odds of another fight on stage just went way up.

As the night continued, Jimmy Kimmel seemed to have two things on his mind: The Slap, and the Oscar telecast's length. Joking about both in one fell swoop, right before the winner for Best Documentary Short Film was announced. In a way of making fun of the tradition for Oscar night to go rather long, the host made mention of how "this point in the show kinda makes you miss the slapping a little bit, right?"

Will Smith wasn’t the only target of Jimmy Kimmel’s signature snark in the opening innings of the 95th Oscars. Despite responding to awards show hosts dogpiling on Tom Cruise by saying he wasn’t going to take shots at Top Gun: Maverick’s lead actor, Kimmel did point out how Cruise was someone who pushed audiences to go back to the theaters and didn’t show up himself.

Although, as seen in Chris Rock’s stand-up bit about last year’s Oscars, it could be a new beginning. In which case, Jimmy Kimmel is in on the ground floor to keep things going with fresh material. That much was true when, at the end of the night, Kimmel thanked the Oscar crisis team, and walked into the wings to adjust the newly added "Oscars Without An Incident" count to 1. That is something that calls for a high five with Cocaine Bear, and that's exactly what happened.

As “The Slap” made itself known at this year’s show, it almost feels like what could be an ending to what feels like an endless press cycle surrounding that event. Then again, it might just start up anew; in which case Jimmy Kimmel would be inn on the ground floor with some new material. Should you have missed any of the slap jokes, or any of the other amazing live TV moments that took place during the 95th Academy Awards, fear not. Those of you with a Hulu subscription can rewatch the entire ceremony, or the moments you weren't in the room for, on the day after.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.