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Ricky Gervais Shares His Take On Chris Rock’s Jada Pinkett Smith Oscars Joke, And How He Ended Up Trending After The Will Smith Slap

While the 2022 Academy Awards happened two months ago, the discourse surrounding the event hasn’t slowed down. This is mostly due to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock on national television, with plenty of celebrities weighing in on that shocking viral moment. Now Ricky Gervais has shared his take on Rock’s Oscars joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, and how he ended up trending after the slap.

Ricky Gervais is a comedian who has plenty of experience with Awards Shows, hosting the Golden Globes a number of times throughout his career. He previously weighed in on Will Smith’s infamous slap incident, but recently offered more about his thoughts on the viral situation. When speaking with Sirius XM’s Jim Norton & Sam Roberts recently, Gervais first opened up about the source of the physical altercation: Chris Rock’s joke about Jada Pinkett Smith. In Gervais’ words,

That joke that Will Smith slapped someone for was the lamest, sweetest joke in the world. No disrespect to Chris Rock, it wasn’t an insult. And she rolled her eyes and that’s it.

While appearing as a presenter at the 2022 Oscars, Chris Rock took a few jabs at the celebrities in the audience. This includes Jada Pinkett Smith, making a reference to G.I. Jane while mentioning her short hair style. Rock was seemingly unaware that the Matrix actress had publicly revealed her struggles with alopecia, which no doubt added to the stakes of the moment. Will Smith would slap his colleague in the face as a result, before returning to his seat and continuing to shout at the comic. 

There’s been a ton of online discourse about The Slap, especially because Will Smith would stay in attendance for the remainder of the ceremony, even winning a Best Actor award for his work on King Richard. Although the fallout from that incident has been ongoing, with Smith being banned from the Oscars for ten years and seeing a number of his upcoming projects put on hold.

During his same conversation, Ricky Gervais revealed that he was trending for days after the Oscars, despite not being in attendance. Specifically because he’s known for taking aim at celebs when hosting events like the Golden Globes. As he explained,

I was trending for two days and I wasn’t even there. And I had a gig that night, a new material night. So I had to acknowledge it. And I walked out on stage, ‘I’ve got no Will Smith material.’ And it got a big laugh, just because they were thinking it. It was trending on Twitter ‘What would happen if Ricky was hosting it?’ And I said ‘Nothing because I wouldn’t have made about his wife’s hair. I’d have made a joke about her boyfriend.’ And then that trended and made the papers.

In typically Ricky Gervais fashion, he was sure to show off his comedic talents, even when going viral for an event which he had nothing to do with. And he’s not the only comic who has been making jokes about the incident. As Marlon Wayans pointed out, Will Smith telling Chris Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his mouth in such a viral way only resulted in way more people poking fun at the situation. 

Despite the time that has passed, Will Smith slapping Chris Rock as the Oscars is still an unbelievable event for many of us. Ricky Gervais seems to be in that camp still, musing about what might have been going through the Aladdin star’s mind with:

That’s a big thing though. To slap someone at the Oscars, it’s insane. And I still don’t quite know that he was thinking, why he was doing it. I think he wanted to feel like a man.

We’ll just have to wait and see how the fallout from this incident continues to influence the careers and lives of the parties involved. Will Smith recently did a yoga retreat in India, so he seems to be seeking some clarity. It remains to be seen if/when his upcoming projects will actually be released.

Will Smith is currently attached to four different movies, including Bad Boys 4. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.