Chris Rock's new stand-up special "Selective Outrage" was recently released on Netflix and the comedian used the show as an opportunity to fully respond to getting slapped in the face by Will Smith one year ago.
What Happened Between Chris Rock and Will Smith?
At the 94th Annual Academy Awards last year on March 27th, Chris Rock was slapped by Will Smith after referring to Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, as "G.I. Jane" in reference to her bald haircut. Pinkett Smith has been public about her years-long struggle with alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss, and Pinkett Smith did not seem to receive the joke in jest, as she rolled her eyes at the joke.
However, Pinkett Smith's husband, Will Smith, went one step further, as in a moment that has been covered and documented by every media source since it took place, he slapped Chris Rock in the face. Since the incident, Smith has publicly apologized to Rock numerous times and also will face a ten year ban from the Academy Awards.
While Will Smith has been public about his regret for slapping Rock, the comedian has been quiet about the subject until now. While Chris Rock has joked about the incident a few times during comedy shows, "Selective Outrage" proves to be the moment Rock chose to air out all of his grievances and feelings toward Will Smith. Rock joked about many other topics in the special. But its ultimate purpose seems to be a response to Smith, and Rock did not hold back.
The Stand-Up Special Is A Netflix-First
This special is also Netflix's first experiment in live entertainment. The show was broadcast globally without edits and little to no rehearsal. This was seen when Chris Rock botched a key part of one of his jokes. Rather than starting over, he was forced to give his attention to the mistake and move forward.
The live aspect of the special gave an electric sense of realness to Rock's performance. This further ignited Chris Rock's impassioned feelings about Will Smith. Delivered with a fierceness, Rock referred to Will as "Suge Smith" in reference to "Suge Knight", the former CEO of Death Row Records who is currently incarcerated for manslaughter.
Chris Rock also alluded to the idea that Smith was letting out his anger towards his wife Jada on him, due to Jada's public reveal of an 'entanglement' she had with August Alsina in 2020. In the special, Rock stated, "She hurt him way more than he hurt me". Rock also referred to the slap as "some bitch-ass shit". He explained that Will Smith is much larger than him and does movies with his shirt off. He jokes, "If I'm in a movie getting open heart surgery, I've got on a sweater."
Rock ended the special with a question he was asked a few times after the incident. "'Chris how come you didn't do nothing back that night?' Cause I got parents, because I was raised,'" he said. "You know what my parents told me? Don't fight in front of white people." It appears that Rock said everything he wanted to say during "Selective Outrage". A source stated that the comedian is "ready to move on". In response to this, Will Smith called the special "distasteful" and "below the belt" and said "he's embarrassed and hurt".
Where To Watch The Special
The special is still available on Netflix and is currently on Netflix's Top-10 most popular list. The special has been called "emotional, messy, and fierce" as well as "self-deprecating and funny". The 95th Annual Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 12th. It appears that the discourse from last year's show is not over. The internet is once again buzzing due to Chris Rock's "Selective Outrage".